Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has proposed that, instead of projected troop withdrawals by 2014, the United States should, instead, consider establishing permanent air bases in Afghanistan. Depending on one’s viewpoint, at first glance this idea is either quite good or damned stupid.
I think it damned stupid.
Afghanistan is, historically, an impossible place to “conquer.” and that’s pretty much what bases there would represent. “Conquer?” Afghanistan doesn’t even make for good friends. Government corruption is a significant problem and local acceptance of Westerners is tepid at best. Despite the cruelty of and distaste for the Taliban, Afghani citizens are not wont to host a permanent foreign military presence.
The cost of building and maintaining permanent facilities in an area as geographically, politically and socially desolate as Afghanistan would be astronomical, even by Department of Defense standards. Why, irrigation for the golf course alone would cost millions. And there WILL be a golf course.
Rather than erecting MORE military bases outside the United States, it would make more sense to put them IN the United States where threats are real and increasing. How about along the border with Mexico?
The debate on what should be done with and about illegals already in the country is growing in intensity and significance. The costs in money, resources and citizen integrity are amassing exponentially. The federal government has too long ignored the societal impact of a porous national border. Things can and should be done NOW to keep that problem from getting worse.
If a water pipe bursts in a home, cleanup isn’t possible until the main valve is shut off. It’s simple common sense to stop the source of the problem before effective resolution to the problem’s impact can be administered. With illegal immigration, the main valve is Mexico and the pipes from there into the United States.
Many U.S. military installations around the world have outlived their original intentions and no longer serve either our country or the host nations. Modern technologies and shifting political alliances have altered both the need and priorities of army posts and air force and naval bases in Japan, Korea, Germany, Turkey and elsewhere. In the meantime, “invasions” across our own borders have been met with confusing nonchalance by our own government.
Why can’t we build combat support posts and bases along the United States – Mexico border to protect our own citizenry from this invasion? From new and/or expanded facilities in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, U.S. troops would patrol (by land and air) the border and engage anyone trying to cross illegally.
The Posse Comitatas Act would not negate these operations because this would not be a law enforcement endeavor. The word “illegal” may suggest otherwise, but that’s no more than semantics. This is a protection of our national border. If one wants to argue semantics, start with the word “defense” in “Department of Defense.”
Constructing or expanding U.S. military facilities in the United States would not only save billions of dollars that are now going to foreign countries for leases, rent, contracts and other forms of compensation, but it would channel that money back into the American economy. Add to this the influx of troops and families into these areas and the billions of dollars that would infuse and you have a true stimulus program.
More importantly, it would remove our troops from serving needlessly in hostile environments and allowing them to actually defend their own country.
And what do you suppose would be the effect on “unauthorized border crossings?” A pair of border control agents in an SUV aren’t nearly as scary as a Blackhawk helicopter screaming overhead or a couple of Humvees mounted with MK19 40mm machine guns.
It’s time we started looking more at protecting ourselves closer to home and less about sacrificing lives, dollars and resources elsewhere on nation-building, regime change and the vague hopes of questionable alliances.