This think piece written twenty years ago by MGEN Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., USAF (Ret) proves startlingly relevant today. It was published by the U.S. Army War College in its professional journal, Parameters.
If you doubt its relevance, read this.
CNN has an interesting article about a couple that married in Kansas several years ago. What the wife, who is a US Citizen, didn’t know while they were dating was that her husband was an illegal immigrant. He tried to do the right thing earlier this year, which was to return to Mexico and apply for legal immigration status. The problem is, since he was in the country illegally for over a year, he is barred from returning for over 10 years unless there are extreme extenuating circumstances. You can read about it here.
While I have my doubts about this case (a 26 year old man marries a 40 year old woman, hmm…), this is one case out of over 12 million currently in the US. It illustrates, however, the difficulty faced by true immigration reform. When an illegal immigrant marries a US Citizen and they start a family (where under the Constitution the kids are US Citizens), do we tear the family apart to enforce immigration laws?
How we tackle this debate will in some ways define us as a nation, since we are a nation of immigrants. Keep in mind that 100 years ago, to the best of my knowledge, there was no such thing as “illegal” immigration. Here’s my two-cents:
It is interesting to look back at the fighting that occurred in Iraq this past week and a half when Iraqi forces entered Basra to contain and control militias in the second largest city in Iraq. All week we’ve been subjected to headlines of “The Lessons of Basra” (The Nation), “A Civil War Iraq Can’t Win” (NYT), “Basra Assault Exposed U.S., Iraqi Limits: Anti-Sadr Gambit Seen Aiding Cleric” (The Washington Post)…you get the picture. Here’s the part I don’t understand:
1. As of March 30th, when the cease-fire was declared, Iraqi forces had killed 571 Mahdi Army fighters, wounded 881, captured 490, and accepted the surrender of 30 throughout Iraq.
2. Al-Sadr ordered his fighters to quit fighting, then called it a “cease-fire.” While he tried to put terms on it, the Iraqi government did not accept any of the terms, with the exception of “if you quit fighting us, we won’t kill you.”
3. Al-Sadr “brokered” the cease-fire with the help of Iran, because that is where he is at. He is not in Iraq (nor has he been seen there in over a year), because he fears to return.
4. The Iraqi army has entered Basra in Brigade strength to restablish order. Curfews still exist for Sadr City and Basra. Not exactly conditions for the Medhi Army to be dancing in the streets.
5. In six days of fighting, the Mehdi Army suffered major setbacks in Hillah, Najaf, Karbala, Diwaniyah, Amarah, Kut, and Nasiriyah.
6. When the cease-fire was granted by the Iraqi Army, Al-Sadr’s Medhi army was critically low on food, water and ammunition in Basra due to the border with Iran being sealed.
Explain to me please how people can say he “won?” I just don’t get it.