Tuesday, March 8, 2011

US Troops to be sent to the Mexican Border

The big story in all the major newspapers around the country this Wednesday morning is the report that nearly two-thirds of the U.S. Army, 20,000 men, is now on its way to the U.S.-Mexico border.  Meanwhile, two naval fleets and 2,000 marines (nearly all those stationed along the Atlantic seaboard) have been ordered to rendezvous at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  These actions come after an afternoon of meetings at the White House yesterday and furious late night telegrams from both the War and Navy departments in Washington.  According to the Washington Herald, this is the largest mobilization of troops in peacetime and the largest overall in 13 years during the Spanish conflict.  The 20,000 troops are expected to ship out to San Diego, San Antonio, and Galveston and arrive at these bases in the next few days.  The War Department and the White House last night issued the following joint statement:
The Department is mobilizing a division of full strength at San Antonio, Tex., for the purpose of field training of officers and men and for the further purpose of holding maneuvers involving possible operations against Galveston.  There will be assembled at Galveston a force of three regiments for the defense of that place against possible attack by the navy.  On the Pacific coast the mobilization will involve a brigade of infantry in the Los Angeles district for the purpose of defending San Diego and San Pedro against possible attack by the navy.  The mobilization of these troops will furnish an excellent opportunity for the instruction of a number of senior officers in the elements of higher command.  It will also put to practical test the preparedness of the staff departments for the mobilization of troops.

Maj. Gen. William H. Carter will command the provisional division.  The brigades at San Antonio will be commanded by Brig. Gen. M. P. Maus, F. A. Smith, and Ralph W. Hoyt.  The troops at Galveston will be under the command of Brig. Gen. A. L. Mills and the troops in the Los Angeles district will be commanded by Brig. Gen. Tasker H. Bliss.
Despite this statement by the War Department, reports in newspapers like the Washington Herald cast doubt on the story.  For an exercise, this is quite large, being the largest troop mobilization in peacetime.  Usually such maneuvers are smaller and take place during the summer when the national guard can also be utilized from the states.  They also take place after the start of the fiscal year in July, when sufficient funds are in place to cover the exercises.  In this case, there is limited funding for war games in the army and navy budgets.  Finally, soldiers will be carrying typical wartime kits, including live ammunition, which would not be used during war games.

The Herald has concluded, as have citizens near the border and in foreign offices in Europe (according to the Herald), that these actions by the Taft Administration can only indicate that the U.S. may be preparing to intervene in the escalating insurrection in Mexico.  The Herald reported today that Britain has threatened to use force to protect their interests in Mexico, most importantly the Tehuantepec National Railway that cuts across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and the Pierson syndicate in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.  Guantanamo Bay is the closest U.S. naval base to the northern terminus of the national railroad at Porto Mexico.  This railroad is currently the best way to transfer goods between the Pacific and Atlantic basins if the intention is to bypass the southern tip of South America until canal in Panama is opened in three years.  U.S. intervention in Mexico may be necessary to preserve the Monroe Doctrine in what could be the biggest test of the 90 year old policy since the Civil War.

Through out the week, we shall have more coverage on this breaking news event.

Link: Intervention by United States in Mexico Seen [The Washingon Herald]

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