National Guard on border a disgrace

There is a reason why Texas’ Republican Gov. Rick Perry wants to deploy the National Guard on our southern border in Texas, rather than simply asking the federal government to increase the personnel who serve with the Border Patrol.

There is a reason as to why former Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo once characterized any potential Guard deployment to our border with Mexico, when he said, “We train National Guard all over the country, and there is no reason why we shouldn’t be conducting that training on our borders,’’ despite the fact that this “training’’ would include unplanned live-fire exercises with Mexican coyotes, and drug smugglers.

Soldiers in the regular Army receive more benefits (Veterans Administration housing, and business loans, a beefed-up GI Bill college program, as well as family medical care, etc.) than either Reserve component or National Guard troops.

Deploying Guard units would enable Rick Perry to send America’s citizen soldiers into harm’s way, for two-week tours, without having to honor these dedicated warriors with all of those benefits Congress has seen fit to bestow upon those who serve their nation full time.

Soldiers serving in the Reserve and National Guard must be on active duty for 90-plus days to be considered for those benefits, which active-duty soldiers receive as a matter of course.

The Rickster’s planned deployment would not give these guardsmen the 90-plus days they would need to qualify for these active-duty benefits.

In other words, Rick Perry plans to endanger the lives of those men and women who have volunteered for the Guard by placing them into the line of fire, without actually owning up to the dangerous service they would be asked to perform.

The governor’s plan is, therefore, shameful, and a complete disgrace.

Del Wasso
Freeport, Ill.

From the July 30-Aug. 5, 2014, issue

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