Appearing on ABC’s This Week, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) sharply criticized President Bush’s proposal, expected to be announced Monday, of sending thousands of National Guard troops to police the southern U.S. border. Hagel said flatly, “that’s not the role of our national guard.” He added that “we’ve got National Guard members in their second, third and fourth tours in Iraq” and “stretched our military as thin as we have ever seen in modern times.”
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) has also spoken out against the plan.
STEPHANOPOULOS: [Gov. Schwarzenegger is] against sending the National Guard. Where do you stand?
HAGEL: Well, I want to listen to the details and I want to listen to the President. But I would say this: I think we have to be very careful here. That’s not the role of our military. That’s not the role of our national guard. Let’s approach this in a long-term way where we fix the problem. That’s a short-term fix and I’m not sure it’s a very wise fix. Let’s start with the fact of whether we even have the capacity. What the Governor’s talking about. We’ve got 75% of all the equipment of National Guard all across this country is in Iraq. We’ve got National Guard members in their second, third and fourth tours in Iraq. We have stretched our military as thin as we have ever seen it in modern times. What in the world are we talking about here, sending a National Guard that we may not have any capacity to send down to protect our borders. That’s not their role. I’ll listen to the President but I have a lot of questions about this. I’m skeptical.