United States Marine Corps recruits recite answers to questions
 about Marine Corps history asked by their drill instructor
during a break in training at boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina.

Scott Olson / Getty

compiled by Dee Finney

A Dream of my Friend:

7-16-07 - DREAM -  My son Brian had just turned 17 and he got drafted to go fight in Iraq.

He hadn't been gone all that long and there was a knock at the door.

Two soldiers stood there, holding my son's bloody body in their arms. They said, "Your son served valiantly Ma'am! and then they threw my son onto the floor at my feet.

I picked up my son's dead body and held him in my arms and rocked him like a baby.  He had been shot in the head.

I just cried and cried over my son's body until I woke up and I still couldn't stop crying.

NOTE: My son will be 16 in a few months and I will guarantee you, he will be sent to Canada for safekeeping if they re-institute the draft.

NOTE: In case you don't realize it, every high school now has military personnel spending their lunch hours with the kids, coercing them to join up and sometimes making false promises of large amounts of money to sign on the dotted line.  This starts at age 14, when the schools are required to submit a list of students to the military.

Military recruiters target schools strategically

POMFRET, Md. -- Military recruiting saturates life at McDonough High, a working-class public school where recruiters chaperon dances, students in a junior ROTC class learn drills from a retired sergeant major in uniform, and every prospect gets called at least six times by the Army alone.

Recruiters distribute key chains, mugs, and military brochures at McDonough's cafeteria. They are trained to target students at schools like McDonough across the country, using techniques such as identifying a popular student -- whom they call a "center of influence" -- and conspicuously talking to that student in front of others.

Meanwhile, at McLean High, a more affluent public school 37 miles away in Virginia, there is no military chaperoning and no ROTC class. Recruiters adhere to a strict quota of visits, lining up behind dozens of colleges. In the guidance office, military brochures are dwarfed by college pennants. Posters promote life amid ivy-covered walls, not in the cockpits of fighter jets.

Students from McDonough are as much as six times more likely than those from McLean to join the military, a disparity that is replicated elsewhere. A survey of the military's recruitment system found that the Defense Department zeroes in on schools where students are perceived to be more likely to join up, while making far less effort at schools where students are steered toward college.

Now, as pressure mounts on recruiters to find 180,000 volunteers amid casualty counts from Iraq and Afghanistan that have surpassed 1,300 dead and 10,000 wounded, the fairness of the system by which the nation persuades young people to take on the burden of national defense is coming under increasing scrutiny.

The Globe inquiry found that recruiters target certain schools and students for heavy recruitment, and then won't give up easily: Officers call the chosen students repeatedly, tracking their responses in a computer program the Army calls "the Blueprint." Eligible students are hit with a blitz of mailings and home visits. Recruiters go hunting wherever teens from a targeted area hang out, following them to sporting events, shopping malls, and convenience stores.

Officers are trained to analyze students and make a pitch according to what will strike a motivational chord -- job training, college scholarships, adventure, signing bonuses, or service to country. A high-school recruiting manual describes the Army as "a product which can be sold."

The manual offers tips for recruiters to make themselves "indispensable" to schools; suggests tactics such as reading yearbooks to "mysteriously" know something about a prospect to spark the student's curiosity; notes that "it is only natural for people to resist" and suggests ways to turn aside objections; and lists techniques for closing the deal, such as the "challenge close":

"This closing method works best with younger men," the manual reads. "You must be careful how you use this one. You must be on friendly terms with your prospect, or this may backfire. It works like this: When you find difficulty in closing, particularly when your prospect's interest seems to be waning, challenge his ego by suggesting that basic training may be too difficult for him and he might not be able to pass it. Then, if he accepts your challenge, you will be a giant step closer to getting him to enlist."

Varying targets
The Defense Department spends $2.6 billion each year on recruiting, including signing bonuses, college funds, advertising, recruiter pay, and administering the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. The military pitches the test to schools as a free career exploration program, but which its manual notes is also "specifically designed" to "provide the recruiter with concrete and personal information about the student."

Nearly all efforts are aimed at impending or recent high school graduates. But the marketing message is not targeted equally, acknowledged Kurt Gilroy, who directs recruiting policy for the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Although the military strives to maintain a presence everywhere "to give everyone an opportunity to enlist if they so choose," he said, it concentrates on places most likely to "maximize return on the recruiting dollar [because] the advertising and marketing research people tell us to go where the low-hanging fruit is. In other words, we fish where the fish are."

But targeting some schools more than others raises questions about fairness. While some students at targeted schools are eager to join, others may be unduly manipulated into signing up.

David Walsh, a psychologist who has written a book about the impact of media on the adolescent brain, says teenage brains are not yet fully developed. Studies have shown that teens' brain structures make them less independent of group opinion and less likely to consider long-term consequences than adults a few years older.

For the masses of teenagers who are not peer group leaders, Walsh said, an aggressive sales pitch can sway their decisions -- especially if the recruiter knows how to get coaches, counselors, and popular students to endorse enlisting.

Indeed, the Army trains its recruiters to do exactly that.

"Some influential students such as the student president or the captain of the football team may not enlist; however, they can and will provide you with referrals who will enlist," the Army's school recruiting handbook says. "More important is the fact that an informed student leader will respect the choice of enlistment."

Walsh says an approach like this is certain to persuade some teens at targeted schools to join up, while essentially identical teens at other schools will make other choices.

"What we end up doing is maintaining the gap between the haves and the have-nots, because they are the ones who are targeted to put their lives on the line and make sacrifices for the rest of us," Walsh said. "The kids with more options, we don't bother with them."

Different paths
Principals and teachers play a role in determining whether military recruitment succeeds. In schools where educators are skeptical of the military, recruiters are shut out beyond the minimum required by President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act: two visits a year per service, as well as a list with every student's name, address, and phone number.

In other schools, the people who fill those same influential roles serve as advocates for the military.
At McDonough, guidance counselor Wanda Welch, who notes that her son recently completed four years in the Air Force, talks of the virtues of defending the country. Sitting near military posters and brochures, she says she appreciates the services recruiters give to the school and tells students that "if they don't know what they want to do, enlisting can be a good choice."

At McLean, counselor Isobel Rahn, who notes that she came of age amid the Vietnam War protests, says the school requires recruiters to sign in like any other outsider because "we protect our kids."

