President Obama is considering sending American troops to the border with Mexico in an effort to act before Congress does. Sending National Guardsmen, even in support of the US Border Patrol, is risky. If history is any legend, it could be disastrous for a young administration fighting for its political future.
Republican and sometimes moderate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called on the president to do more.
"I appreciate the 1200 (troops) and the $500 million but its simply not enough," said the former GOP president candidate.
In calling for 6000 troops McCain said the border situation had "greatly deteriorated."
President Woodrow Wilson also sent US troops to the Mexican border about a hundred years ago and their mission ended in utter failure. Granted they actually invaded Mexico but they still failed in their mission to control what the United States considered the "bad guys" at a time of international tensions.
It was 1916 when President Wilson called upon General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, armed with 15,000 militia or National Guardsmen to make haste and protect the US-Mexican border in Texas. From there Pershing would take nearly 5,000 Federal troops and cross into Mexico in search of the bandit Pancho Villa.
Villa had made horrendous incursions into the United States and along with murderous raids on Americans in Mexico, tried to force the Wilson government to back him for President of our southern neighbor. Wilson's administration however decided to back the new Carranza government. Carranza agreed to let Pershing take American troops into Mexico but only if they did not fire upon his own Federal troops. This proved to be a disaster since some of them were more loyal to Villa than to Carranza.
At one point US troops mistakenly engaged the Mexican army in an incident which became known as the Carrizal Affair. Wilson was forced to call up another 75,000 guardsmen for deployment to the border as it seemed as if war with Mexico was imminent. Wilson didn't want war with Mexico as the situation with Germany was falling apart in Europe. Wilson basically called the whole thing off and America ended up paying through the nose.
After nearly a year the mission proved disastrous, Villa was never caught and the US agreed to pay reparations to Mexico. In addition, the Mexican people declared Villa even more of a hero than he already was because he had defeated the great American General Pershing. The only positive action of note was the first actual military campaign experience for a young and brash Lt. George Patton. He became a hero at age 30 when he led a small band and raided a home, killing Villa's right hand man.
The problem was not unlike the predicament facing the Obama administration today. Bandits across the border taking aim on the US. Instead of Pancho Villa it is now drug runners fueled of course by Americans desire for illegal drugs coming from Mexico. Obama is fighting a war in Asia with a potential war in Korea about to re-ignite. Wilson was trying not to go to war with Mexico because he was about to join the First World War in Europe. Pershing eventually made his positive mark on history in the European Theater.
While American outrage exists today from Arizona to California on the west and Texas on the east with New Mexico in between, control of the southern border is becoming a political hot potato as the days go by. The more Mr. Obama doesn't push the right political buttons the more the democrats in congress along with their GOP opposites, will.
If Mr. Obama believes sending American forces, even in support roles, will make things easier along the border he may be in for more trouble than he thinks. Woodrow Wilson didn't have a clue as to how to end the border problems with Mexico in 1916. He failed and Mr. Obama may be in for a similar fate.
Source : examiner