Ramos & Compean



President George W. Bush yesterday announced pardons for 14 and commutations for 2 criminals. Included within their number were drug dealers, a federal tax evader, a welfare cheat, bank defrauders and embezzlers, and even one who had poisoned and killed three bald eagles!  But conspicuously absent from the President's list of those deserving of mercy were Ignacio Ramos, pictured with his wife on the right, along with his partner Jose Compean, the two Texas border patrol officers who are now rotting away in a federal penitentiary because they pursued, shot at, and wounded an illegal alien, Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, pictured on the left, who was smuggling 743 pounds of marijuana into the United States, no doubt for the benefit in part of our children and grandchildren.

Allow me to escort you down Memory LaneOn February 17, 2005, Ramos and Compean noticed a suspicious van near Fabens, Texas, on this side of the Rio Grande.  It was being driven by Davila who, when he saw the agents, ran for the border.  While in pursuit of Davila, the agents thought they saw him pointing a gun at them and also believed they heard gun shots.  They returned fire, and the smuggler was hit in the buttocks.  He managed to jump into a waiting van and fled into the night.

Agents for the U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security contacted the smuggler in Mexico and offered him complete immunity on the condition he would testify that Ramos and Compean violated his civil rights.

Johnny Sutton, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, then charged Ramos and Compean with causing serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, and violation of the "civil rights" of an illegal alien. He basically "threw the book" at them.

After trial theatrics ran their course, Ramos and Compean emerged holding the short end of the stick. They received a 11- and 12-year sentence, respectively. Their time in the penitentiary has, without surprise, been especially dangerous for them. They are despised by countless inmates who are either themselves illegals or are in sympathy with illegals.  In addition, the families of Ramos and Compean are financially devastated and emotionally broken, having suffered immensely for their service to the country.

And, again, what flagrant crime are they supposed to have committed?  They vigorously pursued and shot a filthy, drug-smuggling rat from Mexico in the rear-end! They deserved a medal and special commendation for their efforts, and should have been encouraged to aim higher the next time. There should be an annual parade to honor them until they are released from prison. They and their families should be paid reparations for all they have suffered in safeguarding the border and protecting United States citizens from the plague of illegals that the forty-third President, in his moral and intellectual obtuseness, allowed to cross into this country during most of his discredited Administration.

Outrage has been the constant companion of George W. Bush, and for reasons thoroughly explicable.  His name always opened doors for him, whether to Yale and Harvard, to the Texas Rangers organization, to the Texas governership, or to the United States presidency.  There was no reason for him to believe anything or to  accomplish anything special or in particular.  The aristocratic hand of destiny was upon him.  Yet, as children of privilege sometimes do, Mr. Bush came to personify "the Peter Principle," receiving several promotions too many.  For this reason, the man has, if anything, been diminished by the office which he currently holds. 

His policy in Iraq was based on a mistaken premise and so became impossible to justify, much less to sell to the American people.  His and Mr. Paulson's economic plan is likewise recklessly devoid of sober, disciplined thought.  This president is scarcely an ideologue, but rather seems to steer by no compass more durably certain than the seat of his pants.  When sojourning on the vast ocean of state becomes an obviously precarious endeavor, pre-emptive strikes can be invoked at will against would-be enemies, and free markets can be tethered by government control. Why, after all, is any principle worthy of reverence?

Such is the disorganized world of George W. Bush's mind.  His failure to recognize the heroism of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean and to extend a full pardon to them in what has become a mind-boggling travesty of justice is nothing new for him.  It is a full frontal reflection of who he is and always has been.

In some strange, paradoxical sense I feel far more pity for Mr. Bush than for these two agents who are behind bars.  Their actions positively contributed to the well-being of others.  They are patriots, and they always will be, whether in or outside prison walls.  He, on the other hand, seems destined to remind Americans for generations to come what attributes they wish to avoid in a President.

If and when you offer up a prayer to God this Thanksgiving Day, remember Ignacio and Jose along with their families.  They are imprisoned for us.

November 26, 2008