"Compean and Ramos are Bad Guys."


National Review's Andrew McCarthy has absolutely the harshest take on the case of Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos, border agents who shot a drug smuggler and whose "wrongful" imprisonment has become a cause celebre for immigration hawks. To wit:

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, called it "the worst betrayal of American defenders I have ever seen." Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican, introduced legislation calling for a congressional pardon. Rep. Joe Wilson, South Carolina Republican, described the case as a "grotesque misdirection of our judicial system."

Petitions with more than 260,000 signatures have been presented to President Bush calling for a pardon. Seventy members of Congress are co-sponsors of Mr. Hunter's bill.

That's the mainstream conservative opinion on the border agents. Here's McCarthy's.

Once Aldrete-Davila was down from Ramos's shot to the backside, they decided, for a second time, not to grab him so he could face justice for his crimes. As they well knew, an arrest at that point — after 15 shots at a fleeing, unarmed man who had tried to surrender — would have shone a spotlight on their performance. So instead, they exacerbated the already shameful display.

Instead of arresting the wounded smuggler, they put their guns away and left him behind. But not before trying to conceal the improper discharge of their firearms. Compean picked up and hid his shell-casings rather than leaving the scene intact for investigators. Both agents filed false reports, failing to record the firing of their weapons though they were well aware of regulations requiring that they do so. Because the "heroes" put covering their tracks ahead of doing their duty, Aldrete-Davila was eventually able to limp off to a waiting car and escape into Mexico.

The whole thing's worth a read, especially if you keep seeing a blowhard congressmen or two showing up on Lou Dobbs or Fox and want to know whether there's any meat to this.