The Obama administration continues to follow the Bush 43 administration's path on national security issues, to the chagrin of progressive defense analysts. There's three recent news events that seem to illustrate this. First there's the issue of putting US troops in Poland along with a Patriot air defense unit that isn't really protecting anything.
A contingent of U.S. soldiers has accompanied the air-defense system to an installation at Morag, which stands 37 miles from the Kaliningrad region in Russia. The soldiers are expected to provide training to Polish military personnel on using the Patriot system.
The battery is expected to remain in Poland for one-month periods four times per year, along with about 150 U.S. soldiers, Reuters reported.
Deployments would continue for two years, AP reported.
What an incredibly dumb deal. I'm not so worried about the Russian government attitude against this capability, but rather that the Obama administration thinks it has to honor this commitment to the Polish government. It's a bribe to make them feel better about hosting a theater missile defense system eight years from now. Does this really make sense? and talking about making little sense, how about sending 1200 National Guardsmen to the south border?
Homeland Security officials said that the troops would provide support to law enforcement officers already working along the border by helping observe and monitor traffic between official crossing points, and would help analyze trafficking patterns in hopes of intercepting illegal drug shipments. They performed similar tasks in an earlier deployment along the border from 2006 to 2008, when they also assisted with road and fence construction. The troops have not been involved directly in intercepting border crossers.
I don't agree with Pat Lang's concerns that there are going to be issues with border interceptions and posse comitatus - as the NYT article noted, the US government did this before. I'm betting the legal issues have been worked out. But how much good will 1200 troops do on a 2000 mile border? Mind you, I don't agree with Sen. John McCain's request for 6000 troops and the Republican's demand for $2 billion in funds to pay for it. The point ought to be made that adding National Guard troops to the border for a temporary period didn't solve the problem before - it's not going to do it now either.
Today's Washington Post shows VP Joe Biden promising that the drawdown in Iraq will continue - but stop at 50,000 "advisors," while ramp-ups of US civilian assistance will continue. I'm unsure how this is a change from the Bush 43 strategy, as bad as that was. And Afghanistan continues to be a mess where Obama wants to dig in deeper, instead of critically assessing whether the increased use of US combat forces against an Afghani insurgency that controls large amounts of the country is really going to work. Michael Cohen asks, where's the change?
The US government keep using band-aids to incrementally address systemic problems, and then we're surprised that the band-aids didn't fix them permanently. Even worse, is there no one in the Obama administration's National Security Council that can't figure this out? "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results." Figure it out, people.
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