Friday, May 12, 2006

Rove involved in getting troops on Mexican border?

a busy guy it seems. Almost like he's trying to pack a lot of stuff into his schedule before he goes on a long vacation or something. Consider this story.

"Pentagon Exploring Border Control Patrols":
The Pentagon is looking at ways the military can help provide more security along the U.S. southern border, defense officials said Thursday, once again drawing the nation's armed forces into a politically sensitive domestic role.

Paul McHale, the assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense, asked officials this week to come up with options for the use of military resources and troops _ particularly the National Guard _ along the border with Mexico, according to defense officials familiar with the discussions. The officials, who requested anonymity because the matter has not been made public, said there are no details yet on a defense strategy.

The request comes as some Southern lawmakers met this week with White House strategist Karl Rove for a discussion that included making greater use of National Guard troops to shore up border control. Congress is poised to pass legislation this month that would call for additional border security, a new guest worker program and provisions opening the way to eventual citizenship for many of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.

"The Texas delegation is very concerned about the border and are pushing urgency," said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, who joined other Texas Republicans in a meeting with Rove this week. He said Rove was "very forthright" about border projects that Homeland Security is starting up, its current projects and what the needs are.

Rep. Ken Marchant, R-Texas, who also attended the meeting, said the lawmakers left "very encouraged." (emphasis added)
I'm sure they were since Rove, the go to guy on Homeland Security, apparently, knows how important the issue is for the base...and if the base wants it, heck, the military will sure as heck go along. The sense you get from the article is that Rove might have put the squeeze on the civilian homeland defense secretary to look into this. And that the anonymous "officials" cited may not be too impressed.

And note that it's not just National Guard they're talking here. The civilian assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense asked the military to look into "military resources and troops, particularly the National Guard" for the Mexican border. Why would this be of significance? Recall the debate during the aftermath of hurricane Katrina about federalizing the National Guard:
In the aftermath of the hurricane, Bush asked Pentagon officials to review ways to give the military a bigger role in responding to major disasters. But officials are somewhat reluctant to make major changes, leery of the image of armed military troops patrolling U.S. cities.
Does the immigration issue warrant the use of military assets on the border at this time? Or is this just playing politics with military resources?