|Trump seeks to use the military against refugees.|
In an effort to energize his racist, white supremacist base, Donald Trump wants to send 5,000 U.S. military troops to the US/Mexico border - a move that is likely illegal since federal troops are banned from being used within the country. Like everything else he does, Trump seemingly sees himself as above the law and above the Constitution. The reaction from military veterans has not been positive with many no doubt fearful of the optics both at home and abroad of soldiers confronting women and children (especially if they fire on unarmed families) and also concerned about the illegality and cost of the move. Sadly, evangelical Christians - who as noted have confirmed their racial animosity towards non-whites in a recent poll - are likely cheering and further perverting what being "Christian" is supposed to mean. If allowed, the move could create a dangerous precedent for using the military domestically against those Trump labels as "a threat to national security.). Here are highlights from CNN:
With his decision to deploy more than 5,000 troops to the US-Mexico border, President Donald Trump has ordered more military personnel to the US southwest than he has serving in some of the world's most contentious combat zones.
[T]he mission -- dubbed Operation Faithful Patriot -- raises a slew of questions, with many veterans condemning it as a political stunt by a President eager to fire up his political base just days away from the midterm elections.
"Donald Trump thinks unarmed people who are fleeing horrors and are still 1,000 miles away are a national security threat a week before election day?" said Will Fischer, a former Marine who now works for the VoteVets, a progressive veteran's organization.
"I don't think so," Fischer said. "It's a political ploy to blow upon the embers of racism and nativism, and he is using the military again as a political prop to advance his own agenda"
Fischer and other veterans point to the unknown cost to taxpayers, given that much smaller deployments of National Guard to the border have cost hundreds of millions of dollars. They also question the cost the military will bear, as the operation pulls troops away from training, other missions and their families. And then, they say, there's the murky legality of the mission, its scope and its purpose.
US troops will join over 2,000 National Guardsmen who are already at the border, meaning upwards of 7,000 American forces will be mobilized to stop Central American migrants that are still some 900 miles away from the border and weeks away from arriving in the US.
Despite Trump's unsubstantiated claim that the group of Central Americans includes "gang members and some very bad people," most of the migrants have reportedly indicated that they plan to apply for asylum once they arrive in the US.
This is not a national security issue. ... We're seeing women, children and the elderly within this caravan fighting for their lives. We don't need more military there," according to Bishop Garrison, the interim executive director of the Truman National Security Project . . . "We don't need to make a sensitive issue and situation all the more dramatic," said Garrison, a former Homeland Security and Pentagon official.
Both Fischer and a former military official, interviewed separately, raised the question of the rules of engagement for the troops. . . . "what if something does happen and lethal force is deployed and you have the US military firing at unarmed civilians?"
Anger about the deployment and the perception that Mattis is allowing the military to be used for political purposes led one former Pentagon official to call for him to step down.
"This is a craven political stunt by President Trump ahead of the US midterms, and a cynical capitulation by a secretary of defense who has prided himself on improving the readiness, focus and lethality of the US armed forces," Kelly Magsamen, a National Security Council official under both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, wrote in Defense One.
The former military officer, who logged two decades of experience as an army officer before moving on to become a strategist, said the troops were being sent to "do a mission that could ... be done by another entity" such as the National Guard. Dave McGinnis, a former Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense, agreed.
[A] former official pointed out that US laws prohibit the military from detaining people, "so it's not like we're sending down an operational force, it's just people in a largely supportive role. That's why I say it's a stunt, so [Trump] can say, yeah, we're sending the military down to the border."
McGinnis said Trump's move also sets a precedent. "If Congress allows him to do this, you're pushing the envelope on using the military for things this country has never, ever permitted," he said.
"The visual on this for the world is really bad from a military perspective," McGinnis said. "It's using regular military troops for things that democracies really don't do."
Cost also remains a major concern. Congressional sources with the House and Senate Armed Services Committees told CNN that they have not received cost data from the Pentagon.
Vote Democrat on November 6, 2018 - Trump and his lawlessness must be stopped. #NotMyPresident.