Troops’ mis­sion on the border is un­clear

San Antonio Express-News (Sunday) - - Front Page - By Sig Chris­ten­son STAFF WRITER

The Pen­tagon has been land­ing trans­port planes in Texas for al­most a week, part of a de­ploy­ment of as many as 15,000 ac­tive-duty troops to the border on a mis­sion that crit­ics say has less to do with na­tional se­cu­rity than its im­pact on midterm elec­tions.

Op­er­a­tion Faith­ful Pa­triot erupted as a par­ti­san flashpoint af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump an­nounced his in­ten­tion to send sol­diers and equip­ment to the border to pre­vent sev­eral thou­sand im­pov­er­ished Cen­tral Amer­i­cans from en­ter­ing the coun­try.

In tweets and at ral­lies, Trump has said with­out ev­i­dence that a car­a­van of men, women and chil­dren mak­ing its way on foot through Mex­ico con­tained “some very bad thugs and gang mem­bers,” uniden­ti­fied Mid­dle Eastern­ers and “some very tough fighters,” and has sug­gested they would try to storm the border by force.

Sev­eral for­mer mil­i­tary and in­tel­li­gence lead­ers scoffed at the pur­ported threat.

The troops be­ing de­ployed have no mil­i­tary ob­jec­tive, said Michael Hay­den, a re­tired Air Force gen­eral who was CIA di­rec­tor un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush.

“This rep­re­sents se­cu­rity the­ater and is not based upon any con­crete re­quest made by any­one,” said Hay­den, who also led the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency and once com­manded the Air In­tel­li­gence Agency here.

A U.S. Cus­toms and Border Pro­tec­tion agent speaks with a Cuban asy­lum­seeker as newly ar­rived troops watch at Hi­dalgo’s in­ter­na­tional bridge with Mex­ico.

Army and Cus­toms and Border Pro­tec­tion per­son­nel pre­pare to in­stall pro­tec­tive wire at the in­ter­na­tional bridge in Hi­dalgo. At one point, Trump sug­gested the GIs would be al­lowed to shoot any­one who threw rocks at them, but he later walked back that com­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.