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Trump: Troops On The Border Should Treat Migrant Rocks Like A Rifle
President Trump said troops deployed to the southern border should respond to any migrants throwing rocks at them as if they were being shot at, contradicting the rules of engagement they will be operating under.
The issue came up on Thursday when a reporter asked Trump if any of the troops being sent to the border might open fire on asylum seekers, who are fleeing Central America.
“I hope not,” the president replied. “It’s the military. I hope there won’t be that, but I will tell you this: Anybody throwing stones, rocks, like they did to Mexico – the Mexican military, Mexican police – where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico, we will consider that a firearm – because there’s not much difference when you get hit in the face with a rock."
“We will consider that the maximum that we can consider that, because they’re throwing rocks viciously and violently,” Trump said in response to another reporter. “You saw that three days ago – really hurting the military. We’re not going to put up with that. They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back. We’re going to consider it – I told them: Consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexico military and police, I said: Consider it a rifle.”
Trump has said up to 15,000 U.S. troops could ultimately deploy to the U.S./Mexico border to stop caravans of refugees, which he claimed had broken into Mexico by force. U.S. Northern Command has identified 7,000 active-duty troops for border security duty and another 2,000 National Guardsmen are already there.
U.S. military officials were unable to elaborate on the president’s comments. Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said he had no information about the rules of engagement U.S. troops on the border will follow; however, he pointed out that not all of the troops will be armed.
However, documents published by Newsweek from U.S. Army North show troops will be operating under the Standing Rules For The Use Of Force, which allows for troops to respond in self-defense in a proportional manner.
Air Force Capt. Lauren Hill, a spokeswoman for NORTHCOM, referred questions about the rules of engagement to the Pentagon.
“Our standard rules of force apply here,” Hill told Task & Purpose. “As with anything, deadly force is authorized in self-defense for those faced with an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm.”
On Tuesday Task & Purpose asked Air Force Gen. General Terrence John O'Shaughnessy, head of NORTHCOM, if the rules of engagement allow U.S. troops to shoot asylum seekers under certain circumstances.
“Let me be clear here,” O'Shaughnessy replied. “The U.S. military personnel that are going have very clear guidance that we've given them: It's the standard rules for the use of force. It's similar to if we were going to any location within the United States, we have these rules in place for a reason.
“It allows us to have a very standardized set that applies to multiple situations. Our forces are trained to that. We are the most disciplined force in the world, from a military perspective. Secretary Mattis has made it very clear that we are able to train; we are able to ensure that every airman, soldier, sailor, and Marine going there fully understands the rules for the use of force.
“We are, in fact, as an example, setting up training programs that'll be all the way from a large scale mass training that will then go down to unit training. And then individual training where they'll go through vignettes and operational consideration, that they will have that level of understanding exactly what it is to be expected of them.
“Then in addition that, we're working with CBP [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] to have training venues that will work with CBP to ensure that we fully understand each other's rules for the use of force … to make sure that we are compatible in our operations, together.”
GENEVA/DUBAI (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said he was prepared to take military action to stop Tehran from getting a nuclear bomb but left open whether he would back the use of force to protect Gulf oil supplies that Washington fears may be under threat by Iran.
Worries about a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since attacks last week on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz shipping lane at the entrance to the Gulf. Washington blamed long-time foe Iran for the incidents.
Tehran denies responsibility but the attacks, and similar ones in May, have further soured relations that have plummeted since Trump pulled the United States out of a landmark international nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018.
Trump has restored and extended U.S. economic sanctions on Iran. That has forced countries around the world to boycott Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.
But in an interview with Time magazine, Trump, striking a different tone from some Republican lawmakers who have urged a military approach to Iran, said last week's tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman had only a "very minor" impact so far.
Asked if he would consider military action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons or to ensure the free flow of oil through the Gulf, Trump said: "I would certainly go over nuclear weapons and I would keep the other a question mark."
Minnesota Democratic Party staffer under fire for calling USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul a 'murder boat'
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday he is appalled by a state DFL Party staff member's tweet referring to the recently-launched USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul as a "murder boat."
"Certainly, the disrespect shown is beyond the pale," said Walz, who served in the Army National Guard.
William Davis, who has been the DFL Party's research director and deputy communications director, made the controversial comment in response to a tweet about the launch of a new Navy combat ship in Wisconsin: "But actually, I think it's gross they're using the name of our fine cities for a murder boat," Davis wrote on Twitter over the weekend.
'We are there to deter aggression' — Pompeo addressed CENTCOM on Iran mere moments before Shanahan announced his departure
TAMPA — Minutes before the Acting Secretary of Defense withdrew Tuesday from his confirmation process, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at MacDill Air Force Base about the need to coordinate "diplomatic and defense efforts'' to address rising tensions with Iran.
Pompeo, who arrived in Tampa on Monday, met with Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. and Army Gen. Richard Clarke, commanders of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command respectively, to align the Government's efforts in the Middle East, according to Central Command.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The trial of Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher officially kicked off on Tuesday with the completion of jury selection, opening statements, and witness testimony indicating that drinking alcohol on the front lines of Mosul, Iraq in 2017 seemed to be a common occurrence for members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon.
Government prosecutors characterized Gallagher as a knife-wielding murderer who not only killed a wounded ISIS fighter but shot indiscriminately at innocent civilians, while the defense argued that those allegations were falsehoods spread by Gallagher's angry subordinates, with attorney Tim Parlatore telling the jury that "this trial is not about murder. It's about mutiny."
President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will "not to go forward with his confirmation process."
Trump said that Army Secretary Mark Esper will now serve as acting defense secretary.