Cavalry to the Border!


It will be interesting to read the rest of Jerry Seper`s coverage of America`s Second Mexican War, which just keeps getting hotter.

It is evident that the Mexican government plays a material role in the ongoing border incursions and violations of U.S. sovereignty from south of our Mexican border, which have increased in frequency and impunity while George W. Bush has been in the White House.

Americans have now endured at least a decade of hectoring from Mexican politicians – including presidents (most recently here: Mexican Leader Sees Bias in U.S. Politicking | Stop Disparaging Migrants, Calder??n Says Washington Post, November 15, 2007) – about gringo discrimination against Mexicans and all “Latinos” and our duty to welcome and cosset Mexicans, however they may have come to America, at the same time as they demand all those free-loading Mexicans remain fully Mexican, send their Yanqui dollars home, and unto the seventh generation “think Mexico first,” as Vicente Fox’s U.S.-born cross-border invasion coordinator so diplomatically put it on American prime-time TV.

For several years now, we have been reading stories, and not only from Border Patrol sources, about armed and vehicle-mounted men crossing the U.S. border from Mexico and firing on Border Patrol agents and ranchers. The sheer volume of illegal entry, the growing violence, the patent collusion of the Mexican government–all show this is a national security problem that demands a stronger and more effective response than county sheriffs and state policemen can mount.

Indeed, despite the sterling efforts of many agents the Border Patrol is unequal to the task–especially since the GW Bush administration refuses adamantly to give the Border Patrol the tools to get on with the job, and railroads into federal penitentiaries agents who take border patrolling too seriously.

Fortunately, the United States has a force explicitly established and chartered with the mission of protecting the United States against invasion on the ground. All that is lacking is the will and the wit to use this instrument in the American interest. What America needs on the Mexican border is the United States Army.

By “send the Army,” I don`t mean merely mobilizing National Guardsmen piecemeal and sending them to sit unarmed in the sand and watch illegal aliens cross the border. I mean deploy units of the Regular Army to the border, augmented as necessary by National Guard and Army Reserve units, and with Air Force support as required. (On our sea frontiers, of course, the Navy and Marine Corps, augmented as required by the Coast Guard, should be doing the same thing.)

Now don’t even bring up the red herring of the Posse Comitatus Act. That law, like the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment, is another one open-borders proponents love to misconstrue. The Posse Comitatus Act restricts the federal government’s ability to use the Army for domestic policing. Securing the nation’s borders is not domestic policing. On the contrary, border defense fits squarely within the very definition of the Army’s core mission. Article IV, Section 4 of the United States Constitution says it plainly: “The United States shall … protect each of them [the States] against Invasion.” The Constitution says nothing about a border patrol, but it has plenty to say about the Army, which has been in existence since 1775.

Patriotic Americans should be asking themselves: What should the primary mission of the U.S. Army be in these post-Cold War times? Is it trying (and failing) to defend Iraq and impose order–including secure borders–on hostile Moslems in that Mesopotamian morass? Is it chasing still other hostile Moslems around the desolate mountainsides of Afghanistan? Or should it be keeping uninvited and unwanted foreigners–many armed and among them at least a few of those hostile Moslems who make life so pleasant in places like Iraq – out of the United States? The answer becomes even more obvious when Americans realize the government of our large (and pretty affluent by world standards) neighbor next door is doing everything it can, including armed cross-border incursions, to abet the demographic invasion and transformation of our country.

The United States should withdraw all forces–Army, Marine, supporting Air Force and Navy –from Iraq and Afghanistan. Our presence there, no matter what facetious mission-of-the-minute justification the Bush administration comes up with, is a fool`s errand. We cannot win, on any intelligent definition of winning, and there is no point in continuing to try. We can only bleed our armed forces dry and damage America`s standing in the world and economy. The U.S. armed forces should return to their constitutional mission of defending the United States.

The U.S. Army, built around mobile and mechanized forces designed to fight the Red Army in Germany, is–with some notable exceptions– ill-suited to the role it has been forced into in Iraq. We can solve that problem by bringing our soldiers (Marines too!) home, post-haste. In the largely open desert terrain characteristic of America’s Mexican border, mobile units can range widely and, with their built-in aerial surveillance capabilities, cover large stretches of border effectively.

What I am proposing is a mission built around reconnaissance, surveillance and apprehending illegal entrants. I am emphatically not proposing turning the Mexican border into a free-fire zone. That said, Army units engaged in border defense will need reasonable rules of engagement – and they will need to be able to deploy with their weapons.

Opening fire cannot be the first choice for stopping individual, unarmed illegal aliens. In those cases, we would have to ask our soldiers to operate more as policemen. That said, American soldiers on border duty have the right to be at least as well armed as police officers on major city forces, and at least as permissive rules of engagement for self-defense.

What of those armed incursions, some probably by Mexican soldiers or former soldiers now in the pay of drug cartels? Those incursions should be met with deadly force, and American forces can and should pursue them back across the border. Once those invaders understand that they will be resisted, driven back into Mexico, and pursued and destroyed even in their base areas, their incursions will stop. Right now the perception on the border, despite the carefully staged wailing of Mexican politicians, is that the United States lacks the political will to control the border.

Extreme as these proposals may sound, there is solid precedent for them.

The Mexican War was not simply, as it is portrayed today, a Yankee invasion of Mexico. The U.S. invasion of Mexico, when it finally came, was largely in response to repeated Mexican violations of the U.S. border. It is forgotten today, but in the 1840s the conventional wisdom was (despite its drubbing ten years before in Texas) that the Mexican Army was stronger and more professional than the American.

In 1916, in response to cross-border raids and murder in towns such as Douglas, Arizona, the U.S. Army launched a punitive raid into Mexico under John J. Pershing, warming up for his role as commander of the American Expeditionary Force sent to France the next year. Mexico protested, but it was generally understood that the United States was within its right to defend its border and to suppress the bandit forces that had raided American soil. Would that we were so self-confident today.

As the lead unit of an Army deployment to the Mexican border, I would nominate the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, based at Fort Hood, Texas. U.S. Cavalry did not cease to exist when the Army retired its horses. On the contrary, mechanized cavalry groups performed yeoman service in World War II, and air and armored cavalry squadrons were some of the most effective units in Vietnam. The 3rd ACR itself played a critical role in breaking Saddam Hussein’s army in Desert Storm, and has been one of the most successful units employed in the younger President Bush’s dismal Mesopotamian misadventure.

With their unparalleled mobility and built-in combination of mechanized and air power, armored cavalry regiments have great potential for covering the wide expanses of our Southwest border region. If commander-in-chief Bush were serious about defending America, he would seriously consider deploying them there.

Last week, I was at West Point for the Rutgers football game. Despite grim weather and a grimmer score, I was pleasantly surprised by the spirit of most of the Cadets I encountered. I thought to myself, though, how excited can they be about becoming officers of an Army mired in political correctness, debilitated by feminism and over-reliance on mercenaries to fill the ranks, and currently squandered on dead-end missions like Iraq and Afghanistan? I’m willing to bet many of those Cadets would be far more excited if they knew they really would be defending America after they graduate.

Send the Cavalry back to the Border!