Sitting near a poster announcing visits from 23 colleges in the coming two weeks, she says she tells students that the military offers benefits but that "the con in 2004 is that you can get killed."

Over the past year, as casualties in Iraq have filled the news, recruiting has become much more difficult. For the 2003-04 recruiting year, which ended in September, the Army's active-duty and reserves recruiting effort narrowly met its quota, but the Army National Guard missed its goal of 56,000 soldiers by about 5,000 -- its first shortfall in a decade.

"I think Iraq has hurt recruiting," said Sergeant Kevin Bidwell, who commands the Army recruiting station that includes McDonough High. "People automatically think that as soon as they join up, they're going to go over there."

Bidwell said he tells prospects that such a fear is a "misperception,because objectively you don't know for sure. The Army is a million strong, and if you look at statistics over there, there's under 100,000 from all four branches." Actually, about 140,000 US troops are serving in Iraq.

The number of students who go from the halls of McDonough to boot camp is substantial: 15 of its 322 seniors last year had decided to enlist by graduation, according to a state website. Local recruiters say that number will rise as they continue to contact targeted McDonough students over the next two years.

Far fewer students enlist coming out of McLean. Precise statistics are not available, but Rahn said that each year between three and seven of her roughly 400 seniors join the military.

Marketing gap
Those familiar with military recruiting say lower family incomes make McDonough students more likely to enlist, but that marketing also plays a major role.

Richard I. Stark Jr., a retired Army officer who once worked on personnel issues for the secretary of defense, said he thinks the targeted hard sell draws in students who otherwise might not join, while failing to find potential recruits at other schools.

"It's hard to imagine that it doesn't influence the proclivities of those people to make a judgment for themselves about the military," Stark said. "Once you start [recruiting at a school heavily], it's like a snowball. As more people from the school join the military, they go back on leave, walk around in their spiffy uniforms, brag about accomplishments. That generates interest by more recruits

Stark said the recruiting marketing gap is a problem only insofar as it deprives the military of qualified students from a full range of high schools and all walks of life. But the recruiting system has drawn more aggressive critics.
Representative Charles Rangel, Democrat of New York, says society places what should be a shared burden of defense only on those poor enough to be induced to risk their lives for a chance at college or a signing bonus. Those who sign up with the infantry for five years get $12,000 in cash or a smaller bonus, as well as up to $70,000 in college aid.

"These young people are not 'volunteers,' " Rangel said. "They're not there, because they're patriotic. They're there they need the money."

Sergeant Isaac Horton, McDonough's Army recruiter, sees it differently. For him, enlisting is a way to improve the lives of young people with few options. In his pitches to recruits, he uses his life as an example, talking of returning home to find many of his high school friends either dead or in jail.

"If I had to do it over again, I would do it," Horton said. "Look at the crime rate in D.C. -- I'll take my chances in the military."

To show his displeasure with military recruiting, Rangel filed a bill in early 2003, before the Iraq invasion, proposing to revive the national draft. Congress killed the measure.

A class issue
Rangel's critique also has a strong sense of racial grievance, but data suggest that the military is not putting its energy into high schools attended by poor minority students. Instead of race, the clearest indicator of how hard a sell a student will receive is class. Generally, recruiters focus on the lower middle class in places with little economic opportunity.

The Defense Department does not track the socioeconomic background of its recruits, although Rangel has commissioned a Government Accountability Office study of the matter. The military also does not collect data for how many recruits it gets from which high schools; that information gets no higher than local recruiting commands.

But in 1999, the RAND Corp. conducted a study seeking patterns among qualified high school seniors.

"It turned out that kids who were of upper income were more likely to go to college, but it also turned out that kids from lower incomes had better chances of getting need-based financial aid to college," said Beth Asch, a RAND military personnel analyst. "So when you look at who goes to the military, you tend to get those in the middle."

Local recruiters use a computer system that combines socioeconomic data from the census, high school recruiting data for all four services, ZIP codes with high numbers of young adults, and other information to identify the likeliest candidates.

The obvious school districts that get screened out are those affluent enough that most of their students are probably college-bound. But recruiters also put less energy into underclass high schools, because they do not want prospects who might be ineligible because they drop out of school, have criminal records, or do not score high enough on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.

Every three months, each service hands recruiting station commanders a quota to meet. The Army pegs its signing bonuses to the specific jobs with the greatest openings. Highly qualified recruits are much more coveted than low-scoring prospects, who can do only basic tasks.

But this year, the Army is relaxing its rules to help fill its quotas. The number of high school dropouts allowed to enlist will rise 25 percent -- accounting for 10 percent of recruits this year, compared with 8 percent last year. The percentage allowed to enlist despite borderline scores on a service aptitude test will rise by 33 percent -- from 1.5 percent last year to 2 percent this year.

For recruiters on the ground such as Bidwell, it will be a tough year. So focusing on schools and ZIP codes that have had the highest rates of enlistment is good business sense.

"They have a higher propensity to enlist, so why not concentrate your efforts there?" Bidwell said.


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May 26, 2005
Contact: Emile Milne
(202) 225-4365



WASHINGTON, May 26, 2005 -- Lawmaker Says Desperate Measures to Bolster Dwindling Recruitment Highlight Concerns About an Impending Collapse of the Voluntary System

Congressman Charles Rangel today announced the reintroduction of his legislation to reinstate the military draft. 

"I oppose the war in Iraq, but I support the military and the men and women who serve in it," Congressman Rangel said.  "What is happening now indicates to me that the entire volunteer system is in danger of collapse under the weight of the burden  being placed on those who are serving."

The Congressman's decision to reintroduce his draft legislation now was prompted in part by the growing crisis in military recruiting, which in recent months has suffered a 30 percent decline in enlistments, endangering the long-term viability of the U.S. military.

A symptom of the military's problems was the recent announcement of the Army's intention to allow recruits to sign up for 15 months of active duty service rather than the typical four-year enlistment.  This effort to make military service more attractive to recruits is the shortest active-duty requirement ever.

"In rejecting the draft, the Pentagon has argued for years that volunteers wanted to fight and draftees were reluctant. The Secretary of Defense even belittled the sacrifices of Vietnam draftees. They also argued that recruits needed more time for training in order to handle today's high tech systems--not less.  This decision shatters the myth of the superiority of the volunteer military while exposing the hypocrisy of the Pentagon's arguments,"  Congressman Rangel said.

