Archive for the 'U.S. Sovereignty' Category



Threat Assessment: Transnational Jihadists and Mexican Cartels

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 6 months ago

Robert Bunker writing at Small Wars Journal assesses the relative threat posed by transnational Islamic jihadists versus the Mexican cartels.  After citing a portion of Napolitano’s concern about the growth of the lone wolf terror threat, Robert weighs in.

While the above statements—some might even say political “sound bytes”— uttered by US Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano were directed at America’s European allies, they convey the ongoing Washington obsession with Al Qaeda to the exclusion of other non-state threat entities. The memory of the 9/11 attacks is still a visceral experience for most of our nation’s financial and political elites.

Napolitano now equates lone wolf (Al Qaeda inspired) attackers, who need to take commercial aircraft to reach the US, as a significant threat to our nation. Such terrorists have extremely limited combat capabilities, both destructive and disruptive, and suffer from lack of training, equipment, and finances. They represent nodal criminal-soldiers (devoid of network support) who at best can engage in sporadic active aggressor (shooter) or IED (improvised explosive device) attacks. Such attackers are not the most pressing US national security threat; even if a few got through, the damage inflicted will be inconsequential to the integrity of American society and the functioning of its governmental system. Yes—even a suicide bomber or two detonating in the Mall of the Americas, on Wall Street, or in a high-end bistro in N.W. DC is a survivable attack for our nation, though the media would replay newscasts of the incident ad infinitum and make quite a bit of money off of the ad revenue in the process.

I’m a bit troubled by Robert’s seeming dismissal of the threat of transnational Islamic insurgency.  True enough, the so-called “lone wolf” cannot do much more than inflict terror and localized loss of life and property. But Robert is assuming that all such terrorists are going to be lone wolfs.  Perhaps not, and perhaps also since we know that Hezbollah fighters are crossing the Southern Border, Robert’s assumption forces the conclusion that it isn’t a threat.

On the contrary, in A Terrorist Attack That America Cannot Absorb I described a plausible scenario in which economic disaster would be effected as a result of the attack.  True enough, this kind of attack would require several hundred well trained, well equipped and highly motivated fighters – fighters and equipment that a group like al Qaeda may not currently be able to field.  But it’s also true that Hezbollah may be able to, and an attack of this nature, even if only partially successful with fewer fighters than I have described, would have significant consequences.  In my view Robert is thinking tactically rather than strategically as he pans the idea that transnational Islamic fighters are no longer a threat.  Small time hits against human-targer rich environs are a tactic of terror.  Destruction of infrastructure directly resulting in the inability to replace that infrastructure is a strategy – one that thankfully the enemy hasn’t deployed.

However, I agree with his assessment of the threat of Mexican cartels.

What is most amazing about Napolitano’s statements is that they ignore a far more significant threat derived from geographic proximity, mass of numbers, training and organization, wealth, and corruptive capability. Mexican cartel operatives do not have to take commercial flights to get to the US and hundreds-of-thousands of personnel exist running the gamut from foot-soldiers through lookouts into narcotics production and distribution, street extortion, human trafficking, kidnapping, and bulk thefts. Tens-of-thousands of these cartel members operate in the US in conjunction with US street, prison, and motorcycle gangs which number well in excess of 1 million individuals. The Mexican cartels control more wealth than Al Qaeda ever had at its disposal—even at Osama bin Laden’s high point— and have specialized commando units on par, if not surpassing, the best Al Qaeda could ever field. Further, the Mexican cartels have taken corruption to an art form and have compromised entire regions of the Mexican state. This corruption is now being used in a targeted manner on the US border— hundreds of documented incidents exist— a capability with which Al Qaeda has never possessed to threaten the US homeland.

