President Obama may have Katrina’d himself this week over the Gulf oil spill — but at least it distracted attention from the fact that he also got caught using the National Guard as lipstick on a cactus.
Anyone with military experience knew that the president’s earlier decision to send 1,200 National Guard soldiers to Arizona’s border with Mexico was a purely political move. But few realized just how cynical it was.
Troop numbers don’t matter as much as what the Guard is tasked and allowed to do. If the president doesn’t authorize those in uniform to track and apprehend illegal border crossers, their presence is worthless — the coyotes and narcos soon figure out that the troops are just decoration.
In the past, our troops have not been allowed to bust illegals — or drug smugglers. Even though the president has the authority to empower them to do so.
It was clear from the start that this deployment wouldn’t be any different. Nonetheless, the Mexican government threw a hissy fit. So, yesterday, our State Department rushed to assure the Mexicans that the guardsmen will only be allowed to do desk jobs and support work. The White House then confirmed it.
Boy, the border criminals are scared now . . .
Not only has the administration misused the guard for politics — the appearance of getting tough in response to Arizona’s popular distress-signal law on checking citizenship documents — it has now placed the appeasement of a foreign government over the welfare of our citizens.
Also yesterday, Senate Democrats defeated an attempt, led by Sen. John McCain, to spur the deployment of 6,000 more National Guardsmen to our southern border.
With all due respect to Sen. McCain, his move was political, too. He knows it’s not how many you send but what they do. We need go-get-’em patrols, not speed bumps in uniform. (And the Guard’s experience in Iraq and Afghanistan could be very helpful.)
Meanwhile, American citizens who live along our southern border are on their own. This administration isn’t going to risk offending a key voting bloc in its base just to protect American lives or property. The Republicans don’t want to do what’s necessary, either.
And Homeland Security top dog Janet Napolitano recently had the audacity (if not the hope) to assure us that our southern border has never been more secure.
Yoo-hoo, Washington! This isn’t about politics. Both parties should be working together to protect our citizens and our territory. That’s the basic function of government.
But Washington’s made it about politics. Those who view illegal immigration as politically advantageous resort to the code phrase “comprehensive immigration reform.” That means “amnesty.” And 10 million new votes for the party that does the most for illegal immigrants.
If someone breaks into our house, are we then obliged to put them on the deed? In legal terms, no issue of our time is more straightforward. “Illegal” means illegal. Yet when Arizona tries to enforce the law of the land, it’s deluged with lawsuits and dissed by our nation’s president.
The truth is that our southern border barely exists anymore. It’s become a zone of transition. We play a few cat-and-mouse games, but no serious border-security policy would have let 10 million illegal immigrants sneak into our homeland.
Instead of forging a serious approach to border security, we’ll take those 1,200 guardsmen away from their families, give them busywork in the general proximity of the border — and pat ourselves on the back. (Meanwhile, the administration was so proud of its new National Security Strategy that it released it on the eve of a holiday weekend.)
Even McCain’s 6,000 troops would be nothing more than fence posts without a fence — unless the president empowered them to intercept and arrest the foreign invaders pouring onto our soil.
Even that would only serve as an interim measure. The Guard can’t stay there forever. It’s not a standing force. We need to get serious about the manpower requirements permanently needed to protect ourselves from the violence of narco-traffickers and the economic (and environmental) devastation wrought by illegal immigrants.
The Mexican narco-insurgents who’ve now killed more than 23,000 people aren’t going to stay home, either. We should be preparing to face this burgeoning threat. Instead, we’re just staring at it like a bunny rabbit hypnotized by a snake.
This week’s embarrassment over ordering the Guard to the border, then admitting they won’t be doing anything, was just another political setback for a beleaguered president. But our bleeding border’s a tragedy for our nation. ExileStreet
courtesy NY Post / copyright 2010 NY Post
Ralph Peters’ latest book is “Endless War: Middle Eastern Islam vs. Western Civilization” His most recent novel is “The War After Armageddon,” is on the street. His most most recent non-fiction book is “Looking For Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World.” He is Fox News’ strategic analyst.
Peters is a retired Army officer and the author of 19 books, as well as of hundreds of essays and articles, written both under his own name and as Owen Parry. He is a frequent columnist for the New York Post and other publications.