The Army has failed to meet its recruiting goals in successive months since last February, despite increasing enlistment bonuses to $30,000 and enlarging the corps of recruiters, among whom there have been widespread reports of fraud committed under the pressure of meeting their monthly quotas.  

"Everyone knows that we went into this war with an insufficient number of troops, but the problem now is filling the ranks of those units that are already on the ground," Congressman Rangel said.  "We are only able to keep troops in field by extending deployments, calling back veterans who have previously served in combat and placing an unsustainable burden on the Reserves, who typically were attracted by the extra income they could earn after serving on active duty.

"These practices have devastated the troops' morale, made life more difficult for military families, and in many cases caused the loss of civilian jobs, homes and even marriages."

Congressman Rangel, a Purple Heart and Bronze Star veteran of the Korean War, first introduced legislation to reinstate the draft in January 2003.  The bill was defeated by the House of Representatives in a surprise vote in October 2004.  Many critics, including Congressman Rangel, believed that the vote was an effort by the Republican leadership to end widespread rumors of President Bush's  intention to resort to conscription after the 2004 election.

As in the 108th Congress, the new bill would cover all men and women, 18-26 years of age. It would make military service compulsory for the number determined by the President or alternative national civilian service for those remaining.  The length of active duty service would be reduced to 15 months, in line with the recent change announced by the Army.  As before, deferments for education would be permitted only through completion of high school, up to age 20, and for reasons of health or conscience. 

"The longer we stay in Iraq and the more Americans  are killed, and the less attractive military service appears to potential recruits, the closer the country will move toward a decision on the draft," Congressman Rangel said. 

"The American people lost confidence in this war long ago, and now that parents are discouraging their children from volunteering, we are faced with a situation in which the most disadvantaged young people from areas of high unemployment will be even more likely to carry the greatest share of the burden," Congressman Rangel said.  "If the President wants to do something right now, he should publicly appeal to all Americans to make a personal sacrifice to benefit the war effort."

"Despite the evidence to the contrary, it is just too easy for the President to give assurances that our military would be available and ready to carry out regime change, wherever and whenever he and his advisors want to, whether in Iraq, Iran, Syria or North Korea," Congressman Rangel said.

 "The President said in his State of the Union address that war was an option that remained on the table in dealing with these countries.  In my view, the war option would not be on the table if the people being placed in harm's way were children of White House officials, members  of Congress or CEOs in the boardrooms.  As other people's children endure a grinding war, they have been given huge tax cuts, while our veterans have gotten cuts in health benefits," Congressman Rangel said.


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           Whatcha gonna do when they come for you? What's it gonna be boy/girl?  I wonder how those that are in the age category,
           and skills needed....will they serve?

           I stumbled on this story...whilst listening to cspan regarding the Iraq war...maybe our leaders know something we don't.

          No way out for the coalition troops excerpt:

Iraq is so far from a conclusion that the US may have to bring in a draft, robert fox reveals.   

The US is considering introducing a limited military draft if it is to keep its present force levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pentagon advisers have warned British colleagues. Next month, US forces in Iraq will peak at around 170,000, and GIs in the new units are being told they could be on operations for at least 15 months.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Americans have been faced by the grim statistic that in the year since the last Memorial Day, very nearly 1,000 US military have been killed in Iraq, and many more wounded. These are the worst casualty rates since the coalition invaded Iraq in March 2003.

-snip -

US-led operations in Iraq appear to have reached yet another turning point with the American commander, General David Petraeus, due to hand to Congress a report on his latest strategic thinking. He appears to have given up on the so-called 'surge' which has brought an extra 21,000 US troops to central Iraq. According to advance reports from Baghdad, the surge has failed because the Iraqi government and forces were not prepared to fulfill their promise to back it in word and deed. Last week, a US patrol shot dead an Iraqi in the act of concealing a roadside booby trap bomb - and discovered his identity card showed he was a sergeant in the new Iraqi army.

- snip -

To mix a metaphor, both the Americans and the British seem caught in a drifting impasse now in Iraq. They cannot go forward, nor suddenly pull out, for fear of triggering a major regional war - for which all the combustible ingredients are in place. Both London and Washington face the issue of forces and equipment reaching exhaustion point by this time next year.


Army recruitment efforts in a death spiral

This post was written by Chase.Hamil on 13 July, 2007 (11:52) | All News 408 Views

U.S. Army officials said on Monday of this week that its enlistment program is in trouble. Recruiters have been missing their monthly quota by 15 percent. It’s the second month in a row for the shortfall, even though these are traditionally the best three months for recruiting, due to June student graduations.

Writing in Harper’s magazine, Edward Luttwak notes that senior military officials are concerned that it will take years for the Army and Marine Corps to recover from a “death spiral” in which “readiness ratings are starting to unravel” with recruiting efforts “encountering serious quality and number problems.” The problem is twofold: troops are weary, with extended tours of duty for both the regular Army and the Reserves. Lt. Gen. James Helmly, head of the 205,000 member Army Reserve told USA Today that he is worried about retention rates. “This is the first extended duration war the country has fought with an all-volunteer force,” said Helmly. “The National Guard and Reserve were designed to mobilize for big wars and then bring soldiers home quickly.”

The regular Army is facing challenges of a different sort. While reenlistments are encouraging, the initial efforts at signing up recruits are not. In order to meet its numbers, writes Josh White in The Washington Post, “Recruiters are offering higher incentives to join by broadening its potential pool by offering wavers - for physical conditions and violating the law - to people who normally would not qualify.” Thousands of volunteers who previously would have been classified as unfit are now in the armed forces. The percentage of high school drop-outs entering the service has reached its highest level since 1981. [The American Conservative, June 4, 2007]

This blogger wrote in Blogger News Network in November of last year (Bring Back the Draft) that ABC Television had caught on videotape Army recruiters telling high school students that the war was over and that soldiers were no longer being sent overseas. One member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel of New York, has even proposed bringing back the draft, saying we can’t find the needed additional troops without one. Rangel says an all-volunteer army is inequitable, luring recruits, who otherwise would not consider a military career, into the military with promises of free training, education, and enlistment bonuses.

Recruiters also say sagging enlistment levels are also a result of lack of encouragement from the “influencers,” as a Washington Post article notes. Parents, coaches, and others who can affect decisions are now remaining silent. They know that enlisting in the Army or Marine Corps means an eventual taste of the battlefield and the risk of death or dismemberment. The Post quotes a Pentagon official: “If you don’t think that’s affecting the influencers, then you have your head under a rock.”

Extended tours of duty for members of the Reserve and National Guard also have the potential of drawing down the numbers substantially. There is a little-known order known as the Stop Loss Policy in which soldiers on active duty are prohibited from leaving the service. In other words, even though your enlistment is up, if you have been rotated overseas, there you will stay under the rest of your unit is sent home. Some military officials believe these involuntary extensions of duty could trigger an exodus of forces once they make it back home. The Army is currently short 3,000 commissioned officers. The National Guard and Reserves have a shortage of 7,500 officers.

The situation only gets worse if one takes seriously the possibility that America’s battlefield commitment to the war on terrorism could expand. The New York Times has reported on a debate within the Bush administration on whether to attack Iran. The Times says the hawks inside the administration, especially those in Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, are “pressing for greater consideration of military strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities.” Thus the question arises, how is the U.S. going to fight a war on an additional front when our troop strength is dwindling and recruitment efforts are faltering? The answer that keeps recurring is revive the draft.

To make matters even worse (if that’s possible) the head of U.S. forces in Iraq, General David Petraeus, says fighting the insurgents there “could take decades.” In an interview with the British Broadcasting System (BBC), Petraeus compared America’s role in Iraq to that of the British in Northern Ireland. “My counterparts in your British forces really understand this kind of operation. Northern Ireland took a long time, decades. I don’t know whether this will be decades, but the average counter insurgency is somewhere around a nine or 10-year endeavor.”

Petraeus then went on to assert that a number of troops would be required to remain in Iraq, even after a “withdrawal” takes place. Petraeus is scheduled to return to Washington in September to report on the “surge” campaign’s progress, in which some 30,000 extra U.S. troops were deployed. So far, April, May and June have been the deadliest three months for U.S. troops since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

All of these developments point to a need for more fresh troops to replace the battle weary soldiers who have been on the front lines well beyond the anticipated time frame. A study by The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) says that even before the war on terror opened, the U.S. armed services were already understaffed. “The only way to resolve this serious shortage,” says the AEI, “is to bring back the draft. A draft would dramatically upgrade the quality of U.S. recruits, because it would give the military access to a true cross-section of our youth.”

Those who support a twenty-first century draft (including this blogger) believe that the current all-volunteer force allows the privileged to avoid military service. It promotes a “disconnect” between the military and society. When America’s armed forces go to war, all of America should go to war. If the children of America’s elite faced the prospect of performing military service, perhaps politicians and the captains of industry would take a declaration of war much more seriously.

- Chase.Hamil


Report: Draft would hurt quality of force

By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Jul 20, 2007 11:41:40 EDT

A new congressional report finds little reason to consider a return to a military draft and lots of problems if conscription were restored.

In a report released Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office says drafting people into the Army could make it easier for that service to expand its active-duty force to 547,000 people by 2012, the current goal, and could save a little money in the process, especially if Congress were to reduce basic pay levels for draftees in comparison to pay for volunteers.

However, a force of draftees would be younger and less experienced, which could affect readiness.

“Usually, greater accumulated knowledge and skills come with increased experience,” the report says. “Because most draftees leave after completing a two-year obligation, a draft might affect the services’ ability to perform those functions efficiently.”

A draftee force has higher training costs, but there are savings from lower expenses for advertising, enlistment bonuses and recruiters. But the report says that may not be a wise tradeoff.

“Although including draftees in the force could yield budgetary savings, that force would not be as effective as if the same increase in end strength was achieved using only volunteers because average seniority would fall,” the report says. To get an equally effective force with draftees, the Army would have to be bigger, and bigger is more expensive.

By CBO’s estimates, the military would not need to draft more than 165,000 people a year and could use as few as 27,000. With 2 million men turning 18 in the U.S. each year, the low requirement for draftees could create a problem in deciding who goes and who stays home. And the U.S would have to face the question of whether to draft women, the report notes.

Matthew Goldberg, deputy assistant director of CBO’s national security division, said the report comes at a time when the all-volunteer force created at the end of the Vietnam War is undergoing its biggest test in Iraq, and when there are concerns about whether the military can continue to fill the ranks when at war and whether the force is representative of the nation.

While the services — especially the Army — are having more difficulty recruiting, Goldberg described the problem as “a little bit of slippage in the last two years” that did not reflect any crisis.

And, while people from the lowest and high family incomes in the U.S. are under-represented in the military, data on the people being deployed to the combat zone and the combat casualties do not show that minorities are over-represented, Goldberg said.

If anything, Caucasians are slightly over-represented in both deployments and casualties, according to the report, which also notes that because unemployment rates for white youths have increased more than for black youths in recent years, there could be a trend in which even more white males to consider enlisting.


          7-21-07 - Even as there's talk inside the Pentagon of extending the troop surge in Iraq well into 2008, the U.S. military remains
           in a vise, crushed between the demands of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have made recruiting more difficult. Right now, there
           are only two real ways to extend or even increase the surge: call up more reservists — always tough to do in an election year —
           or extend active-duty combat tours from the current morale-wrecking 15 months to an even more painful 18 months. But Marine
           General Peter Pace, outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs, reassured GIs in Afghanistan this week that 18-month combat tours
           are not, as has been rumored, in their future. "An 18-month tour has zero, zero, none, nada, squat, nothing, no validity, OK?"
           he said. "I want to make sure you got that."


         America's Broken-Down Army

           A TIME investigation into what the Iraq war has done to our fighting force — and what can be done to fix it


           Both Bush and Kerry say no. But with America tied down in Iraq, military officials say they may need more troops to win the war--
           and the next one

           So then what about the third, most controversial option — is it time to reinstitute the draft? That option has a certain appeal as the
          Army fell short of its active-duty recruiting goal for June by about 15%. It is the second consecutive month the service's enlistment
          effort has slipped as public discontent grows over the war in Iraq.

          Bringing back mandatory service has been the refrain of many who want to put the brakes on the Iraq war; if every young man is
          suddenly a potential grunt on his way to Baghdad, the thinking goes, the war would end rather quickly. It's also an argument made
          by those who are uneasy that the burden of this war is being unfairly shouldered by the 1.4-million-strong U.S. military and no one else.
          But a new report from the Congressional Budget Office this week makes clear that resuming the draft would be no panacea.

