Monday, May 15, 2006

On a related note

Okay, so now we're militarizing the border. This should please anyone who was freaked out by the immigration marches, and maybe boost the Decider's poll numbers a bit. I guess he has to worry about how this immigration "issue" effects his party. I actually prefered his old stance on immigration, which was rational and humane. But, people don't want rational and humane, I guess.

I guess my first problem with this idea is that it's just a collosal waste of money and manpower. It might please l'électorat conservateur, but probably won't. They want a wall, and generally believe that the President is doing too little too late since 9/11 happened nearly five years ago, and by now, millions of Mexican terrorists are in the coutnry, planning to take over America one landscaping job at a time, and the sky is falling and they want their mommies!! The pandering won't stop their panic attacks. Nothing will, short of a police state. And without a draft, we can't afford to use the guard to solve every problem we have.

My second problem with the idea is that it isn't clear why we need a military buildup on the border of a country that we aren't going to war with in the first place. The problem with having a war on terror is just this- you have to be prepared for a threat from every country on earth. So, we have to take a tough stance against Mexico for Christ's sake. But, what about the border up here? Anyone forgotten about Canada? And, who's to say that Mexicans won't save up for the flight to Toronto and then simply walk across this largely undefended border? Scary, eh?

My third problem is that I don't like the idea of the military being used to enforce domestic law. It should be obvious why this is a bad idea, but sadly, it isn't for most people. When the military takes over domestic law enforcement in a territory, that territory falls under martial law. In this case, the territory in question is just the border, but does this include all of the American border towns? Do they now come under military law? Outsourcing police matters to the military is problematic for just this reason. And, at this time in our history, the distinction between military and police matters should be more strongly maintained, not weakened.

The antithesis of fear isn't security- it's reason. And this just isn't reasonable. I don't honestly think we're going to wind up with martial law- the administration is too incompetent for that. But a lot of things have happened that I didn't expect.

Matt Yglesias:
"One thing the Bush administration says it can do with this meta-data is to start tapping your calls and listening in, without getting a warrant from anyone. Having listened in on your calls, the administration asserts that if it doesn't like what it hears, it has the authority to detain you indefinitely without trial or charges, torture you until you confess or implicate others, extradite you to a Third World country to be tortured, ship you to a secret prison facility in Eastern Europe, or all of the above. If, having kidnapped and tortured you, the administration determines you were innocent after all, you'll be dumped without papers somewhere in Albania left to fend for yourself. Once you start in with this business, it's a widening cycle of lawlessness with almost endless possibilities for abuse."

But, at least, it'll be home-grown abuse, right?


The Pagan Temple said...

Okay, here's the reason I, for one, don't have a problem with the military on the border. To start out with, I would dearly love to see the day all American troops are no longer engaged in foreign countries. Including not only Iraq and Afghanistan,but for that matter, Japan, Korea, and Europe-anywhere, really. I want them all to come home.

At the same time, the U.S. needs to maintain a large, well trained military, for obvious reasons.

Now, consider that almost all countries, with the exception of European Union countries and maybe Canada, uses their militaies to control their borders, and I fail to see what the big deal is.

If we have to have a large, well trianed and well funded military, makes sesne to put them to work somehow for the country. Can't very well station them on the moon (though I think there are some who would like that).

I would prefer the see our military used to guard our borders at home than to be used as they are now, as an extension and vanguard of American coca-colanization.

Rufus said...

I can't think of any militarized borders off hand that aren't in places like Kashmir or the West Bank. But, I haven't researched it.

I guess it would be nice to have the troops home, although I feel like it would be abandonning Iraq to chaos. I just can't imagine though that a soldier wouldn't be demoralized by this job. I mean, fighting insurgents is pretty depressing too, but compare that to basically fighting off the poor and unarmed.

Actually, you know, I can live with the wall, if it's what people are so dead-set on having. But, I am still unconvinced that we're not using the military and federal agencies much more than we need to these days, and it makes me nervous.

The Pagan Temple said...

Shouldn't be that big a deal. Once the situation is finally under control, if it ever is, then we can pressure Mexico to make needed reforms so they can actually have something they've never had-A country with actual economic opportunity for all. Think about it, if the Mexicans are such great hard workers,as rumor has it, then what's stopping them from building Mexico. Mexico City should be the Paris of the Western Hemisphere.

As for our soldiers being stationed there, that would be a win win. They are in their home country, in what would eventually be a secure setting, perfroming a vital function in a way their lives are not at risk.

And it would be good for the economy of the American Southwest. One thing about American sodiers-when they are on weekend leave, they love to go out and spend money.

Rufus said...

Well, people do forget that Mexico's economy has improved since Fox came in. The guest worker program should pump cash into Mexico, as well as being good for American businesses, as ugly as that might be.

And I'm glad that the soldiers will help the local economy. And I do appreciate your optimism. Really I do.

But, I'm still not happy with the idea of the military taking over domestic police functions. I suppose next we can send them after drug growers, since that's a war as well. Or, perhaps pimps, or neglegent parents. Or legal immigrants in Texas. It could be because I live on the other dangerous border, but the idea of the military hanging around American towns checking people's papers seems more than a bit ominous to me.

I'm as skeptical as anyone of those people who cry "police state" every time anyone gets arrested. But, I'm also skeptical of the idea that there's nothing disconcerting about tapping citizen's phones, or having secret arrests without trials, or militarizing American towns. Again, I think it looks a lot different from up here. But, the idea of having to cross through a militarized zone every time I want to go to work gives me the creeps. I understand that we're at war. But, I don't like the idea that we're at war with everyone.

The Pagan Temple said...

I think you are reading way too much into it. The people manning the checkpoints will be the same people as always, the military is just going to be there for support, and will be concentrated on those areas of the border where people are crossing illegally. After all, who is going to try to sneak across the border at a known checkpoint.

The towns aren't going to be militarized either, they aren't going to be enforcing local or state laws. That's not what they are there for. They won't have the authority for that. In fact, I would think that would be the last thing they would want themselves.

All that other stuff about tapping phones is a different issue all together.

Rufus said...

Well, maybe you're right. We'll see how it turns out.