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This Chart Shows The True Scale Of Trump's New Border Deployment
President Donald Trump has ordered more than 7,000 U.S. service members to the U.S.-Mexico border as part of Operation Faithful Patriot, a fresh deployment of active-duty troops to enhance border security. On Thursday, Trump stated that those troop levels could rise to 15,000 — more personnel than currently deployed to Afghanistan.
The fresh troop deployment — triggered by somewhat absurd panic over a caravan of Central American migrants still hundreds of miles from the nearest entry point into the United States — doesn't just represent a stark contrast to deployments that currently define the Global War on Terror. According to Pentagon data, a deployment of 15,000 service members would be rivaled only by U.S. troop deployments to Japan, Germany, and South Korea.
Think about that for a second: the new border force would constitute a deployment outstripped only by countries we've occupied after World War II and our main ally against the most likely instigator of World War II, North Korea.
There are a few caveats here, of course. The data provided in the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), updated quarterly, reflects physical bodies in a given location at a given time rather than deployments as part of enduring missions like Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria. As a result, it's tricky to glean a completely accurate vision of U.S. troop deployments worldwide — which is fine, for obvious OPSEC reasons!
Still, sending this many troops to the border seems to compound a vision of this caravan as an "invading force" that requires a sizable border force to repel. Keep in mind that Trump recently told supporters that there are “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners” (read: terrorists) hiding in the caravan, a claim that has no basis in empirical fact (he even admitted as much).
Although the goal of Faithful Patriot may be to “harden our ports of entry" in border states, as Customs and Border Protection chief Kevin McAleenan recently stated, those U.S. troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border can't actually harden anything. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 prohibits military personnel from conducting law enforcement functions on U.S. soil, including physically detaining migrants.
And they can't even look across the border, as weird as that sounds.
The prospect of 15,000 troops on the border (many of them public affairs detachments for painfully obvious reasons) constitutes one of the larger modern deployments of U.S. military personnel in recent memory — for questionable reasons and little strategy contributing to a desired end state.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.
Radio transmissions to the U.S. Coast Guard are usually calls for help from boaters, but one captain got on the radio recently just to say thanks to the men and women who are currently working without pay.
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Saturday to receive the remains of four Americans killed in a suicide bombing in northern Syria.
Trump, locked in a battle with congressional Democrats that has led to a nearly month-long partial government shutdown, announced his trip via a pre-dawn tweet, saying he was going "to be with the families of 4 very special people who lost their lives in service to our Country!"
Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House prior to departure that he planned to meet the families, a duty which he said "might be the toughest thing I have to do as president."
He was greeted by military staff at Dover Air Force Base after a short flight from Joint Base Andrews, but did not speak to reporters before entering his motorcade.
Flanked by military officials, Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan filed up a ramp leading onto a military transport aircraft, where a prayer was given to honor the memory of Scott Wirtz, a civilian Department of Defense employee from St. Louis.
Trump filed down the plank and saluted while six service members clad in fatigues and white gloves carried an American flag-draped casket carrying Wirtz to a waiting gray van.
The Dover base is a traditional hub for returning the remains of American troops abroad.
The United States believes the attack that killed the Americans was the work of Islamic State militants.
Trump announced last month that he planned to speedily withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, but has since said it does not need to go quickly as he tries to ensure safety of Kurdish allies in northern Syria who are at risk of attack from neighboring Turkey.
Trump told reporters on Saturday that his Syria policy has made progress but that some work remained in destroying Islamic State targets. He defended his plans for a withdrawal.
"It's moving along very well, but when I took over it was a total mess. But you do have to ask yourself, we're killing ISIS for Russia, for Iran, for Syria, for Iraq, for a lot of other places. At some point you want to bring our people back home," he said.
In addition to Wirtz, those who died during the Wednesday attack in Manbij, Syria, were Army Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach, Florida, and Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician Shannon Kent, 35, identified as being from upstate New York, the Department of Defense said in a statement.
The Pentagon did not identify the fourth person killed, a contractor working for a private company. U.S. media identified her as Ghadir Taher, a 27-year-old employee of defense contractor Valiant Integrated Services.
(Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Writing by Steve Holland and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Leslie Adler)
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.
In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.