Common sense dictates that we address the real threat next door and already over the border— in excess of 1,000 US cities have Mexican cartel operatives in them. While the Mexican cartel threat to the US is subtler than that of Al Qaeda— the 9/11 attacks were indeed fierce and bloody— it is also in many ways more threatening, especially now that Al Qaeda central is a former shell of itself. While ‘border spillover’ attacks and corruption have been downplayed and wide swaths of Mexico resemble a war zone (with well over 45,000 deaths), we continually hear DHS rhetoric about Al Qaeda being the #1 threat to the United States.

On a related note, I am not at all persuaded that we are winning the border war by reports that arrests on the Southern border have plummeted.  The number of Hispanic students in Alabama also recently plummeted due the implementation of E-Verify.  The failing American economy is less enticing for illegal immigrants, and so it isn’t surprising that the balance of illegals coming and going is being modified.  There is also a shift in violence within Mexico itself, meaning that areas that were once secure are now not, and vice versa.

That doesn’t mean that the border is secure.  Analogous errors in judgment occurred in Iraq when we believed that the tribal awakening in Ramadi secured Anbar, when in reality the insurgents had simply moved to Fallujah and had to be cleared from that city in 2007.  Pressing the Taliban out of Helmand moved them to Quetta (for R&R), Kandahar, Kunar and Nuristan.

The cartels will prove to be adaptive and amorphous, and we should generally ignore anecdotes as a pointer to larger trends.

Prior:

A Terrorist Attack That America Cannot Absorb

Border War

Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment

Border War

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 7 months ago

We have previously discussed the adoption of military style tactics, techniques and procedures by the Mexican cartels, the increasing corruption of the U.S. border patrol, and the recruitment of large numbers of High Schoolers by the cartels.  After observing that the use of the National Guard is problematic for a number of reasons (including the lack of training, the lack of appropriate rules for the use of force, etc.), I recommended that:

… we view what is going on as a war against warlords and insurgents who will destabilize the state both South and even North of the border.  I have further recommended that the RUF be amended and the U.S. Marines be used to set up outposts and observation posts along the border in distributed operations, even making incursions into Mexican territory if necessary while chasing insurgents (Mexican police have used U.S. soil in pursuit of the insurgents).

While militarization of border security may be an unpalatable option for America, it is the only option that will work.  All other choices make the situation worse because it is allowed to expand and grow.  Every other option is mere window dressing.

We now know that gang members are being recruited by the cartels to do street-level jobs, and the loss of border security has wreaked ecological disaster.

“I have learned to live with trash,” said fifth-generation Arizona rancher Jim Chilton.

He saw his once-beautiful ranch, just a few miles from the border with Mexico, is now dotted with clusters of crushed trees and cactus, whole hillsides have been turned into charred eyesores, years worth of his award-winning conservation projects obliterated — and the whole thing is littered with trash, tons and tons of trash. And some of the trash was dead bodies.

Chilton had the misfortune of settling in the path of what would become a dangerous drug- and human-smuggling route on the U.S.-Mexican border, parallel with the notorious Peck Canyon Corridor.

“I’ve got 30,000 to 40,000 illegal aliens coming right through the ranch every year, and the Forest Service says each one leaves about eight pounds of trash. That means 100 tons of trash. Some cows eat the plastic bags and about 10 head a year die a slow and painful death. At $1,200 a head, that means we lose $12,000 a year to trash.”

Chilton saw southern Arizona not as the headline-grabbing political flashpoint of the Justice Department’s failed “Fast and Furious” guns-to-smugglers tracking project, but as the land-grabbing opportunism of Obama’s resource management agencies and, sadly, the failure of the U.S. Border Patrol to secure that bloody line separating the United States from Mexico.

The land-grabbing chapter of the trash story has gone largely unnoticed, but surfaced last year when the Bureau of Land Management proposed to shut down target shooting on 490,000 acres in the Sonoran Desert National Monument — and in large swaths of other public lands as well.

The reason? Monument manager Richard Hanson claimed shooters were leaving trash at the shooting sites, an outrageously trumped up excuse, but Hanson’s claim couldn’t be refuted at the time.

