Obama: ominous appointment for Homeland Security

US President-elect Barack Obama's pick to run the Department of Homeland Security, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, is described by the AP Nov. 20 as "tough on illegal immigration"—although she has been a skeptic on the border wall, having once said, "You build a 50-foot wall, somebody will find a 51-foot ladder." We've noted that she signed last year's state law imposing sanctions on employers who hire undocumented immigrants, but has opposed or vetoed other more draconian measures. In 2005, she declared a state of emergency for Arizona counties along the Mexican border, and pressured Homeland Security for stepped up enforcement.

Reuters also reports Nov. 20 that Obama has chosen retired Gen. James Jones, former top operational commander of NATO (Supreme Allied Commander Europe), to head the National Security Council. SourceWatch informs us that he was an early skeptic on the Iraq war, stating before the invasion: "You better have Plan B in your hip pocket, because when you attack someone who has any kind of well-trained army on their homeland they are going to fight differently than if they engage you, say, in Kuwait."

In contrast to some earlier appointments, this appears to be a tilt against the neocons and to the pragmatists.

See our last posts on the politics of immigration and the struggle for the border.