Troops at the border are sleeping in tents that house 20 soldiers and have no electricity or air conditioning, with some suffering heat exhaustion within days of starting the mission.
There’s no mess hall — only pre-made “Ready-to-Eat” meals — and the only phone chargers available are attached to “a few generators that power spotlights around the living area.” Department of Defense officials worry that if the number of troops increases to 15,000, the cost could be as high as $200 million.
The New York Times reports:
The deployment orders last until Dec. 15, meaning the troops will be on the border over Thanksgiving. They will have little to do beyond providing logistical support, unless Mr. Trump declares martial law. The troops will not be enforcing United States immigration law — that would run afoul of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, unless a special exception is made.
“When you give a soldier a real mission, you have less of a morale problem, even if it’s Christmas or Thanksgiving,” said Representative Anthony G. Brown, Democrat of Maryland and a former Army helicopter pilot who served in the Iraq war. “But when you send a soldier on a dubious mission, with no military value, over Thanksgiving, it doesn’t help morale at all.”
Those 5,000 troops sitting on the border waiting for a few hundred bedraggled migrants to show up a month from now could be digging fire lines and helping to evacuate people and livestock from California instead.
— Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) November 10, 2018
Devastating @nytimes story depicting the reality rather than the sound bite of the costly, morale-sapping misuse of US troops sent to a border not under threat and in any event already defended by the National Guard and Border Patrol https://t.co/44ezyKcYCu
— Richard N. Haass (@RichardHaass) November 11, 2018
NYT reports that instead of watching football with their families this Veterans Day weekend, the troops sent by Trump to the border are webbing wire on the banks of the Rio Grande. Whattaburger runs are off limits, so they eat chicken & noodle rations. https://t.co/7mj8mJ4vyw
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) November 11, 2018