The BLM had closed 400,000 acres of publicly owned, national monument lands across three states to recreational shooting activities in 2010, labeling recreational shooting as a resource-harming activity and a public safety threat.

That was a clear signal showing that the SDNM move was just another step in Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s obnoxious “lock-it-up-and-kick-’em-out” plans that have drawn the ire of Congress.

If it seems that the administration is taking an un-serious view of border security (intentionally conflating the trash left by illegals with shooters), then this report shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Federal agents trying to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border say they’re hampered by laws that keep them from driving vehicles on huge swaths of land because it falls under U.S. environmental protection, leaving it to wildlife — and illegal immigrants and smugglers who can walk through the territory undisturbed.

A growing number of lawmakers are saying such restrictions have turned wilderness areas into highways for criminals. In recent weeks, three congressional panels, including two in the GOP-controlled House and one in the Democratic-controlled Senate, have moved to give the Border Patrol unfettered access to all federally managed lands within 100 miles of the border with Mexico.

While the cartels develop intricate intelligence networks and adopt military style tactics, the U.S. prohibits access to lands controlled by the Bureau of Land Management due to EPA regulations, and blames trash at the border on shooters.  It’s no wonder that insurgents have gone hunting at the border – not hunting for animal game, but human game.

Five illegal immigrants armed with at least two AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifles were hunting for U.S. Border Patrol agents near a desert watering hole known as Mesquite Seep just north of the Arizona-Mexico border when a firefight erupted and one U.S. agent was killed, records show.

A now-sealed federal grand jury indictment in the death of Border Patrol agent Brian A. Terry says the Mexican nationals were “patrolling” the rugged desert area of Peck Canyon at about 11:15 p.m. on Dec. 14 with the intent to “intentionally and forcibly assault” Border Patrol agents.

Commenter Scott Wilson recommends the following:

They should take the 7th Army (and the Ghost of Patton), and all its subordinate units, and move it lock, stock & barrel to Del Rio, TX. They can then patrol the banks of the Rio Grande with Bradley’s, Apaches & Cobras. Then, let’s see how much success these border insurgents, armed with the semi-auto AKs have against that.

Germany has the strongest economy in Europe. It can afford to defend itself from Russian aggression. If it can’t, then we have PLENTY of military contractors that can sell them the weapons that they need. Europe needs to stand on its own. Our resources need to be protecting our borders, not Germany’s.

This sentiment is certainly in line with my own, but unfortunately, roving the border with Bradley Fighting Vehicles won’t work.  This requires combat outposts and Marines (or Soldiers) on foot patrol.  Infantry – not mechanized infantry – is the order of the day.

But it will require more than that.  As long as we continue to treat the border as a law enforcement endeavor, with agents subject to rules such as those outlined in the Supreme Court decision in Tennessee versus Garner, with criminals imprisoned or sent back to Mexico to try it all again, we will continue to lose the war at the border.  Imprisonment of drug traffickers and illegals won’t work any more than prisons work in counterinsurgency.  Prisons are a costly ruse.

Make no mistake about it.  This isn’t a war against drugs, or a war against the drug cartels, or a war against illegal immigration, or even a war against human trafficking or Hezbollah fighters entering the U.S. at the Southern border.  This is a war for national sovereignty – a border war.

Law enforcement cannot do the job when people are afraid to call them for fear of retribution and are being told to wear body armor to work out in their own fields.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

A border war.  Only when we militarize the border with combat outposts and shoot all trespassers will we even begin to wage the war on the enemy’s terms.  In spite of claims that the Posse Comitatus Act applies, this war is against non-U.S. citizens, and it is a fight for the survival of what defines America.  Presidents in both parties have seen America as an idea rather than a location with secure borders.

If America is an idea and the Southern border is to be just an imaginary line, then we have already lost.  If America deserves defending, then we must do what is both uncomfortable and necessary to effect its security.

