Thursday, October 19, 2006

Military Path to Citizenship

Writing in the Washington Post, Max Boot and Michael O'Hanlon propose a military path to citizenship and National Review's Stanley Kurtz thinks it's a good idea while John Derbyshire and Mark Krikorian do not. Kurtz offers some historical examples of non-citizens contributing to the national defense (and asks for more) and is supported by emailers (one, two, three) who explain that, indeed, this is already going on in the U.S. military (which Boot and O'Hanlon mention in their piece).

Derbyshire's specific complaint against the idea is this:
The difficulty Boot notes in increasing troop levels ought to be a clue that, while we're happy to sign on to kill Saddam or nuke Japan or burn Atlanta (sorry to you Georgians out there), not enough of our people are interested in playing nursemaid to a bunch of crazies to make that a sustainable policy. To ignore that, and call instead for the recruitment of foreign soldiers, stems from the same impulse as Brecht's crack about "dissolving the people and electing a new one" — if the American people aren't interested in signing up for police duty in Araby, lets find people who are.
My college roommate's family was a beneficiary of the military path to citizenship. A Filipino, his father enlisted in the Navy, did his time and wound up in San Diego as a U.S. citizen. I have no doubts that there are non-U.S. citizens who would jump at the chance to obtain expedited U.S. citizenship.

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