Saturday, January 21, 2017


There's no doubt in my mind that the 45th President was watching "A Few Good Men" when he formulated the idea to put Colonel Jessop on HIS border wall. After finding out Jessop wasn't real he settled for General John F. Kelly the former commander of SOUTHCOM who retired from the Marine Corps last year.

Gen. John Kelly, USMC in 2014

I have great admiration for Kelly, his battlefield leadership during the invasion of Iraq was iconic as his opinions. During the initial assault on Baghdad for example, Kelly [who not long before had received the first promotion to Brigadier General in a combat zone since the Korean war] was asked if considering the size of Saddam's forces and their vast supplies weapons if he would ever consider defeat. Kelly's archetypal response was, "Hell these are Marines. Men like them held Guadalcanal and took Iwo Jima. Baghdad ain't shit!"

As much as I admire Kelly, it would be fair to say that there are concerns that someone with a 40 year military career is the best choice for DHS which has been led primarily by legal and security experts. Security was indeed part of General Kelly's mission in SOUTHCOM, which is responsible for the security of the Panama Canal and military operations in South America, but I feel there are nuanced differences here that would be cause for concern. 

The border between North and South Korea for example is presided over in part by the U.S. military for obvious reasons - but it would be worrying if the intention is to establish something in any way similar between the U.S. and Mexico. The military deals with security in vastly different ways to the way the legal profession and law enforcement deal with civilian security and the fact that Kelly was a 4-star military commander up to a year ago would be my concern, but my only concern.

Thankfully Kelly does not appear convinced that such a measure as a wall will be successful “a physical barrier in and of itself will not do the job’’ he said during his hearing and indicated that  technology such as drones and sensors would also be needed to secure the border.

All said, I wish every success to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly on his new appointment.

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