In short, the US military will NOT be shooting rock-wielding migrants at the border.
Courtesy of Vice:
In the run-up to deploying over 5,000 troops to the US-Mexico border, the Trump administration went to the Pentagon and asked whether or not those soldiers could basically serve as law enforcement along the border.
The Pentagon wasn’t having it.
CNN’s Ryan Browne and Nicole Gaouette reported Friday that military leaders rebuffed the Department of Homeland Security’s request that the troops “provide ‘crowd and traffic control’ and safeguard Customs and Border Protection personnel” — roles that would have given soldiers more expansive authority than they currently have under US law.
Instead, the Pentagon signed off on a narrower set of authorities: Troops will provide Border Patrol agents with logistical and air support, as DHS prepares for a caravan of migrants from Central America that is approaching the US. The idea is that they’ll be doing things like helping transport agents and erecting razor wire on border fences.
But as the CNN report underscores, Trump would have had the military play a much more dramatic role, if he could have. In a bid to boost Republican turnout at the midterm elections, Trump has been stoking xenophobic fears about the caravan by implying that it’s brimming with Middle Eastern terrorists. He’s suggested he could end up sending up to 15,000 troops to deal with the threat.
During a speech on Thursday, he said that the troops should shoot migrants if they throw rocks. The language conjures up the image of direct confrontations between migrants and US troops. But in reality, the troops are there to assist civil authorities, and they’re not expected to come into direct contact with migrants.
So despite what Trump may have envisioned there will be no clashes between these poor immigrants and our National Guard troops.
The whole thing is just for show to fire up the conservatives anyway and has no actual value when it comes to controlling the flow of immigrants across our southern border.
But one has to wonder how fired up these conservatives will be when they get the bill.
Courtesy of WaPo:
The total price of President Trump’s military deployment to the border, including the cost of National Guard forces that have been there since April, could climb well above $200 million by the end of 2018 and grow significantly if the deployments continue into next year, according to analyst estimates and Pentagon figures.
The deployment of as many as 15,000 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border — potentially equal in size to the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan — occurs as the budgetary largesse the military has enjoyed since Trump took office looks set to come to an end.
Although the costs of the border deployments will be a tiny slice of a $716 billion annual defense budget, they arrive as the Trump administration is calling on the Pentagon to cut unnecessary expenditures. The White House recently ordered the Pentagon to slash next year’s budget for the military by about $33 billion in response to the largest increase in the federal deficit in six years.
Veterans and Democratic lawmakers have complained that Trump is wasting military dollars in a politically motivated stunt ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections, at a time when the Pentagon budget is under pressure.
Yes, it is indeed a stunt.
Barack Obama even called it that in his recent speech.
In 2010, Republicans said death panels would get you.
In 2014, they said it was Ebola.
In 2016, they said it was Hillary’s emails.
Now in 2018, they’re blaming a bunch of poor refugees 1,000 miles away.
It’s another political stunt.pic.twitter.com/3ponAVMImo
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) November 2, 2018
Somebody needs to inform Donald Trump that the military is not his own personal box of toy soldiers that he can play with whenever he feels like it.
They have important jobs to do, like for instance protecting us from attack, or if need be removing a dictator from his seat of power.
You know, if need be.