Prior on Border War: Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment

Prior Featured: Analysis of Brief For The U.S. In Opposition to Sean Masciandaro

1200 National Guard Troops to Arizona-Mexico Border

BY Herschel Smith
7 years, 1 month ago

Mr. Obama plans to send up to 1200 National Guard troops to the Arizona-Mexico border.  It’s important to realize what this is – and what it isn’t.  The solution to immigration is rather simple,  but involves actions that we deem too painful.  I have pointed out before that piracy exists because we want it to.  Rather, we want it more than we want to implement the solution (which we deem to be too violent for our sensibilities).  The same holds true for illegal immigration.

One such cornerstone in the undoing of illegal immigration is to imprison the CEOs of companies who hire illegal aliens.  Add to this the imprisonment of those who hire illegals as nannies, house workers, and gardeners, and those construction superintendents who drop by Home Depot or Lowe’s early in the morning to pick up their workers, and we will begin to make a dent in the illegal population in the U.S.

But illegal immigrants is big business in America.  It is a form of corporate welfare.  Rather than pay for benefits, the cheap CEOs (and construction superintendents) can rely on the U.S. taxpayers (and medical insurance premium payers) to pay them for him.  It’s a win-lose arrangement.  The CEO wins and the taxpayer loses.  There are even seminars that teach these cheap CEOs how to get away with it.

But there is another supremely important issue for border enforcement, one that has gotten scant attention.  It has to do with whether the National Guard can in any way really help the border guards, and in fact, whether the border guards themselves can even do their job.  When National Guardsmen were deployed to the border before, they were attacked and overrun by a small army on the payroll of the drug lords.  They weren’t even allowed to fire warning shots according to the rules for the use of force.

The war on the Southern border is being treated as an exercise in law enforcement, and the stipulations of the SCOTUS decision in Tennessee v. Garner 471 U.S. 1 (1985) apply.  Deadly force can only be used in self defense, and thus did Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean serve time in prison (until their sentences were commuted by President Bush) for shooting a known drug dealer who was both threatening these two former border guards and fleeing arrest.

Whether one agrees with the SCOTUS decision, its application on the border with hundreds of thousands of illegals flowing across combined with a heavily armed drug army is dubious at the very best.  There simply aren’t enough border agents or National Guard troops to effect arrest by hand – chasing and apprehending them without deadly force – while following the stipulations of decisions intended for U.S. citizens.  The flow of immigrants across the border must be treated as an invasion, and until it is, there will be no effect on the problem.

We can equivocate until there is no more border, we can legislate until the lawyers cannot decipher it.  There are even those who do not care.  But among those who do, there is nothing – NOTHING – these 1200 National Guardsmen can do.  Their presence is mere window dressing as pointed out by Michelle Malkin.  It is for appearance, and the hemorrhaging at the border will continue unabated.

Counterinsurgency on the Southern U.S. Border

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 6 months ago

Friend of The Captain’s Journal David Danelo has a must read concerning the situation at the Southern U.S. border.  Here is the full commentary followed by our own analysis.

On Nov. 3, the day before Americans elected Barack Obama president, drug cartel henchmen murdered 58 people in Mexico. It was the highest number killed in one day since President Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006. By comparison, on average 26 people — Americans and Iraqis combined — died daily in Iraq in 2008. Mexico’s casualty list on Nov. 3 included a man beheaded in Ciudad Juarez whose bloody corpse was suspended along an overpass for hours. No one had the courage to remove the body until dark.

The death toll from terrorist attacks in Mumbai two weeks ago, although horrible, approaches the average weekly body count in Mexico’s war. Three weeks ago in Juarez, which is just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, telephone messages and banners threatened teachers that if they failed to pay protection money to cartels, their students would suffer brutal consequences. Local authorities responded by assigning 350 teenage police cadets to the city’s 900 schools. If organized criminals wish to extract tribute from teachers, businessmen, tourists or anyone else, there is nothing the Mexican government can do to stop them. For its part, the United States has become numb to this norm.

