President Donald Trump continues to buck some of the most basic norms associated with his position at every turn. He’s announced the deployment of up to 15,000 active duty U.S. troops to the United States border with Mexico — which has now drawn the criticism of a whole array of former military leaders. Trump is using the military for a political stunt, they say.
After all, on a very base level, the migrant “caravan” Trump intends for the troops to confront is over a month away from the U.S. border. Despite his claims that the group constitutes an “invasion,” the migrants include plenty of women and children, all of whom intend to legally seek asylum in the United States — and Trump wants to confront them with as many U.S. troops as are currently deployed to Iraq, if not far more.
Retired Lt. Gen. Jim Dubik — who helped lead an effort in Iraq to bolster local police forces — explained his position as:
‘The real issue is whether the military is being used for partisan political purposes. If that’s the case, then I think such a use represents not just a wasteful deployment but a dangerous one. It’s dangerous because it will politicize the use of force in ways a democracy should avoid.’
Trump doesn’t seem too concerned with that possibility of veering outside the boundaries of modern democracy.
He whined on Twitter:
‘We will NOT let these Caravans, which are also made up of some very bad thugs and gang members, into the U.S. Our Border is sacred, must come in legally. TURN AROUND!’
Put simply, the bulk of those traveling in caravans through Central America to the United States are attempting to come in legally. Seeking asylum at a designated point of entry to the United States is legal — although there’s been talk about the president seeking to change that.
Still, in the meantime, he’s just stoking fear and embracing violence in the process. He’s claimed without evidence that there are apparent Middle Eastern terrorists attempting to infiltrate the United States over the southern border, and he added at one point that anyone among the migrants in question who threw rocks should be shot.
Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling asserted that no matter the petty violence:
‘[T]here is no leader in the military – Officer or NCO – who would allow a soldier to shoot at an individual throwing a rock. They know that violates the rules of engagement, the law of land warfare & the values those in the military believe. It would be an unlawful order.’
Others to speak out in various capacities include Retired Col. Paul Yingling, who called the operation a “political stunt,” retired Gen. Colin Powell, who asserted that he sees “no threat requiring this kind of deployment,” and retired Lt. Gen. David Barno, who bemoaned the “highly politicized environment” that the military has now found itself in.
Retired Gen. Marty Dempsey added that the whole operation constitutes a “wasteful deployment of over-stretched Soldiers and Marines.”
Despite all of this criticism, the Trump administration is still, at present, going forward with their plans for a deployment in what might as well be taken as solely a political stunt thanks to the midterm elections remaining just days away.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot