Who Will Guard the National Guard?

President Bush has decided to deploy “up to” 6,000 National Guard soldiers along our Southern border with Mexico in “support” roles, with our Border Patrol “taking the lead.” National Guard elements will be largely occupied, according to administration spokesmen, “building roads and fences, doing the paperwork, vehicle maintenance and logistical support for our Border Patrol, while providing surveillance and intelligence.”

At first glance, this sounds like the much-awaited beginning to securing this nation’s borders against unlawful and clandestine entry—at least, that is the perception the President is counting on for political purposes. But what do his new policies actually mean in the real world?

Effectual War Zone

According to the President, we are absolutely not “militarizing” our border, yet the Southern border region in many areas is an effectual war zone. International criminal cartels battle amongst themselves and against our Border Patrol with automatic weapons over territory along the border—fighting to control avenues into this country worth billions of dollars a year in drug, sex, arms and human trafficking.

Enter the neutered National Guard to support the Border Patrol and absolutely not militarize anything. Outmanned and outgunned against aggressive, corrupt, violent opposition, this is a recipe for disaster.

Appeasing Mexico

In our President’s effort to appease Mexico while hoping to mollify his political base at home by sending a token deployment of troops to the embattled border—not to actually secure the border but to pretend that he is—the American people should demand to know the rules of engagement. Will U.S. soldiers along the border pushing paper, stringing wire and scraping out roads be armed and allowed to defend themselves at all?

The last thing the Bush Administration wants is a shootout between our National Guard and the Mexican military and paramilitary guarding billions of dollars of illicit cargo moving across our wide-open borders. But this is not the last thing our government should want. American troops are not trained to run away when fired upon, even when their civilian masters leave them unarmed or outgunned in a combat zone. You put them out there and let them get shot at, our men and women will stand and fight.

No slight intended to our front-line Border Patrol agents, as they face with small caliber side-arms Mexican forces guarding their valuable contraband armed with heavy-caliber automatic weapons and the latest infrared, night vision and communications equipment. These corrupt forces fire upon our Border Patrol at an ever-increasing rate, knowing our principal border enforcement agency is utterly outmanned and outgunned—and obliged to retreat to avoid an “international incident” and American fatalities. To engage in a firefight under those conditions would be suicide—yet tolerating such conditions has been the deliberate policy of the Bush Administration for nearly six long years.

As our National Guard deploys to the most dangerous place in America, and the perception of “tougher” border security hits the front pages of America’s newspapers, the drug cartels will become still more aggressive, still more violent. Billions of dollars of criminal enterprise are at stake.

Our military has the means in their arsenal to put an end to this disgrace. The National Guard is outgunned only if, by design, the President withholds from our troops the weapons they already have in their inventory and are trained to use in defense of America.

What could quickly turn into a long, hot war at the border with drug and human-trafficking syndicates—and, in reality, a corrupt Mexican government facilitating this aggression—will be literally guaranteed if, as proposed, the federal government places a token deployment of American troops in the same demoralizing situation as our unsupported Border Patrol, ensuring they are outnumbered and outgunned. Advancing such policy is a dereliction of duty that rises to a level of crisis in national leadership and judgment.

Americans Deserve Answers

Will our soldiers be at the borders armed with only construction equipment and paper clips? Who will guard the National Guard? The Border Patrol? Doesn’t that defeat the stated purpose of sending the troops to the border in the first place? The American people deserve answers.

If nothing else, the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps Granny Brigade, with the average age of grandmothers 65 years old, will be proud to stand with our National Guard and cover their backs. Given Arizona’s open-carry law for gun owners, it is possible we could have America’s grannies in Arizona out on the border line more heavily armed than our troops. Unless, of course, Washington, D.C., is prepared to join the real world and start providing at our broken Southern border defense of American territory and sovereignty they are sworn to uphold. Until then, Minutemen, and the Granny Brigade, continue on patrol.