          The report, requested by Rep. John Murtha, D-Penn., chairman of the defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations
          Committee, says that drafting people could make it easier for the Army to reach its 2012 goal of 547,000 soldiers. It might also
          save some money if Congress opted to pay draftees less than volunteers. But the downside, the report claims, would be a less
          effective fighting force, thanks to a sudden influx of draftees who would remain in uniform for much shorter spells than today's
          all-volunteer soldiers.

          "Usually, greater accumulated knowledge and skills come with increased experience," the report notes. "Because most draftees
           leave after completing a two-year obligation, a draft might affect the services' ability to perform those functions efficiently."
           To maintain the same capability, the CBO suggests, the Army might have to grow, which could eliminate any savings. On the
           other hand, increased training costs for draftees — with less time in uniform, more have to be trained — could be offset by cuts
           in advertising and bonuses now used to entice volunteer recruits.

           The report says that while 91% of last year's recruits were high school graduates, only 80% of U.S. residents aged 18 to 24 have
           attained that level of education. And high school graduates, the military says, make better soldiers than dropouts. The CBO,
           which does not make recommendations but only charts options for lawmakers, estimates that somewhere between 27,000 and
           165,000 would be drafted each year. That relatively small slice — some 2 million males turn 18 each year — could resurrect the
           problems seen in the Vietnam era when deferments and friendly draft boards kept some well-connected young men out of uniform.
           Under current law, women could not be drafted.

           If it doesn't make military or economic sense to launch the draft, what about the notion of fairness? Critics have claimed that
           minorities are over-represented in the all-volunteer military because they have fewer options in the civilian world. The CBO
           disputes that, saying that "members of the armed forces are racially and ethnically diverse." African Americans accounted for
           13% of active-duty recruits in 2005, just under their 14% share of 17-to-49-year-olds in the overall U.S. population. And minorities
           are not being used as cannon fodder. "Data on fatalities indicate that minorities are not being killed [in Iraq and Afghanistan] at
           greater rates than their representation in the force," the study says. "Rather, fatalities of white service members have been
           higher than their representation in the force," in large part because whites are over-represented in the military's combat, as
           opposed to support, jobs.

      US military deserters seek refuge in Canada

            Ian Munro, Toronto
            July 21, 2007
            BEFORE he deserted the US Marines, Dean Walcott rode shotgun on besieged convoys to Baghdad and spent a second Iraq tour
            setting up military communications.

            Even though he was in no imminent danger of returning for a third deployment, he took a Greyhound bus to Canada.

            He is one of dozens of US military deserters hoping to be granted refugee status in Canada under the rule of the United Nations
            Charter on Refugees.

            It was not Mr Walcott's combat experience but his time in a military hospital in Germany that prompted his desertion.

            His route north followed a path taken decades earlier by tens of thousands of Vietnam War draft dodgers and deserters, to Toronto
            and the War Resisters Support Campaign.

            Mr Walcott was in Landstuhl military hospital when the hideously burned survivors of the 2004 Mosul mess tent bombing arrived.
           Some, he says, resembled nothing so much as a lump of coal, still screaming in pain despite the tide of morphine coursing through them.

           "Seeing people in that suffering and pain, if you are going to do that to your country's soldiers and sailors, then there's got to be
            a damn good reason, not just the abstract like this one was," says Mr Walcott, 25.

            He grew tired of trying to answer the questions of young reservists, recovering from the loss of limbs, who wanted to know what
            the heck the war was about.

            Meanwhile, in Canada, two wars and two tales of atrocities against children have driven Lee Zaslofsky, one of that earlier
            generation of deserters.

            The first story helps explain why Mr Zaslofsky deserted the US Army in January 1970, before he was shipped out.

            During his military training, a returned infantryman told Mr Zaslofsky how he saw another US trooper clean his gun and then
            test fire a round into a Vietnamese toddler. Asked why he was killing children, the trooper replied: "Well, they grow up to kill you."

            The other story is of Iraq and was related to Mr Zaslofsky by a new generation deserter, who was on patrol, guarding a highway
            out of Baghdad. Each day the patrol had to check suspected roadside bombs. Done properly it was a long, tedious task.

            The patrol's frustrated sergeant decided to speed things up by cajoling a child with candy to help. The child was killed when it
            approached a suspicious device and it exploded.

             Mr Zaslofsky has offered his support for the man who relayed the tale. The ex-trooper is now in Canada, on the run and sheltered
             by the support campaign.

             US military deserters could face punishment of up to five years' imprisonment if caught.

             Mr Zaslofsky's group is in touch with up to 40 deserters or war-resisters seeking refugee status, but there may be several
             hundred in Canada, he says.

             He does not put his own decision to desert down just to accounts of atrocities, such as the My Lai massacre.

             "I deserted partly because I did not believe in that war (and) partly because I was an infantryman and if I was present at My
             Lai I might join in like all of them. What moved them was a mob feeling of rage," he says.

             Mr Zaslofsky, soon to turn 63, made a new life in Canada, working as a political aide and community activist. But in 2004
             several deserters contacted the Canadian peace movement, and the war resisters group was formed.

             The deserters he sees are mostly young, from late teens to mid-30s, of sergeant's rank or lower. They are deeply disillusioned
              with the war in Iraq, where US military deaths top 3600, a fraction of the 60,000 killed or missing in Vietnam. An estimated
              50,000 Americans sought sanctuary in Canada during the Vietnam conflict, all but a few thousand believed to be avoiding the draft.

              Those seeking refuge from fighting in Iraq are deserters rather than draft dodgers, the draft having been abolished in the 1970s.

              Toronto lawyer Jeff House says he has spoken to 170 individuals hiding in Canada, and he estimates the total of deserters in the
              country at about 250.

               Mr House says the basis of the refugee claims lie in the United Nations charter, which says there is no obligation on a soldier
               to participate in a war begun in violation of international law. A soldier facing punishment for refusing to fight in such a case is
               considered to be facing persecution.

               "We have said that the US Administration violates international law, and condones violation of international law in relation to
               its interrogation policy," Mr House says.

                At 21, Phillip McDowell, formerly of Rhode Island, was just the sort of recruit US President George Bush would embrace.
                Mr McDowell's response to 9/11 was to enlist.

                "I was thinking how we responded to this big event would define us as a nation," Mr McDowell says.

                 But last Saturday Mr McDowell, Iraq veteran, deserter and would-be refugee was outside a Toronto church canvassing
                 support for the resisters and opposition to the war.

                 He would have gone to Afghanistan, he says, but he was not prepared to return to Iraq.

             In response to Monday's letter "Bring back the draft," this motion would be catastrophic.
             As the author wrote, less than 1 percent of Americans are directly involved in the military. There must be a reason why this
             percentage is so low.

             The amount of Americans who are against the war in Iraq is overwhelming, especially in younger generations.

              Perhaps young Americans are ticked off because the federal government will accept them into the military but refuse to provide
              basic health insurance for them or their families.

              As citizens of the richest country in the world, we are taxed heavily but not deserving of universal health care.

              When young adults turn 18, most are unable to stay on their parents' health insurance. These people are forced to make difficult
              decisions, such as going straight into the military (or workforce) so they may receive health care or choosing college and not having
              health care for several years.

              Does the federal government provide any health care for these young adults? The answer is no.

              Why should high school graduates be drafted when the federal government does not take care of something as fundamental as
              health insurance?

              Forcing young adults who are against the war in the first place to join the military would be catastrophic. There are many young
              Americans who would rather sit in jail than be drafted for the war in Iraq. They will resist and revolt against the chance of dying for
              a cause that is not justified in any reliable way.

              Doreen Cameron
              Rochester Township

           Nothing unites the Republican candidates for president or excites the conservative base more than their bellicose barking about
           war and confrontation. The GOP presidential debates often sound like a tough-man competition, with Rudolph Giuliani denouncing
           the "cut-and-run" Democrats, Mitt Romney demanding a double-size Guantánamo detention camp, and the rest of the pack
           struggling to keep pace with the snarling alpha dogs.

           Yet while their rhetoric is invariably loud and aggressive, none of these martial orators has seen a day of military service -- except
           for John McCain, whose prospects are rapidly deflating, and Duncan Hunter, whose campaign never got enough air for a single
           balloon. Unfortunately for those two decorated veterans, their party seems to prefer its hawks to be of the chicken variety.

           None of this may matter much. Most of the Democratic candidates lack military experience, too. But when the most belligerent
           Republicans start to beat the war drums, it's important to look at what they're trying to hide.

            Consider Giuliani, the former New York mayor who has remained among the most vocal supporters of the invasion and occupation
            of Iraq. He never hesitates to suggest that politicians with differing opinions simply lack guts. When he spoke at the 2004
            Republican convention, he gleefully insinuated that Democratic nominee John Kerry lacked the fortitude to combat terrorism.
            Now he denigrates the supposedly spineless Democrats running for president in 2008.

            But he has always confined his enthusiasm for war to podium speeches and position papers. Born in 1944, young Rudy was highly
            eligible for military service when he reached his 20s during the Vietnam War. He did not volunteer for combat -- as Kerry did --
            and instead found a highly creative way to dodge the draft.

            During his years as an undergraduate at Manhattan College and then at New York University Law School, Giuliani qualified
            for a student deferment. Upon graduation from law school in 1968, he lost that temporary deferment and his draft status reverted
            to 1-A, the designation awarded to those most qualified for induction into the Army.

            At the same time, Giuliani won a clerkship with federal Judge Lloyd McMahon in the fabled Southern District of New York,
            where he would become the United States attorney. He naturally had no desire to trade his ticket on the legal profession's fast
            track for latrine duty in the jungle. So he quickly applied for another deferment based on his judicial clerkship. This time the
            Selective Service System denied his claim.

            That was when the desperate Giuliani prevailed upon his boss to write to the draft board, asking them to grant him a fresh
            deferment and reclassification as an "essential" civilian employee. As the great tabloid columnist Jimmy Breslin noted 20
            years later, during the former prosecutor's first campaign for mayor: "Giuliani did not attend the war in Vietnam because
            federal Judge Lloyd MacMahon [sic] wrote a letter to the draft board in 1969 and got him out. Giuliani was a law clerk for
            MacMahon, who at the time was hearing Selective Service cases. MacMahon's letter to Giuliani's draft board stated that
            Giuliani was so necessary as a law clerk that he could not be allowed to get shot at in Vietnam."

            His clerkship ended the following year but his luck held firm. By then President Nixon had transformed the Selective Service
            into a lottery system, and despite Rudy's renewed 1-A status, he drew a high lottery number and was never drafted.

            Today Giuliani's problem is not avoiding military service but explaining how and why he avoided it. A spokesperson for the
            candidate recently told New York magazine that he "has made it clear that if he had been called up, he would have served,"
            which doesn't quite expiate his strenuous efforts to make sure that never happened. Giuliani opposed the Vietnam War for
            "strategic and tactical" reasons as well, according to his flack. Of course, that sounds much like the bipartisan dissent against
            the Iraq war that he now dismisses so contemptuously.

            If Giuliani has a draft problem, Romney's may be even worse. The former Massachusetts governor, whose supporters object
            strenuously to any discussion of his religious beliefs, got his military service deferred thanks to the Mormon church.

            Like Giuliani and millions of other young American men at the time, Romney started out with student deferments. But he left
            Stanford after only two semesters in 1966 and would have become eligible for the draft -- except that the Church of Jesus
            Christ of Latter Day Saints in Michigan, his home state, provided him with a fresh deferment as a missionary. According to
            an excellent investigative series that appeared last month in the Boston Globe, that deferment, which described Romney as
            a "minister of religion or divinity student," protected him from the draft between July 1966 and February 1969, when he enrolled
            in Brigham Young University to complete his undergraduate degree. Mormons in each state could select a limited number of
            young men upon whom to confer missionary status during the Vietnam years, and Romney was fortunate enough to be chosen.
            (Coincidentally, or possibly not, Mitt's father, George W. Romney, was governor of Michigan at the time.) 

            Now Romney echoes Giuliani by asserting that if he had been called, he would have served. "I was supportive of my country,"
            he told Globe reporter Michael Kranish. "I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country
            there and in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam." Perhaps.
            But it is hard to blame Romney for choosing missionary work over military service. After all, the Mormons didn't send him to
            proselytize in the slums of the Philippines, Guatemala or Kenya.

           They sent him to France.

