“Consider it a rifle”

"Consider it a rifle"

by digby

"[If] they want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back," Trump said during a press conference at the White House. "We're going to consider it -- and I told them, 'consider that a rifle.' When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexico military and police, I say 'consider it a rifle.'"

His comments raise serious questions about rules of engagement the thousands of troops being sent to operate along the U.S. border are supposed to follow, and it doesn't fall in line with what Pentagon officials have outlined so far.

Air Force Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, head of U.S. Northern Command, said this week that "everything that we are doing is in line with and adherence to Posse Comitatus," a congressional act dating back to the 1800s that prohibits the military from participating in domestic law-enforcement activities.

And a Pentagon memo, obtained by the Washington Post, also states that the troops -- who will deploy with their service and non-lethal weapons -- are authorized to use deadly force only when "faced with imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm, and where lesser means have failed or cannot be reasonably employed," the paper reported.

Earlier this week, a second caravan of Central American migrants heading toward the U.S. border on foot clashed violently with Mexican police and immigration officials outside Guatemala. One person was killed and dozens more injured, the LA Times reported, and "many migrants" were taken into custody.

Trump was asked whether he could see the armed active-duty military personnel on the border firing at anyone if a similar situation occurred in the U.S.

"I hope not, I hope not," the president replied. "... But I will tell you this: Anybody throwing stones, rocks like they did to Mexico and the Mexican military and Mexican police, where they badly hurt police and soldiers, we will consider that a firearm because there's not much difference when you get hit in the face with a rock."

By the way, right wing Militia are going to the border to "help." Even if professional soldiers know they cannot do this since they would be violating laws of war, these Militia members may not. Or they may just assume (probably correctly) that Trump will pardon them if they do it.

Oh, and this: