Militarize Our Border? O'Reilly, Here's Your Plan
Bill O’Reilly almost nightly calls for the militarization of our southern border, but he never has any guests to explain how this could be done. So, Bill, since I agree with you, here is a rudimentary plan worked out by someone with a working knowledge of both our military capabilities and the geographical area in question. Mind you, I have no information regarding military training budgets, but as we withdraw from large-scale overseas operations, our leadership should consider applying funds no longer needed for those to the mission of defending our currently defenseless southern border.
I have driven the border from San Diego to Brownsville, even much of the unpaved segments of it in my Jeep, and I can tell you two things: it’s huge in terms of ground coverage, and there are significant segments of it where you can drive for endless miles without any evidence of an American policing authority. My visits to those military facilities near our southern border, as well as to those positioned but a few hundred miles north of that boundary, always had me mentally gaming the situation as to where and how our military could best be employed to assist our Border Patrol in enforcing our laws, so I’m not new to this.
Our recent combat experiences have been in desert environments and a cursory look at the hottest of hot spots around the globe reveals that the likelihood of that continuing is substantial. That being the reality, why do we not focus on training our troops in the vast desert environments that extend north from our border with Mexico – those that offer the major pathways illegals follow north to our metropolitan areas?
We have but two significant Army posts on this border: Fort Bliss, in El Paso, which is huge and is home to a number of combat arms units, and Fort Huachuca, a much smaller Army intelligence base southeast of Tucson. Fort Bliss is home to the First Armored Division, which has multiple brigades, battalions, and squadrons which could be rotated in and out of close border operational areas from El Paso west to the Arizona-New Mexico line just east of Douglas, Arizona, and deployed to the east to Sanderson, Texas, just east of the Big Bend.
From the Arizona-New Mexico line west to Nogales, the duty should fall upon the more distant 4th Infantry Division based at Fort Carson, CO which could forward-stage its units at Fort Huachuca. While Fort Carson is 850 miles north, that distance is almost completely interstate highways, and Huachuca’s adjacent Libby Army Airfield has 12,000-foot runways to accommodate our largest air transports.
From Nogales westward, the border area could be the operational area of the First Marine Division, headquartered at Camp Pendleton just a few miles north of the border in coastal California. The temporary bases for Marine battalions rotating in and out of Pendleton could be Marine Corps Air Station Yuma or the much roomier Yuma Army Proving Ground just a few miles north, where Laguna Army Airfield can accommodate C-130s and, because Google Satellite shows a C-17 on the apron, apparently that larger aircraft as well. MCAS Yuma has 13,000-foot runways that can handle the largest air transports. There are also old abandoned WWII Army airfields at Dateland, Ajo, and Gila Bend that could be used for staging smaller unit operations. Farther east is Marana Field, a more active Air National Guard base.
Getting back east, from Sanderson, Texas, just east of the Big Bend, to Rio Grande City could be the operational area of the First Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, some three hundred-plus miles to the north. The only border-situated active military facility between El Paso and Brownsville is Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, which is actually well-sited for a border protection base of operations. There’s enough open land east of the active runways to accommodate battalion-sized bivouacs of the 1st Cav for rotational tours of operations in that South Texas brush land, which, by the way, looks much like Mid-Eastern riverine environments where most of the populace of those regions congregates. Downriver from Del Rio is the old Laredo AFB site, which is now commercialized but still contains open land suitable for bivouacking troops and vehicles. And anchoring the eastern end of this region is old Moore AFB, just north of Edinburgh, TX, which is now under the control of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, also with sufficient land for troop bivouacs and what appear to be runways sufficient to handle C-130 transports.
Now comes the rub: liberals will scream to high heaven that our federal military cannot be used to police law violators on American soil, a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. However, troops in federal service have sworn an oath to protect this nation from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Consider if you will that some of those poised on the south side of the U.S.-Mexican border intent on illegal entry into this country, in violation of clearly promulgated immigration laws, are foreign enemies determined to cross that border, subject to military capture and incarceration. Whether or not our military has legal standing to determine illegal border crossers to search for terrorists embedded within their masses is a legal issue that will no doubt rise to the level of our Supreme Court.
A thought to keep in mind is that much of the border land I’m referring to is ranchland, much of it in the same families for decades. My wife’s extended family once held almost two hundred thousand acres right smack in the middle of the area being discussed, so we are sensitive to the ownership rights of the families there now. And as a firm admirer of those brave men and women who pioneered those lands, I believe we should respect their proud heritage. The federal government should negotiate generous leasing agreements with these ranchers and other landowners to permit military operations on their properties, with reparations for any damages.
Lastly, I apologize to the troops involved for suggesting that they be separated from their loved ones in peacetime for deployment to our lawless border. The truth is that this is not peacetime; America is under continual assault from the south by the Mid-East fanatics – those who would do us great harm, yet who easily slide through in the midst of that illegal migratory flood. Were I a serving soldier once again, I would see my duty of enforcing my nation’s borders as at least as relevant a goal as pursuing Afghan religious fanatics, the latter representing a lesser direct threat to my family’s life than do those terrorists embedded in the uncontrolled masses of illegal immigrants.
An additional issue will be the increased troop presence in the civilian community and the daily inconveniences their movements may cause. All I can say to that is that the Germans and South Koreans have put up with it for decades. If Americans can’t tolerate the active presence of our own troops defending us, then shame be upon them; it’s better to have troops than terrorists and deadly smugglers of people and drugs.
And that, folks, is my O’Reilly Plan to militarize the border.