As part of my ongoing research into border issues, I have visited Juarez six times over the last two years. Each time I return, I see a populace under greater siege. Residents possess a mentality that increasingly resembles the one I witnessed as a Marine officer in Baghdad, Fallouja and Ramadi.

“The police are nothing,” a forlorn cab driver told me in September. “They cannot protect anyone. We can go nowhere else. We live in fear.”

An official in El Paso estimated that up to 100,000 dual U.S.-Mexican citizens, mostly upper middle class, have fled north from Juarez to his city this year. Only those lacking means to escape remain.

At the same time, with the U.S. economy in free fall, many illegal immigrants are returning south. So illegal immigration — the only border issue that seems to stir the masses — made no splash in this year’s elections. Mexico’s chaos never surfaced as a topic in either the foreign or domestic policy presidential debates.

Despite the gravity of the crisis, our closest neighbor has fallen off our political radar. Heaven help you if you bring up the border violence at a Washington dinner party. Nobody — Republican or Democrat — wants to approach this thorny discussion.

Mexico, our second-largest trading partner, is a fragmenting state that may spiral toward failure as the recession and drug violence worsen. Remittances to Mexico from immigrant labor have fallen almost 20% in 2008. Following oil, tourism and remittances, drugs are the leading income stream in the Mexican economy.

While the bottom is dropping out of the oil and tourism markets, the American street price of every narcotic has skyrocketed, in part because of recent drug interdiction successes along the U.S. border.

Unfortunately, this toxic economic cocktail also stuffs the cartels’ coffers. Substitute tribal clans for drug cartels, and Mexico starts to look disturbingly similar to Afghanistan, whose economy is fueled by the heroin-based poppy trade.

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, Obama’s pick for Homeland Security director, has argued for permanently stationing National Guard troops along the border. That response alone will do little to assuage American border citizens. To them, talk of “violence bleeding over” is political pabulum while they watch their southern neighbors bleed.

If Napolitano wishes to stabilize the border, she will have to persuade the Pentagon and the State Department to take a greater interest in Mexico. Despite Calderon’s commendable efforts to fight both the cartels and police corruption, this struggle shows no signs of slowing. When 45,000 federal troops are outgunned and outspent by opponents of uncertain but robust size, the state’s legitimacy quickly deteriorates.

The Mexican state has not faced this grave a challenge to its authority since the Mexican revolution nearly a century ago.

If you want to see what Mexico will look like if this pattern continues, visit a border city like Tijuana, where nine beheaded bodies were discovered in plastic bags 10 days ago. Inhale the stench of decay. Inspect the fear on the faces. And then ask yourself how the United States is prepared to respond as Mexico’s crisis increasingly becomes our own.

David J. Danelo is the author of “The Border: Exploring the U.S.-Mexican Divide” and “Blood Stripes: The Grunt’s View of the War in Iraq.”

To set background in place for the analysis below, see the following video.  Mexican labor has become the new slave class for Corporate America.

The situation at the border with Mexico has become as classical an insurgency as anywhere in the world, and because of the complicity of American business fishing for cheap labor, lack of traceability of employment records, no health insurance payments, no retirement payments, and no social security payments, we are now relegated to the solution to militarize the Southern border.

Further, even militarization of the border won’t fully solve the issue unless massive changes are made to both the rules under which the military would operate and our understanding of the seriousness of the situation.  In Guardsmen Attacked and Overrun at U.S. Border we discussed the horribly failed attempt to use the National Guard to secure the border.  The National Guard had no ammunition in their weapons, could only put themselves at mortal risk in order to apprehend suspects, and weren’t even allowed to fire warning shots.

Unlike the citizens of New Orleans after Katrina who usually stopped for armed police (not realizing that the police are not allowed to use deadly force to stop a fleeing suspect), the border is infested with rogue elements who know better.  Militarization of the border would mean full scale implementation of the rules associated with the SCOTUS decision Tennessee v. Garner 471 U.S. 1 (1985) on criminals who wouldn’t respect the military and would use the rules against them.

