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A New York Reader Asks “How Do We Defend Our Borders?”
From: Dave Brehmer [Email him]
The discussion about securing our borders always skims past the use of the military—and the negative argument is generally something that revolves around the Posse Comitatus Act (of 1878).
The PCA was passed as a result of the post-Civil War period of Reconstruction actions to re-build the South and to pacify southerners regarding their fears that the North would “occupy” the South with federal troops to maintain order and enforce laws. However, nothing in the PCA affected the ability to use the military to maintain “law and order”—as long as it was empowered to do so by an Act of Congress.
Additionally, the main purpose of the military is to protect and defend the country from invasion or incursion by “foreign elements”, which are usually identified as foreign armies—but consider that millions of non-citizens have crossed our borders, both north and south, and are essentially occupying our territory. No, in the majority of cases they are not armed nor have militaristic intent; however, today's heightened concern over terrorism are a major factor in the need to defend our borders.
Even though the Department of Homeland Security has the Border Patrol, and the mission statement for them is to prevent terrorists from entering the U.S., there is still no reason that the U.S. military cannot be used as a deterrent to the same end.
Placement of troops at or along strategic points on the border does not constitute a use of the military against the civilian populace—again, the main purpose for the PCA. Instead, it serves directly as a “force multiplier” in the defense of the nation.
Arguments that the use of the military in the past has resulted in the death of U.S. citizens is weak, at best. Yes, there are a few instances that this occurred, and while tragic, these should be viewed as “outside the norm”. The few examples available are rare and specific cases where crossing the border was not at a lawfully designated point, which no one—citizen or not—should have been crossing. These instances are not justification to prove that use of the military on the border violates the PCA.
I believe that we need to recall all troops permanently assigned to foreign countries and assigned along our border. What good are 40,000 troops at the 38th parallel against the 1 million-plus troops?
What purpose do our troops stationed in Europe have any longer? The c War is long over (we won) and the European Union should defend itself from (who?).
We should no longer provide “global protection services” to a world that no longer requires or requests it. I am not an isolationist—I served my country for 20 years—but no longer see any value in defending something that needs no defense, particularly when our country needs defending more than at any point in its history since the Revolutionary War.
James Fulford: I agree on the Posse Comitatus Act, which was meant to prevent the military from being used against Americans, not foreign invaders. In a note to Steve Sailer column we wrote
“ It's been repeatedly suggested that using the Army for border control would violate the Posse Comitatus Act, designed to prevent the Army from being used on Americans. (E.g. Raoul Lowery Contreras, in the middle of an attack on us here: "It is illegal to put troops on the border.") No, it wouldn't. Aside from the multiple modern exceptions to the Act, what is at issue here is a matter of guarding the border from foreign invaders. This is what armies are for.”
And see my article Memorial Day, The Posse Comitatus Act, and Immigrant Enemies.