           Immigration reform or Uncle Sam’s green card draft?
           Written by Edmundo Rocha
           Thursday, 28 June 2007

           When it comes to immigration reform, one of the biggest fear many have is that Congress might pass some type of domestic
           policy that is intended to hurt not only the best interest of the nation, but the interest of an immigrant - legal and undocumented -
           who are trying to navigate through this country. Members of Congress have proposed heightened border security, increased
           enforcement of immigration laws, and even the criminalization of undocumented immigrants and those who help them.

           Widely discussed throughout the media and the blogs is how the current immigration reform bill being debated in the Senate would
           create a permanent underclass of indentured slave labor by allowing multinational corporations and independent contractors to hire
           thousands of "guest" workers a year outside the US. However, what is not often discussed or reported is how one of the provisions
           tucked inside the bill would also benefit the military.

           This provision is called the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act or DREAM Act, which would legitimize in-
           state tuition programs and "provide a pathway to obtain permanent residency" to immigrant children who were brought to the
           United States illegally by their parents as children. In other words, the DREAM Act would allow undocumented immigrant to qualify
           for in-state tuition and automatically qualify them for state-funded student financial aid. As things stand, many undocumented
           students have not benefited from the financial aid aspect, because students are required to submit a Free Application for Federal
           Student Aid (FAFSA) application to be considered. However, FAFSA is a federal form and undocumented students are not eligible
           to receive federal student aid.

           Recently, Bryan Bender from the Boston Globe reported how this provision would help boost military recruiting.

A little-noticed provision in the proposed immigration bill would grant instant legal status and ultimately full citizenship to illegal immigrants if they enlist in the US military, an idea the Pentagon and military analysts say would boost the Pentagon's flagging efforts to find and recruit qualified soldiers.

          The reality is that military recruitment is down significantly and there are reports that the Pentagon is wanting to imposing a
          "limited military draft" in order to maintain "its present force levels in Iraq and Afghanistan" according to the British daily
           The First Post
. If the bill were to become law, the provision is expected to improve military recruitment numbers by allowing
           undocumented immigrants to enlist as a means to obtain citizenship. It is evident that current recruitment programs ineffective
           Recently, the Department of Defense announced that the recruitment goals fell short in May and this probably would explain
           why the military urgently wants to have Congress with pass the current immigration reform bill or just the DREAM Act portion
           of the bill. The Army fell short in May by 7 percent, short of its goal of 5,500, while the Army National Guard fell 12% short of
           their goal and the Air National Guard were well below their target by 23 percent. While the DREAM Act may facilitate access to
           college for a small percentage of these undocumented students, the promise of legalization may be a large enough incentive for
           many young Latinas and Latinos to postpone going to college.

           When the immigration bill failed to go through Congress earlier this month, Bill Carr, acting deputy undersecretary of defense
           for military personnel policy, told a veterans’ group that he would like to see Congress fast track the DREAM Act so the military
           could start recruiting undocumented immigrants right away.

"In other words, if you had come across (the border) with your parents, yet you were a minor child and have been in the U.S. school  system for a number of years, then you could be eligible to enlist," he said. "And at the end of that enlistment, then you would be eligible to become a citizen."

           The truth is the US is running out of troops because the war in Iraq has tied down roughly 150,000 US troops continuously for
           almost four years. Now that the Bush is sending another 30,000 troops to Iraq this only makes the troop shortage worse.
           Recruitment is so bad, it was reported that the Army sent its recruiters to Panama City, FL during Spring Break hoping to entice
           some young drunk white co-ed into signing their life away to the Army.

           Currently, between 40,000 and 47,000 non-citizens are serving in the military. According to Emilio Gonzalez, director of the
           Bureau of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, about 40,000 non-citizens are already serving in the military. Another source,
           Defense Manpower Data Center, reports there are 35,000 non-citizens are currently serving on active duty in the US Armed Forces,
           with another 12,000 serving in the Guard and reserves.

           However, only legal residents and green card holders were qualified to serve because the executive order President Bush signed
           2002 only applied to them. If the current bill were to pass, the Defense Department is hoping to see a major boost because the
           expansion of the recruiting pool would now include at least 750,000 youths of military age that could immediately enter the path to
           citizenship in exchange for at least two years of service in the armed forces.

           The idea of having foreigners fight for our war in Iraq is not new. Neo-conservative Max Boot, Council on Foreign Relations
           senior fellow, had previously proposed that the military should enlist and actively recruit foreigners from other countries.

The military would do well today to open its ranks not only to legal immigrants but also to illegal ones and, as important, to untold numbers of young men and women who are not here now but would like to come. No doubt many would be willing to serve for some set period in return for one of the world’s most precious commodities - U.S. citizenship. Open up recruiting stations from Budapest to Bangkok, Cape Town to Cairo, Montreal to Mexico City. Some might deride those who sign up as mercenaries, but these troops would have significantly different motives than the usual soldier of fortune.

           Given the difficulty many undocumented youth will have paying for their college tuition along with the pressure to make financial
           contributions to extended families and coupled with the tendency to adopt uncritical forms of patriotism based on "gratitude;" it
           would be the military would benefit if this bill if it were to become law.

            Many people assume that enlisting in the military is a way out of poverty because the military tends to highlight the few veterans
            who do talk about how their experience in the military and/or the college benefits they received was helpful to them. With few
            prospects of gaining US citizenship through the usual channels, and with little hope of employment, decent housing and education,
            risking ones own life for a glimmer of a chance for a better future clearly holds some attraction. But it does comes with a price.
            The sad reality, for most veterans the promises made by the Government frequently fail to materialize.

            According to the Army Times, reports that over 50,000 unemployed veterans are on the waiting list for the military's "retraining"
            program. The Veterans' Administration estimates that 1/3 of homeless people are vets. It was just recently reported that about
            one-third of the 9.1 million people covered under the military health care system seek counseling in their first year after returning
            from war. Yet, the soldiers who are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan "are finding it more difficult" to receive counseling because
            military insurance is cutting payments to therapists.

            There are still reports that loved ones are still in harms way because many are still without proper armor and are in danger of
             returning home with a debilitating brain injury, missing legs and/or arms, and/or coming back terribly burned all because of the
             roadside bombings that are taking place. However, to the military, it is being downplayed with a “war is hell” mentality, therefore,
             those who are badly injured, well, that is just the consequences of war.