The intrusiveness of a seizure by means of deadly force is unmatched. The suspect’s fundamental interest in his own life need not be elaborated upon. The use of deadly force also frustrates the interest of the individual, and of society, in judicial determination of guilt and punishment. Against these interests are ranged governmental interests in effective law enforcement.  It is argued that overall violence will be reduced by encouraging the peaceful submission of suspects who know that they may be shot if they flee.

Without in any way disparaging the importance of these goals, we are not convinced that the use of deadly force is a sufficiently productive means of accomplishing them to justify the killing of nonviolent suspects. Cf. Delaware v. Prouse, supra, at 659. The use of deadly force is a self-defeating way of apprehending a suspect and so setting the criminal justice mechanism in motion. If successful, it guarantees that that mechanism will not be set in motion. And while the meaningful threat of deadly force might be thought to lead to the arrest of more live suspects by discouraging escape attempts, the presently available evidence does not support this thesis.

Whether MS 13, other criminals and drug runners, or foreign terrorists who enter the U.S. via the Southern border, the U.S. is in real trouble concerning national sovereignty.  David has done important work in informing us of the scope of the risk at the border.

Prior:

Danger at the Border

Guardsmen Attacked and Overrun at the U.S. Border

Danger at the Border

BY Herschel Smith
9 years, 12 months ago

In Guardsmen Attacked and Overrun at U.S. Border we discussed the embarrassing and dangerous rout of U.S. troops by heavily armed criminals at the border around January of 2007, and how, while the use of the troops didn’t violate Posse Comitatus, they were not armed (they didn’t have ammunition for their weapons) and had only assisted the border guards in clerical and maintenance duties.

After calling for the deployment of the National Guard to the borders by so many television pundits, it was difficult for the country to understand why their soldiers had been routed by drug gangs.  There is something far deeper at work here, and it will prevent the effective closure of the border no matter how many miles of fence is constructed and no matter how many border guards or National Guardsmen are deployed to the border.  Border Guards and the Armed Forces will behave in accordance with RUF, or rules for the use of force.

In Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985), the SCOTUS (White, Brennan, Marshall, Blackmun, Powell and Stevens, with O’Conner and Rehnquist dissenting) weighed the use of deadly force for the apprehension of criminals:

The intrusiveness of a seizure by means of deadly force is unmatched. The suspect’s fundamental interest in his own life need not be elaborated upon. The use of deadly force also frustrates the interest of the individual, and of society, in judicial determination of guilt and punishment. Against these interests are ranged governmental interests in effective law enforcement.  It is argued that overall violence will be reduced by encouraging the peaceful submission of suspects who know that they may be shot if they flee.

The decision would change the face of law enforcement across the nation (even for those police departments who had already implemented something like the SCOTUS decision into policy):

Without in any way disparaging the importance of these goals, we are not convinced that the use of deadly force is a sufficiently productive means of accomplishing them to justify the killing of nonviolent suspects. Cf. Delaware v. Prouse, supra, at 659. The use of deadly force is a self-defeating way of apprehending a suspect and so setting the criminal justice mechanism in motion. If successful, it guarantees that that mechanism will not be set in motion. And while the meaningful threat of deadly force might be thought to lead to the arrest of more live suspects by discouraging escape attempts, 9 the presently available evidence does not support this thesis.

Notice here that the SCOTUS takes an irrelevant adventure into unscientific and anecdotal evidence to bolster their decision rather than focusing on the case constitutionality or lack thereof.  Continuing:

The use of deadly force to prevent the escape of all felony suspects, whatever the circumstances, is constitutionally unreasonable. It is not better that all felony suspects die than that they escape. Where the suspect poses no immediate threat to the officer and no threat to others, the harm resulting from failing to apprehend him does not justify the use of deadly force to do so.

