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Nov 20 2018

Not A Stunt

I sort of (but not really) hate pointing out that a substantial part of the U.S. population are what is politely called “low information” but I call ignorant.

Sending Troops to the border was a transparent appeal to Trump’s most racist bigoted base.

There are Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (the Bureaus of Redundant Redundantcy) tripping over each other already. The additional Troops gave them a Medical checkup, put up some camps, strung some barbed wire, given a few Cops a Helicopter Thrill Ride…

And they’re going home.

Your Tax Dollars at work- $220,000,000.

Victory! The evil Caravan of Barbarians at the Gates of the Empire have been thwarted!

Deployed Inside the United States: The Military Waits for the Migrant Caravan
By Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Helene Cooper, The New York Times
Nov. 10, 2018

Instead of football with their families on this Veterans Day weekend, soldiers with the 19th Engineer Battalion, fresh from Fort Knox, Ky., were painstakingly webbing concertina wire on the banks of the Rio Grande, just beneath the McAllen-Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge.

Nearby, troops from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State were making sure a sick call tent was properly set up next to their aid station. And a few miles away, Staff Sgt. Juan Mendoza was directing traffic as his engineer support company from Fort Bragg, N.C., unloaded military vehicles.

Come Thanksgiving, they most likely will still be here.

Two thousand miles away, at the Pentagon, officials privately derided the deployment as an expensive waste of time and resources, and a morale killer to boot.

In late October, the Department of Homeland Security sent a memo to the Pentagon with a series of formal requests for support in handling immigrants at the southern border, including the caravan on its way from Central America, according to two senior administration officials.

Among the requests, issued at the White House’s behest, were that troops deployed to the border be armed, prepared for direct contact with the migrants and ready to operate under rules for the use of force to be set by the Defense Department.

When Defense Department officials replied the same day, on Mr. Mattis’s orders, they rejected those requests and referred the Department of Homeland Security to the White House, the officials said. The Defense Department viewed the requests as inappropriate and legally treacherous, potentially setting up soldiers for violent encounters with migrants.

Defense Department officials said the tasks by the troops at the border were the best compromise that Mr. Mattis could reach. The Pentagon agreed to other requests for help, including sending supplies, setting up tents and providing transportation as needed.

“A wasteful deployment of overstretched Soldiers and Marines would be made much worse if they use force disproportional to the threat they face,” tweeted Martin Dempsey, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Troops at U.S.-Mexican border to start coming home
By WESLEY MORGAN, Politico
11/19/2018

The 5,800 troops who were rushed to the southwest border amid President Donald Trump’s pre-election warnings about a refugee caravan will start coming home as early as this week — just as some of those migrants are beginning to arrive.

Democrats and Republicans have criticized the deployment as a ploy by the president to use active-duty military forces as a prop to try to stem Republican losses in this month’s midterm elections.

The general overseeing the deployment told POLITICO on Monday that the first troops will start heading home in the coming days as some are already unneeded, having completed the missions for which they were sent. The returning service members include engineering and logistics units whose jobs included placing concertina wire and other barriers to limit access to ports of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Buchanan confirmed previous reports that the military had rejected a request from the Department of Homeland Security for an armed force to back up Border Patrol agents in the event of a violent confrontation.

“That is a law enforcement task, and the secretary of Defense does not have the authority to approve that inside the homeland,” Buchanan said.

The troop deployment should start trailing off as engineer and other logistics troops wind down their mission of building base camps and fortifying ports of entry for the Border Patrol.

Army and Marine engineers have now emplaced about 75 percent of the obstacles they planned to, including concertina wire, shipping containers, and concrete barriers at ports of entry. “Once we get the rest of the obstacles built, we don’t need to keep all those engineers here. As soon as I’m done with a capability, what I intend to do is redeploy it,” Buchanan said. “I don’t want to keep these guys on just to keep them on.”

Logistics troops, too, will be among the first to head home. “I will probably ask to start redeploying some of our logistic capability,” Buchanan predicted. “Now that things are set down here, we don’t need as many troops to actually build base camps and things like that, because the base camps are built.”

Among the troops who will remain after construction engineers and logisticians start departing are helicopter pilots, planners, medical personnel, and smaller “quick response” teams of engineers who can help Border Patrol personnel shut down traffic at their ports of entry.

In contrast to the speed of the deployment in early November and the fanfare surrounding it, the withdrawal promises to be slower and quieter — but Buchanan expects it to be done before Christmas.

“That doesn’t mean it’s impossible,” he added. “But right now, this is a temporary mission, and we’re tasked to do it until the 15th of December.”

The futility is entirely predictable to anyone who knows anything at all. My real ire is reserved for those who knew this from the start but excused it.

Oh, Merry ek’smas.