"That's one in 30," said Allen. "I just got back from a meeting in Washington with the head of the Border Patrol, David Aguillar. He told me he regards his force as 'paramilitary.'"

As much as critics wish it were so, it is not just the American government that has militarized the border.

More than 4,000 people have been murdered on the Mexican side of the border in the past year.

The Mexican government is using armed federal troops to hunt down drug dealers from the cartels, and the carnage is remarkable.

In January 2007, a small contingent of the National Guard pulled back from their posts when four armed men approached in military fashion from the Mexican side of the border. Bloodshed was avoided.

But the Border Patrol is routinely dealing with armed couriers smuggling drugs and people.

In his recent book on Lincoln, James M. McPherson quotes from Carl von Clausewitz's 1873 treatise Vom Kriege: "It is clear that war should never be thought of as something autonomous but always as an instrument of policy."

Having militarized our border, what is our policy?

Is Napolitano capable of articulating a policy beyond her desire, often expressed, of wishing that the federal government had such a policy.

The Border Patrol claims that immigration is down because they are apprehending fewer Mexicans than in the past.

As the Economist pointed out, that is rather like estimating the number of fish in the sea by counting those in your net.

We know that money sent home to Mexico from the United States has exploded from well less than $2 billion in 2000 to $6 billion today.

Arriving at a border policy is, after the economy, the greatest challenge facing the nation, and there is little indication that immigration is moving to any quick consideration (even Lincoln waited some years to address slavery).

President Bush and Senator McCain were both silenced by populist outrage within their party when they proposed answers.

Directing Homeland Security, protecting our border with Mexico, and helping to articulate an immigration policy will require leadership and character.

Governor Napolitano's qualifications are less than modest.

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