What the decision means is that a police officer (and substitute here border guard) cannot use his weapon to apprehend; he can only use it for self defense in the case of an armed assailant who intends to do harm.  Apprehending must be performed without deadly force.  Notwithstanding the video of looters who were ignorant of the law being detained by police officers in New Orleans after the flood, the police cannot use their weapon to detain.  Those looters could have fled the scene if they were able to escape physical, bodily restraint by the officer.  They only stopped because they incorrectly thought that the officers could have used deadly force to detain them.

The gang members who regularly cross the southern border are not so ignorant of the law.  This legal criteria is applied without exception to non-citizens who have crossed over the U.S. border from Mexico.  Calls for sending the National Guard to the border are ostensibly a call for militarization of the border.  In fact, the administration, border guards and military forces of the U.S. know better, and thus the deployment of Guardsmen becomes a shell game with national security.  It is done knowing full well that it will have no effect on border security.

Big business has created a situation in which national security is being sacrificed for the sake of stock prices.  The logical connections go as follows.  The use of illegals to perform work in the U.S. is big business.  The corporate class has found a way to create a new slave class by paying lower wages to illegals while forcing the middle class to shoulder the burden for medical, social, language, educational and other welfare programs for this new slave class.  This new slave class makes an already porous border even worse, and helps to break a system that is woefully unprepared and improperly tooled to track illegals in the country.  This system breakage then redounds to further lack of control over potential terrorists who would cross over the border.

If you doubt that the new slave class is big business for corporations, the video below might convince you otherwise.

Many things can be done about the current debacle that is the border with Mexico.  The SCOTUS could revisit Tennessee v. Garner.  But will they?  The congress could enact legislation that militarizes the border (or at least provide more authority to border guards) and, by their constitutional authority, order the courts not to adjudicate the law.  But will they?  Miles of border fence could be constructed and manned by border guards with non-lethal weapons.  But will America do this?  We could imprison corporate executives who hire illegals.  But will we?  Will we institute all, some or none of these changes?  Without having a national conversation about the entire scope of the problem and getting serious about the hard work of securing the border, sending more Guardsmen to the border will not just be ineffective.  It will prolong the problem and prevent the national conversation from taking place.  And talk about “comprehensive immigration reform” (S. 1639) is a ruse and usurper of a real national conversation about securing the border.

More Confusion on Rules of Engagement

BY Herschel Smith
10 years, 3 months ago

We have covered rules of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, both at the micro- and macroscopic levels, i.e., from room clearing operations to the use of munitions delivered from air.  In this coverage we have challenged not only the written rules, but the in-situ application and communication of them.  Rather than using MSM reports, we have done original investigative reporting, conveying the stories of at least two NCOs who were recently in Iraq.  We have received thousands of visits to these articles from military network domains, including CENTCOM, the Pentagon, NCTC, Army, Marines and others.  There was a promise by the administration to revise the ‘overly-restrictive’ rules of engagement upon announcement of “the surge.”  Yet there continues to be obvious indecision and confusion regarding both the application and communication of ROE, the most recent instances of which involved kinetic operations in a Mosque and university in Baghdad.

As a contextual background to the most recent issues, in Rules of Engagement and Indecision we discussed the ~200 Taliban, in formation for a funeral, and who escaped without being engaged by a predator drone because of bureaucracy and indecision on rules of engagement.

Every airstrike, whether from a manned aircraft or a Predator, must be at least approved by commanders at the regional Combined Air Operations Center, or CAOC. If an intended target is particularly sensitive, the decision could go all the way up to a general officer serving as top combat commander … The current rules of engagement, likely developed by senior Pentagon officials, do not rule out an attack on religious gathering but do generally prohibit an attack on a religious site such as a cemetery or mosque, military analyst and retired Army Col. Jack Jacobs told MSNBC TV.

Ramadi combat action has seen U.S. forces finally engage insurgent fire coming from Mosques, after “Militants inside the Al Qadir Al Kilami mosque fired small arms, machine guns and rocket propelled grenades at U.S. forces.”  In this instance, there was hesitation, and it took direct attacks against U.S. forces from the Mosque to provoke engagement by the U.S.

