About Standoff Raises Concern About Guard
|February 4th, 2007||#1|
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Standoff Raises Concern About Guard info
February 4, 2007
Training moved up, and officials question safety after unit, gunmen face off on border
By Alicia A. Caldwell, Associated Press
DEL RIO — A standoff along the Mexican border between heavily armed outlaws and National Guardsmen has prompted commanders to move up training dates for handling hostage situations and lawmakers to ask why Guardsmen are prohibited from opening fire unless they are fired upon.
On Jan. 3, six to eight gunmen — possibly heading for Mexico with drug money — approached Tennessee National Guard troops at an overnight observation post on the U.S. side of the Arizona-Mexico border. The confrontation ended when American troops retreated to contact the Border Patrol and the gunmen fled into Mexico. No shots were fired.
The men were armed with automatic weapons and wearing ballistic vests when they saw the troops, split into two groups and appeared to be trying to surround them, authorities said. Before the Guardsmen retreated, one gunman came within 35 feet of the troops, according to the National Guard. The outlaws' nationality was unclear, investigators said.
Call for a stronger role
The standoff was the first known armed encounter between National Guard troops and civilians since President Bush ordered about 6,000 soldiers to the border in May to support the Border Patrol and local law enforcement. The Guard was supposed to be the "eyes and ears" for other agencies and wasn't given authority to arrest or detain illegal immigrants.
"Why would this be allowed to happen?" Arizona state Rep. Warde Nichols, a Republican, said. "Why do we have National Guard running from illegals on the border?"
Nichols said that until the rules of engagement are changed, the troops are little more than "window dressing ... to say we are doing something about border security."
"We want to untie their hands," he added. "We want to put them in a primary role."
Republican Arizona state Rep. Jerry Weiers said the rules of engagement put soldiers in a tough position.
"My real, true, honest concern here is that we don't return fire until we have been fired upon, and by then we have probably lost a life," Weiers said.
On Wednesday, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat who's running for president, said the Jan. 3 incident is evidence that more Border Patrol agents are needed.
"This incident in Arizona highlights the need for more trained Border Patrol agents along the border to conduct what should be a civilian law enforcement mission," Richardson said via e-mail.
Texas soldiers will undergo more training on what to do if they are separated from their teams or taken hostage or kidnapped.
"It mainly encompasses how to treat your captors, what to think about when you are in that position and what to do when you are being rescued," Staff Sgt. Henry Aguirre said.
The Guard had planned to run the training later this year, Aguirre said, but the standoff "increased the urgency."
Several soldiers said the Arizona confrontation worried them.
"I didn't think they were going to get that bold," said Sgt. Samuel Perez. "It's kind of been chilling that somebody is going to be that crazy."
States' rules vary
First Lt. Wayne Lee, a spokesman for the New Mexico National Guard, said soldiers "are not supposed to get into a firefight. It's not the Sunni Triangle."
Because the units are under separate control, there's no uniformity on how the soldiers are armed.
National Guard officials said the Tennessee soldiers had loaded weapons Jan. 3 and even readied their guns to fire. But Arizona officials have declined to describe whether its troops always keep their guns loaded or how they are armed, other than to say they have ammunition, bulletproof vests and Kevlar helmets.
Other border states have varying policies.
In New Mexico, soldiers working along the sparsely populated border carry unloaded M-16 rifles — each soldier carries a separate loaded clip — and don't always wear bulletproof vests. In Texas, Guard troops can keep their M-16s or 9mm Berettas loaded, and they wear bulletproof vests.
T.J. Bonner, president of the Border Patrol agents union, said he's worried that the soldiers apparently can defend themselves only "once the bullets start flying."
"It's a recipe for disaster," Bonner said.
|February 4th, 2007||#2|
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Last sentence sums it all up.
"The purpose of fighting is to win. There is no possible victory in defense. The sword is more important than the shield and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental." - John Steinbeck
|February 7th, 2007||#3|
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Who in there right mind is going to take these jobs? The last two border agents where arrested for shooting a drug dealer in the and then when there suppervisor's did not report the shooting the agents went to prison. The last I heard one of them woke up being beatin in the middle of the night and now has to stay in solitary. Meanwhile this drug dealer was caught again with large amount of drugs and again was let go. He is sueing the government for 5 million dollars. And our prosecuters went over the border to find this guy to bring him back for medical treatment. What a freaking joke George Bush's policies are at time's. I just don't understand this President anymore.
|February 7th, 2007||#4|
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Please note that 98% of what I say is my opinion and/or my "version" of the facts. Most of what I say is rumor with little to no evidence to back it up, just something I picked up somewhere.
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