Wednesday June 19, 2013
Kulongoski Hits Plan to Send Guard to Mexican BorderBy BRAD CAIN Associated Press Writer
(SALEM) - Gov. Ted Kulongoski is taking a dim view of President Bush's plan to deploy National Guard troops to the Mexican border, saying it's a political gesture that will do little to resolve immigration issues.
"Within the conservative wing of the Republican Party, which this president is trying to appease, it may be good politics. But it is lousy policy," Kulongoski said in an interview Monday.
Kulongoski and Brig. Gen. Mike Caldwell, deputy director of the Oregon Guard, also said federal officials haven't given them any indication of how many Oregon troops might be deployed to the border.
"No one has said a word to us," the Democratic governor said.
Kulongoski also worries about being caught shorthanded if Oregon has a severe fire season this summer. He said the Bush plan comes just as the state is getting ready for a deployment of Oregon Guard troops to Afghanistan next week.
"Here I'm going to have 900 of my guard troops being sent to Afghanistan, and I've got the fire season coming up," Kulongoski says. "I need our remaining National Guard soldiers to stay in Oregon to protect our forests."
Aside from that concern, Kulongoski says sending guardsmen to help patrol the border is a poor use of resources.
"They are soldiers; they are warriors," Kulongoski said. "They signed up to go and look for Osama Bin Laden, to fight the war on terror. Now they are being told they are going to have to go and sit on the border of Mexico."
Caldwell said the Oregon Guard, as in other states, has been stretched thin by repeated deployment of troops to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Since the war in Iraq began more than 4,000 Oregon guardsmen have been sent to the Middle East, with some soldiers serving multiple deployments, Caldwell said.
"Every major unit in this state has been called up for the global war on terror," he says. "Our guard is as stretched thin as it has been since World War II."
At the same time, Caldwell said Oregon guardsmen will be ready to respond to the call if they are sent to the Mexican border.
"The mission will be accomplished, but it will continue to stress our organization," he said.
While he was an early supporter of President Bush's decision to invade Iraq, Kulongoski has questioned the conduct of the war in the past year or so and has said Bush should provide the American public with timetable for bringing home the troops.
Kulongoski also said Bush's plan to use guardsmen at the Mexican border does little to promote U.S. interests.
"The reason you militarize a border is that the people on the other side are your enemy. I don't think that Mexico is our enemy. This is bad for the national defense," he said.
Articles for May 14, 2006 | Articles for May 15, 2006 | Articles for May 16, 2006
Sign Up Now!
|Contact: email@example.com | Copyright © 2013 Salem-News.com | news tips & press releases: firstname.lastname@example.org.|