Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Another HuffPost piece by Peter Laufer

The Citizenship Draft

President Bush showed up for a photo-op at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington the other day where he’d come to witness the naturalization ceremony for three U.S. soldiers wounded in Iraq. The three were injured in bomb explosions so their active duty status made them eligible for citizenship. The president looked on sanctimoniously as the wounded trio – two from Mexico, one from the Dominican Republic – became Americans.

Fair enough, and good for them. If they’re going to work for the American military, they ought to enjoy the benefits of American citizenship.

Here’s the history: After the September 11th attacks, President Bush signed an executive order creating a fast-track for citizenship for foreigners who joined the U.S. Armed Forces and served on active duty. Non citizens swell the military ranks these days by more than 33,000 troops and military recruiters actively seek foreigners for the services, trolling especially for Mexicans while giving away t-shirts emblazoned with the legend: “Yo Soy el Army” and showing off customized Hum-Vees. With the army struggling to meet recruitment quotas, citizenship is offered as an enticement – an enticement that can kick in if the soldier sees active duty.

There is another Bush policy for U.S. citizenship that does not even require the foreigner submit an application. The president signed an executive order in 2002 making anyone who joins the U.S. military and who is killed in combat eligible for immediate posthumous citizenship. “Hi, mom! I’m a dead American now!”

So in addition to the poverty draft and the stop-loss draft, it is probably appropriate to add the citizenship draft to the list that suggests the all-volunteer army isn’t so volunteer.

While researching my book Mission Rejected, a collection of profiles of U.S. soldiers who oppose the Iraq War, I spent time with veterans of the war so thoroughly disgusted with U.S. policy that they prefer to discard their U.S. citizenship rather than continue to follow orders to fight in Iraq.

An example is Ivan Brobeck, a Marine who served as an infantryman in Iraq and deserted from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina rather than redeploy to the war zone. When we met in Toronto, where he now lives while seeking refugee status in Canada, we talked about his changing identity.

“What are you now?” I asked him. “Are you a Canadian?”

“Not really anything,” was Ivan’s response. “Yeah, I’m not really anything. I’m American, but I’m half El Salvadorian. My mom immigrated to America when she was 20. She came here when she didn’t even speak English. And my dad is half Irish-Italian.”

“So in your heart,” I asked him, “what are you now?”

“In my heart? In my heart I’m not American.” He paused and added a definitive, “No.”

“What are you?” I asked again.

“I don’t know. Something else.”

“To be determined?”

“Yeah, definitely. Definitely not American. If it means I have to conform to what they stand for,” he said about the Bush Administration, “I’m not American because America has lost touch with what they were. The Founding Fathers would definitely be pissed off if they found out what America’s become.”

The value of U.S. citizenship: one more casualty of Bush’s war.


What’s a Carbon Sink?

World leaders met in Marrakech this month as part of COP22, to discuss the next steps to reducing global climate emissions. One of the solutions being discussed is carbon farming. Author Eric Toensmeier participated in COP22, in part, because he literally wrote a book on it. First off – what is carbon farming? It’s a […] Read More

A Minority President: Why the Polls Failed, And What the Majority Can Do

What’s next for the majority of voters who didn’t vote for Donald Trump? There are plenty of takeaways from the 2016 presidential election, but here is perhaps the most thorough examination of why the polls failed, why Hillary Clinton’s campaign failed, and what the majority of voters can do going forward. George Lakoff is the […] Read More

Prehistory of the Next American Revolution

What now? A new Revolution? If we are to counter the dangers both of corporate domination and of traditional forms of socialist statism, decentralization is essential—both of economic institutions and of political structure. We are at a point in our nation’s history that could, decades from now, be taught as the prehistory of the next […] Read More

The Seven-Point Protocol for a Lean Economy

In the future, what will our local economies look like? How will they function if there is little, to no, state or national support? The late David Fleming envisioned a post-capitalistic society that we could call “deep local” — in which all needs are met at the local level — from income to social capital […] Read More

Happy Holidays from Chelsea Green Publishing!

Today we kick off our Holiday Sale — with 35% off every purchase at our online bookstore. Simply use the code CGS16 at checkout from now until the end of the year. Along with this great discount, we are offering free shipping on any order over $100*. Are there homesteaders or organic gardeners on your […] Read More
Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com