feels like I'm goin' to lose my mind
You just keep on pushin' my love
over the borderline
500 miles, 500 miles
500 miles, 500 miles
Lord I'm 500 miles
From my home
--500 Miles, Peter, Paul & Mary
Both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have ridden the Reserve Forces (including the National Guard) hard, treating these part-time soldiers like they are part of the active force structure.
Not only do the reserve forces fight wars that the active military can't handle, but now they are being sent down to the Mexican-American border. This is not exactly the situation which faced Black Jack Pershing in 1916-17. Back then, the Army was sent to conduct actual combat operations against Mexican border-raiding bandits and revolutionaries. Sending in today's N.G. is not equivalent.
What happened to the Federal legal concept of Posse Comitatus? The U.S. military is not allowed to enforce civilian law unless authorized by the President or Congress. The exception is obviously being authorized, but why wasn't it publicly discussed prior to sending in the troops?
The active military and the reserve forces are not designed, equipped or trained to be border police. Our military personnel are not authorized to arrest or detain anyone outside the force structure. The military is not a police, and waving a magic wand over these forces will not alter the fact.
It is a dangerous precedent to use the military as an enforcement agency. When will this militarization of our society end? When a supposed liberal president leans toward domestic military control of our borders, it is time to wonder where this is going and where it will end.
If the U.S. lacks the resources to control its borders, it is a fault of leadership; sticking the N.G.'s finger into the dike will not resolve the problem. We are creeping towards a future that is diametrically in opposition to the values that were historically viewed as liberal and democratic.
There are operational questions, too. Do the military commo systems interface with the Border Patrol systems? Does the Border Patrol have command and control capabilities to even coordinate the N.G. activities?
Whatever happened to the laws that mandate the use of the N.G./Reserve forces for use in National or State emergencies?
There is no state of emergency authorizing this call to activate the N.G. The Reserve force structure is not a plaything to be used at the political whimsy of the president.
Labels: national guard. border patrol