Reporters with VICE News headed to the border to inspect US military operations there- and attempted to bait servicemembers into making disparaging remarks about their government.
In a video clip titled, Trump’s Border Troops Have Nothing To Do, the VICE film crew set up show at Base Camp Donna, located in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Getting a feel for the installation, the reporters began mulling around, asking personnel if they, well, had nothing to do.
“In the last week, Army engineers have built the camp up to accommodate a long-term deployment: it now has hot showers, laundry facilities, and a kitchen to produce two hot meals a day” VICE wrote. “Many of the soldiers there have served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and life on Base Camp Donna is much like life on any other base- except here, there’s no enemy to fight, and the troops have almost nothing to do.”
Reporter David Noriega -who seemingly has never been deployed, let alone on a field exercise- complained of “unseasonably cold and wet” weather, as well as “constant noise from generators and diesel engines.”
However, setting up camp and “doing nothing,” as it was put, is a part of military life, and has been since the beginning of standing armies.
At one point, he asked medical personnel if they were busy treating people at the camp.
“No major trauma, or anything like that,” Sergeant Roy Walters of the 547th Medical Company replied. “It’s mostly, you know, mosquito bites and chiggers and stuff.”
Seemingly unsatisfied, Noriega asked an officer why exactly the troops were on the border to begin with.
“Everything we saw on this tour today is pretty much infrastructure, material to support the presence of the troops here,” he said. “But I still don’t totally understand why the troops are here. What is the point of this base?
Speaking from underneath a well-weathered patrol cap, Public Affairs Officer Major Derek Wamsley explained that the troops provide support for the US Customs and Border Patrol, reinforcing areas that are vulnerable to foreign incursion.
Finally, Noriega asks the base camp mayor cell commander -identified as Captain Lauren Blanton- if she feels the military should be there.
“Do you feel genuinely like there is a need for you to be here right now?” he asked, seemingly hoping for a jab at the current administration or higher-ups.
“That’s my personal opinion,” she said. I’m not really here to talk about my personal feelings, I’m here to talk about my job. Yeah, I have feelings, but again, that’s not really what I’m here to do.”
“Can you tell us your feelings?” Noriega persisted.
“No,” Blanton responded bluntly, signalling the end of an interview.
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