Emasculating the National Guard

When President Bush agreed to place National Guard troops at the border to reinforce badly outnumbered Border Patrol agents, many Americans believed our nation was finally taking decisive action to stop the flood of illegal aliens into our country.

But the Bush administration deceived Americans.

It was a clever bait-and-switch operation.

Yes, National Guard troops were moved to the border, but they were so restricted in their actions — by ridiculous rules of engagement — that their presence may actually be counterproductive to the goal of making our country and citizens safer.

Take, for example, the incident near Sasabe, Ariz., Jan. 3.

Though details are sketchy and official reports are deliberately being withheld from the public, this is what we know: Approximately 12 armed men, dressed in black tactical vests and khaki military-style fatigues assaulted a four-man National Guard entry identification team that evening. They approached in a flanking maneuver, coming within 35 feet of the observation site — approximately a quarter mile inside U.S. territory.

Surrounded, outmanned and outgunned, the four Guardsmen made a "tactical retreat" to their Humvee and called the Border Patrol.

Did you hear what I said? The National Guard retreated from the border outpost because they were surrounded, outmanned and outgunned in our own country.

Incidents like this — which occur frequently at the border and on U.S. soil — should be viewed for what they are: acts of war.

Border Patrol agents say they believe the group of invaders was military trained and very likely working for one of the Mexican drug cartels.

Because the 12-man assault team was tracked back to Mexico by Border Patrol agents and National Guard troops, it is very likely this operation had one of two purposes:

It was a probing action to determine how National Guard troops would react in the future to an armed assault.

It was a diversionary action to obscure something else taking place — perhaps a major movement of drugs, guns or even terrorist weapons into our country.

Either way, the operation achieved its results. The Mexican militias now know outnumbered National Guard forces will yield to superior firepower when confronted, even within our borders. It’s an incredible concession. It should be a sobering wake-up call to all Americans that Washington has indeed waved the white flag of surrender at the border — not just to Mexican peasants wanting work, but to heavily armed drug dealers and terrorists intent on infiltrating our country.

Pity the poor U.S. citizens who live and work in border areas. They can’t even count on armed National Guard troops to protect them. How are they supposed to defend themselves and their property against these invading forces?

Still, the Bush administration’s first priority seems to be covering up such incidents — covering them up from you.

The drug cartels and the terrorists already have the intelligence reports from incidents like this. They are laughing about the fact that American National Guard troops retreat when confronted on their own soil.

We don’t just need more bodies at the border. We need new rules of engagement. Not only should our troops and Border Patrol agents be authorized to engage hostiles on our own soil, they should be authorized to pursue those hostiles inside Mexican territory.

After all, President Bush boasts such a warm relationship with his friends south of the border. Surely he won’t have any trouble explaining why the U.S. government needs to apprehend armed bandits who assault our citizens, our military and our law enforcement authorities.

We also need military air power on the border. The next time a band of armed invaders enters U.S. territory, they should be considered hostile targets for eradication by any means necessary.