Pubdate: Tue, 30 Oct 2007
Source: San Antonio Express-News (TX)
Copyright: 2007 San Antonio Express-News


President Bush is asking Congress for a $500 million  down payment on
a $1.4 billion project to help Mexico  battle drug smuggling and
border violence.

But the initiative is about more than money; it is also  about the
growing spirit of cooperation between the two  nations, a spirit
needed to tackle tough problems.

The project, the Express-News reported, would provide  Mexico with
crucial tools in its fight against drug  lords, including surveillance
aircraft, communication  equipment and, perhaps more important, aid in
ferreting  out dirty law enforcement officials.

In addition to the assistance, however, the initiative  reflects a key
development -- the growing trust and  confidence between the two countries.

While the administration consulted border state  lawmakers, other
Democrats complained they weren't  asked for input into the
initiative, the Express-News  reported. The House Foreign Affairs
subcommittee has  launched hearings into the proposal, which is only
proper; this initiative, like any other, has to be  vetted -- and
vetted thoroughly.

It is important to remember, however, that it has the  backing of the
officials on the front line -- the  lawmakers from the border states.

And it is also important to remember that since  entering office last
year, President Felipe Calderon  has waged an aggressive campaign
against drug lords,  both on the streets and in the courts.

He faces a tough challenge, but the U.S. initiative  shows he is not
in it alone.

Congress should provide the funding requested by the  president.
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