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America's Green Card Soldiers

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  • ummyakoub
    Nearly 40,000 of America s frontline soldiers are not US citizens. US attacked over green card soldiers By James Gooder Al-Jazeera Monday 01 September 2003,
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2003
      Nearly 40,000 of America's frontline soldiers are not US citizens.

      US attacked over green card soldiers
      By James Gooder

      Monday 01 September 2003, 0:45 Makka Time, 21:45 GMT

      Band of brothers: The poor and disenfranchised are in the US front
      lines in Iraq

      Many of the troops on duty in Iraq do not count English as their
      first language and would prefer to take orders in their native
      tongue ... usually Spanish.

      The revelation has prompted British MP George Galloway, one of the
      fiercest critics of the invasion of Iraq, to accuse the US of using
      its "green card" troops as cannon fodder.

      Galloway went on to attack the US policy of putting its poor
      minorities and non-citizens on the front line of its foreign wars.

      In an exclusive interview he told Aljazeera.net that it was part of a
      long US tradition of using its underclass as dispensable.

      The statistics, buried by the White House spin doctors, reveal that a
      significant minority of troops fighting under the US banner are not
      in fact US citizens but residents hoping to speed up their

      Galloway said that this was typical of a government used to having
      the marginalised fight its battles.

      "Nothing has changed since that last failed attempt to invade and
      determine the future of another country, Vietnam," he told
      Aljazeera.net from his holiday villa in Portugal.

      "The proportion of blacks in the army was 40%, while in the US
      population the number of blacks was a quarter of that," he said

      "Of course the underclass has now become increasingly more Hispanic
      than black."

      Disproportionate casualties

      This explains why a disproportionate number of the so-called US
      casualties in the invasion and occupation of Iraq have borne Latino

      Galloway says that on a weekly Atlanta radio show he participates in,
      the callers have repeatedly claimed that Blacks and Hispanics are the
      fodder army recruiters are after.

      The Pentagon says that there are 37,401 non-US citizens on active
      duty, and that joining up has a special incentive for them - an
      American passport.

      "The military services have processes and programmes in place to help
      service members expedite their citizenship," says a US Department of
      Defence spokesperson.

      "The estimated time for the application is about six months."

      "The people who made the decisions never sent their sons to get hot,
      bloody and dirty on the battlefield"

      George Galloway,
      British MP

      Citizenship has been especially hard to come by due to the draconian
      immigration rules imposed by the US Department of Homeland Security
      since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

      It can take several years to gain citizenship, for those lucky enough
      to get it. Signing up to the army can speed this up, provided the GI
      comes home alive.


      Other incentives under the Montgomery GI Bill include the promises of
      a college fund of up to $50,000, post service employment and

      But activist Carlos Mendes of the Latinos Against the War in Iraq
      coalition says that many soldiers have told him that these promises
      often fail to materialise.

      The US military relies on volunteers, the Pentagon argues, and there
      is no official draft, therefore no pressure on anyone to sign up.

      Yet in a country where further education is prohibitively expensive,
      and medical care privatised, these incentives deliberately target
      America's poor minorities, as well as those desperate for
      citizenship, freeing the sons and daughters of those with money and
      influence from service.

      "The people who made the decisions never sent their sons to get hot,
      bloody and dirty on the battlefield," he said.

      Even when there was a draft, the decision makers stayed out of
      trouble. "The white sons of the rulers of America, including a
      certain George W Bush, have always found ways around the draft, in
      his case through his bogus service in the air auxiliary, while Dick
      Cheney took one course after another at university," he said.

      Outspoken critic

      Galloway, the Glasgow Kelvin MP who has consistently criticised US
      and British policy on Iraq, famously called Bush and Blair "wolves"
      over their warlike rhetoric leading up to the invasion.

      He opposed UN sanctions imposed after the last Gulf War complaining
      that they inflicted huge suffering on ordinary Iraqis.

      Mr Galloway has visited Iraq on numerous occasions and met the
      country's former president and major figures in the Baathist

      But he was also a vigorous campaigner during the Thatcher years,
      picketing the Iraqi embassy in London, when the Conservative
      government supplied arms to Saddam Hussein.




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