Tag Archives: Arnold Schwazenegger

From Al-Anbar to San Ysidro: Schwarzenegger OKs Guard Deployment

Arnold Schwarzenegger has okayed the deployment of California National Guard Troops.  Under the rights bestowed upon him by Darrel Issa the state and federal Constitutions, Schwarzenegger had the authority to approve the deployment within the state.  (Note that the states do not have authority to block deployment overseas due to the Montgomery Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1987.  See “PERPICH v. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 496 U.S. 334 (1990)”.)

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has scheduled a press conference for 2 p.m. to announce that he has reached an agreement with the federal government to deploy California National Guard troops on the Mexican border, according to a source in the administration.

Details of the agreement were not available. But at a state Senate hearing on Wednesday, the guard’s Major Gen. William Wade said up to 1,000 state troops would be deployed in a plan that would take effect in the middle of July and run through 2008.
Bush said he wants the troops to provide construction, surveillance and intelligence support until the federal government can fund, hire and train 6,000 additional Border Patrol agents. (SacBee 6/1/06)

So, the Governor has a chance to buck the President, but chooses not to.  This National Guard at the border is quite simply a bad idea, and it’s a bad idea on many levels.  First of all, the National Guard is already over stretched.  These people signed up for “One weekend a month, and two weeks per year.”  Instead they are getting “24 months on, followed by 24 months off.”  Um, well, that’s terrific.  We are abusing the National Guard and some of the governors should stand up to this.  If Bush wants to have his wars he needs regular Army, not National Guard.  If he wants to have a draft, let’s see him get that through the Congress, rather than bypassing any real decisionmaking.  All of America should be sacrificing equally for the War, not just the poor.  The children of the rich and the poor should be serving in this War equally. 

The National Guard does not even get the same benefits as the regular Army:

JUDY WOODRUFF: Currently, there are more than 440,000 civilian soldiers serving part-time in the Army and Air National Guard.

Guardsmen and women usually drill one weekend a month and two weeks a year under the command of state governors.  But during war or emergencies, the president can press them into federal service. Most deployments are limited to 24 months.

When on active duty, Guard members get paid the same as regular forces and are eligible for pensions, but only receive limited benefits. The Pentagon has resisted efforts by Guard leaders and governors to include a Guard general as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (NewsHour with Jim Lehrer 5/17/06)

So, they don’t even get typical benefits, and are forced away from their civilian jobs for two years.  It’s hard on the economy because employers are legally bound to maintain a job for them while they are out.  It’s hard on the families, as they weren’t expecting to be gone for two years at a time. 
And then we also must bring up the question of who will be our emergency force?  You know, when a real emergency hits?  Like…say…a earthquake?  Will we be fully equipped to respond to such a natural disaster?

In addition to overseas combat assignments, the National Guard is often called to respond to natural disasters at home. This week, the Massachusetts and New Hampshire governors dispatched their National Guards to help respond to record flooding.

In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, 50,000 Guard troops from across the nation were deployed to the ravaged Gulf Coast, while portions of the Louisiana and Mississippi National Guard were on duty in Iraq. (NewsHour with Jim Lehrer 5/17/06)

And finally, we have to consider whether we think it’s a particularly good idea to be stationing military personnel within our state.  It’s just one more step to the police state that the Bush Administration has been building towards.  Clearly Schwarzenegger is acting as an enabler.  We need a Governor who will truly consider the costs of these actions with a critical eye for the state.