In the recent security operations, Maliki has allegedly directed robust action against the tactics of using Mosques as defense by the insurgents.  “We are full of hope. We have no other choice but to use force and any place where we receive fire will not be safe even if it is a school, a mosque, a political party office or home,” he said. “There will be no safe place in Iraq for terrorists.”

The U.S. has indeed recently raided Mosques in kinetic operations.

Two suspects were detained when members of the 10th Mountain Division “Commandos” conducted a search of the Khashab mosque in western Baghdad on Jan. 12 aimed at capturing insurgents believed responsible for assassinating the governor of Baghdad. Insurgent propaganda was found in the mosque.

The search was planned based on intelligence gathered from numerous citizens in the Hurriyah neighborhood of Baghdad, officials said. Residents witnessed insurgents leaving from the mosque then fleeing to the mosque after the assassination.

There is even more recent action inside Mosques, followed on by a confused statement from the Multi-National Force:

Coalition forces detained three suspected terrorists during a raid in Baghdad Sunday morning.
 
The targeted suspected terrorist, who was detained on the scene, is reported to be involved in the procurement and distribution of weapons, including explosives to conduct improvised explosive devices attacks against Iraqi citizens and Coalition Forces.
 
While conducting the raid, Coalition Forces entered a mosque where the targeted suspect was hiding.  Coalition Forces detained the targeted suspect along with two other suspected terrorists.
 
During the operation, one local Iraqi woman received wounds to her thigh and head.  Coalition medical personnel treated her onsite and she was transported to a local hospital for further care.
 
“Coalition forces soldiers respect the sanctity and holiness of all places of worship and exercise the utmost restraint when planning for and considering the conduct of operations in and around mosques,

Guardsmen Attacked and Overrun at U.S. Border

BY Herschel Smith
10 years, 5 months ago

**** SCROLL FOR UPDATES ****

A U.S. Border Patrol entry Identification Team site was overrun Wednesday night along Arizona’s border with Mexico. Note that this is not the Syrian-Iraqi border, but the U.S. border.

According to the Border Patrol, an unknown number of gunmen attacked the site in the state’s West Desert Region around 11 p.m. The site is manned by National Guardsmen. Those guardsmen were forced to retreat.

So how is it that Guardsmen are forced to retreat when attacked at the U.S. border? The answer lies in understanding the assigned mission of the Guardsmen. The current administration and many in Congress see America as a “state of mind” rather than a place to live and defend. Border security is not taken seriously because they do not believe in an America with borders.

This explains the role of the Guardsmen. Since arriving in mid-June, the Guard has assisted the Border Patrol by manning control rooms, repairing roads, fences and vehicles, and spotting and reporting illegal border crossings to the Border Patrol. President Bush said last spring he would have up to 6,000 National Guard troops deployed to assist the Border Patrol.

Note well. The Guardsmen are not even armed. Posse Comitatus does not prevent the use of U.S. troops from performing functions on U.S. soil, even policing functions. It just requires the approval of the President and Congress to use them in this manner. But because most people in Washington do not understand this, or simply do not care, the Guardsmen are not armed and are not instructed or even allowed to perform policing functions, even at the border with Mexico. They assist with roads, fences and office administrative functions.

It is manifestly obvious that to use U.S. warriors in this manner besmirches their honor and reputation, insults their dignity, puts them at undue risk, wastes their time and equipment, and turns them into road workers and administrative clerks. It is unseemly and scandalous in the superlative degree.

As a solution to this embarrassment, we should either arm them with M16A2s and instruct and empower them to arrest those who violate the sovereignty of the United States and kill those who resist, or let them go home, after which we can admit to our children that we don’t care about the security of our country any more.

**** UPDATE ****

Courtesy of Oak Leaf at Polipundit, we have this informative post from June of 2006.

Unfortunately, I must report that “Armed


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