That’s a Good Question

A recent standoff between National Guardsmen and heavily armed outlaws along the Mexican border has rattled some troops and raised questions about the rules of engagement for soldiers who were sent to the border in what was supposed to be a backup role.
…And some lawmakers have questioned why the rules prohibit soldiers from opening fire unless they are fired upon.

“Why would this be allowed to happen?” Republican Arizona state Rep. Warde Nichols said. “Why do we have National Guard running from illegals on the border?”

Unfortunately, the National Guard might be used to whack rules of engagement, considering all the time they’ve spent in Iraq. But in a perfect world, the National Guard, the Marines…NONE of them should be watching the border. The BORDER Patrol and law enforcement agencies along the BORDER should be policing the BORDER. Our military is: a) stretched thin enough b) was never meant to be a police force. They’re trained for combat and extraordinary circumstances/natural disasters.

…Several soldiers said the Arizona confrontation worried them.
“I didn’t think they were going to get that bold,” said Sgt. Samuel Perez of Savannah, Ga. “It’s kind of been chilling that somebody is going to be that crazy.”
First Lt. Wayne Lee, a spokesman for the New Mexico National Guard, said soldiers “are not supposed to get into a firefight. It’s not the Sunni Triangle.

No, it’s not. But chances are it might sound like it sometimes. The first National Guardsman who hears rifle shots ~ maybe even hears them zing by his ear ~ and fires back will have his own firestorm to handle, I guarantee it.

…Weinacht told OneWorld he hopes the military has learned some lessons from the last time around, but he doubts any military deployment can be successful. “When you have soldiers on the border, you have to make sure they’re properly trained. But if you’re going to spend a lot on training why not just train more border patrol?

6 Responses to “That’s a Good Question”

  1. Tom Clancy said it best. Soldiers don’t make good policemen, and if they do it too long they don’t make good soldiers.

  2. major dad says:

    Firefight? I would think “trained” soldiers would make short work of some armed thugs as in kill them all before they fired a meaningful shot. But that’s just me.

  3. The_Real_JeffS says:

    The National Guard dislikes any sort of law enforcement role, and tries to avoid law enforcement missions where deadly force might be used.
    This is partly due to a history of the NG being excellent riot and strike breakers (where deadly force was used) as recently as the 1960s. For whatever (stupid) reasons they use, it’s (unofficially) become a “bad thing” for the Guard to be used in this role. Obviously, there are exceptions to this (e.g., looter control after a natural disaster, and during the LA riots), but those are the exception, not the rule. They’ve been hamstrung on this subject, largely through “PC” thinking.
    Also, it’s partly due to the increased emphasis on the Guard being used in a combat role. When you have a very limited window for training every year (1 weekend a month + 2 weeks of annual training = 39 training days), and combat readiness is pushed first, law enforcement (which is what the Border Patrol is supposed to do) goes out the window. I sat in on annual training planning conferences where this very subject was discussed in considerable detail….and any training related to civil security operations or riot control were deliberately deleted.
    The end result are troops who are not certain just what they are supposed to do, unless they have been given very clear orders and a decent set of rules of engagement. Are they cops or soldiers?
    And under the current atmosphere of border “protection”, I’d bet that their ROE really suck.
    Personally, I agree with you, Major Dad. But one overly cautious person in the chain of command will turn a company of killers into a moving clusterf**k. And on this subject, I expect that there is more than one overly cautious person in the chain of command.

  4. The_Real_JeffS says:

    Oh, and Ken, spot on with your Clancy quote.

  5. Firehand says:

    Lots more Border Patrol guys, with clear orders that if anybody shoots at them, or threatens them with lethal force, “You kill the bastards.”

  6. Timothy McVeigh says:

    But if you stop all the “illegals” coming across the border, who’s going to pick up your trash, wash your cars and clean your office buildings?

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