President George W. Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff are the clown show. Bush says he is sending the National Guard to guard the U.S.-Mexico border. Chertoff says that that is a really stupid idea:
TPMmuckraker May 16, 2006 08:35 AM: Chertoff: National Guard on the Border Would Be "Horribly Over-Expensive and Very Difficult" By Justin Rood - May 16, 2006, 8:35 AM: On the occasion of President Bush's announcement he will post the National Guard along the southern U.S. border, CQ's Patrick Yoest finds this gem -- DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff pooh-poohing the idea less than six months earlier on the O'Reilly Factor:
"Why don't you put the National Guard on the border to back up the border patrol and stop the bleeding, and then start to increase the Border Patrol, the high-tech and all of that?" 'Reilly asked. . . .
"Well, the National Guard is really, first of all, not trained for that mission," Chertoff told O'Reilly. "I mean, the fact of the matter is the border is a special place. There are special challenges that are faced there."
Chertoff added that that it would take a huge amount of National Guard troops, that they would need new training. But couldn't the National Guard pull it off, O'Reilly asked? "I think it would be a horribly over-expensive and very difficult way to manage this problem," Chertoff said. "Unless you would be prepared to leave those people in the National Guard day and night for month after month after month, you would eventually have to come to grips with the challenge in a more comprehensive way."
You couldn't make this stuff up.
Nor could you make this up:
TPMmuckraker May 16, 2006 03:10 PM: Is Border Plan Solid? Just Ask The Officials By Justin Rood - May 16, 2006, 3:10 PM: Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and a clutch of top officials gave a press briefing today on President Bush's new National Guard-infused border security program. Hilarity ensues:
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, if I've understood everything I've heard, you don't yet know what missions the 6,000 National Guardsmen will do, you don't know who is going to pay for them, you don't know what the rules of engagement will be for them, you don't know what size units there will be or how long -- whether they'll be two-week or six-month deployments, and you don't really know exactly which equipment they're going to have. So my question is, how long have you been working on this?
SECRETARY CHERTOFF: I guess that's what they call a loaded question. And I guess you haven't understood what we've said, so I'm going to try to make it really clear. . .
That's a nice strong opener for his response. But it's downhill from there:
SECRETARY CHERTOFF: [I]t is true that, sitting here right now, I do not have in my head every single mission set. . .
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense Paul McHale jumps in to help:
ASSISTANT SECRETARY McHALE: . . . We don't know how many helicopters we're going to put up, but we know to a near certainty that we'll have helicopters. . . We don't know where we will place censors to detect illegal movement, but it's almost a certainty that we will have censors. . . We don't know how many barriers or roads we're going to build, but clearly, we will be putting new barriers in place, and clearly, we will be building new roads . . . So your question, sir, is a fair one.
The reporter tries again:
QUESTION: What I'm really trying to understand, is this a well-thought-out plan, or is it something that's just been --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY McHALE: Yes, sir, it is.
SECRETARY CHERTOFF: in quite exquisite detail. . .
GENERAL BLUM: This is clearly a well-thought-out plan[.]
Plus there's the bonus hijinx from the transcriber: the assumption that the Bush administration is deploying "censors" rather than "sensers" to the U.S.-Mexico border ices the cake.