One is tempted to facetiously ask what some of these Republican lawmakers have been smoking. Speaking in support of Trump's planned border wall with CNN on Feb. 22, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) offered this astonishing speculation: "There are national security implications here for a porous border. We sometimes used to make the point that, you know, if someone wanted to smuggle a dangerous weapon, even a nuclear weapon, into America, how would they do it? And the suggestion was made, 'Well, we'll simply hide it in a bale of marijuana.'"
There are so many things wrong with this, we hardly know where to begin. For starters, how would these hypothetical terrorists get their nuke into Mexico in the first place? And why smuggle the nuke in a shipment of cannabis—which is already illegal and itself has to be smuggled in, and will be confiscated by authorities if detected?
Critics of the proposed border wall already note that cannabis smugglers have taken to using catapults to get their product over the line. Just last week, another such catapult contraption was found by US border agents affixed to the top of the fence near the Douglas crossing southeast of Tucson. But if these imaginary conspirators were going to use a catapult to get a nuke in, they could do so without wrapping it in cannabis. They'd also have to be sure the impact didn't set it off, blowing up a bunch of empty desert. And of course, the proposed wall would do precisely nothing to guard against this extreme improbability.
Nor is this the first time Franks has indulged such fantasies. Noting his bizarre comments, Alternet dug up this gem of paranoia from a 2012 speech on the House floor, archived on Franks' website: "Specifically imagine for a moment, Mr. Speaker, the scenario of Hezbollah, one of Iran's terrorist proxies, gaining possession of just two nuclear warheads and bringing them across the border into the United States concealed, say, in bales of marijuana, then transporting them into the heart of two different, crowded, unnamed cities. Then calling and telling the White House exactly when and where the first one will be detonated, and then following through 60 seconds later."
There has been endless speculation by the Capitol Hill anti-drug and anti-immigrant set about collaboration between Middle Eastern terrorists and Latin American drug cartels to infiltrate the US homeland—but very little actual evidence. Now it seems like they are really getting desperate.