             The US Military has a long history of targeting people who happen to come from working class families and areas with a large
             number of minorities, both urban and rural - otherwise known as a "poverty draft." For some immigrants, the DREAM Act will
             help them get into college; but for others, it might mean risking ones own life to achieve the American Dream. One thing is certain
             - if the immigration bill passes, there will be more parents who will lose their child to a war that is illegal, immoral and unjust. More
             siblings losing their brothers and sisters. And more families morning over the fresh graves that are being dug daily!
In the midst
             of a polarized debate on immigration, politicians and the media continue to paint conflicting pictures of the influence of immigrants
             on our communities and the economy. In an effort to address these problems, the Senate previously hit a roadblock on June 7,
             when the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill that was being considered in the Senate was defeated. . Senators failed to close
             off the debate and move toward a final vote. Just when you thought that immigration was over for the year, President George Bush
             would have none of that. However, George Bush and the Senate backers of the bill are pushing really hard to resurrect it.

             A new immigration bill Senate Bill 1639 was introduced by Senators Ted Kennedy and Arlen Specter earlier this week.

             The new bill is the same as the failed Senate bill Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill that was put together by a small
             group of bipartisan senators working with Bush. This time around, oddly enough, the same Senators who were instrumental in
             defeating the bill are giving life back to the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill by attaching a series of amendments. It
             seems there was a change of heart soon after Bush met with the Republican senators who voted against the bill.

             According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the plan was to submit a series of amendments to the bill to appease their angry
             critics. The bipartisan group is secretly meeting again and once again are withholding information of the proposed changes from
             the American public in order to fast track this bill before the Fourth of July recess. How ironic, isn’t it? More alarming, is how
             the Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid bamboozled the Latino and the immigrant community by devising an
             "elaborate series of procedural maneuvers to allow a test-vote" this week.

             Once again, the Democrats proved themselves to be hypocritical, they are no better than the Republicans they just ousted.
             Reid's procedural maneuvering will give lawmakers even less time for consideration and deliberation than they had before,
             which means they literally will forgo various procedures that are associated in the lawmaking process - hearings, testimony,
             committee debate and amendments, floor debate, and the possibility of further amendments. Instead, this bill will be fast tracked
             through the Senate without a true debate and without providing us a chance to voice our opinions.

             This bill is not a clash pitting nativist forces against big business "pro-immigrant" forces. At the heart of this Senate proposal
             are: (1) further militarization of the border and the expansion of immigrant detention camps; (2) a "guest worker" program that
             will keep immigrants in slave-like conditions; (3) a "legalization" scheme to force undocumented immigrants to jump through
             many hoops to attain permanent residency; and (4) major restrictions on US Citizens and permanent residents to bring family
             members legally into the US, which would result in splitting families apart.

             The proposal calls for new levels in the deployment of border patrol, hi-tech surveillance equipment, and detention of immigrants
             at the border. One of the key changes is to create  of $4.4 billion to a newly created general fund, "
Immigration Security Account,"
             (Section 2 IMMIGRATION SECURITY ACCOUNTS) that would the authorize Homeland Security to increase the militarization
             of the border. The $4.4 billion would come out of the fines and back taxes these undocumented immigrants are required to pay in
             order to apply for a temporary visa (Title VI, Section 611 AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS). The funds would be
             used to construct more walls, build more Concentration Camps, provide more surveillance equipment, develop an employment
             eligibility verification system, increase the number of armed agents on the border and the recruitment of former military troops
             from "the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard who have elected to separate from active duty" (Title I,
             Section 101 ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL).

             The proposed bill would construct 20 new concentration camps that will have the capacity to detain a total of 20,000 individuals
             at any time. Currently, there 22,000 immigrants being detained by the Homeland Security. This would increase the number of
             beds to 6,700 beds, which would make the gain since 1994 virtually fourfold. These detention centers are meant to cage people
             up in an immigration human zoo and categorize them as criminals without trials, "aliens" not deserving of basic human rights.

             It is ironic that every immigrant (legal and undocumented) migrating into the US will be forced to foot the bill to increase the
             militarization at our border that is meant to keep them out. Today, thousands of immigrants who have the desired to have better
             life but do not have means to go through the process are forced to cross through dangerous desert and mountain areas that have
             already lead to hundreds of deaths each year.

             Undocumented immigrants have been made into scapegoats for the insecurities and problems arising out of the workings of the
             capitalist system itself that are hitting most people. Through the reactionary media, the working class and those in the middle-
             class are constantly bombarded with the message that "illegal" immigrants are blamed for everything that has gone wrong in
             this country - from low wages to cuts in social services. This is an ugly game that is being played, it is intended to keep people
             from coming together to stand against the capitalist elites. This bill was seen for what it is once and it was opposed, yet, it is
             being defied and it is once again being pushed with very little notice.

             All this underscores the urgency for immigrants and those who stand with them to resist this capitalist offensive. Those who are
             behind the bill apparently hoped to push it through "under the radar" and pass it without anybody noticing, need to be held
             accountable. There is a real need to build a strong united front that goes beyond the immigrant communities if we are ever to
             take on and defeat the anti-immigrant attacks.

             Download S.1639: The Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007 (PDF, 20 MB) After
             breaking ranks with with other civil rights organizations in 2005 during Alberto Gonzales' nomination for Attorney General, it
             looks like Latino civil rights groups have finally swallowed their pride and admit to themselves that Gonzales was not the
             person they thought he was.

             The most depressing feature of the Gonzales nomination hearings was neither the faux support by the Republicans nor the
             spineless silence of the Democrats – both reveal the predictable inability of most white politicians to talk candidly about race.
             Rather, what most disturbing was the high level of automatic acceptance among Latinas/os. So the question is, when did the
             light go off for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR)?
             According to a New York Times artice, it was when Gonzalez decided to snub them. It is terribly disappointing to see that
             this lackluster excuse as their sole reason to stop supporting him. It totally negates everything Gonzales has done to this
             country, and sounds more as if they are "taking their marbles and going home" because their homeboy Al snubbed them.

             It was obvious a large majority of Latino organizations, such as LULAC, NCLR, National Association of Latino Elected
             and Appointed Officials, US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Latino Peace Officers Association, the Latino
             Coalition and the Hispanic Alliance for Progress Institute selectively refused to see that Gonzales was just another peón
             blindly following his patrón. Gonzales has time and time again, demonstrated both before and during his current tenure as
             Attorney General that he served as President Bush's in-house "yes" man. His role as Bush's peón is only to seek out the
             loopholes in the law in order to uphold, for political or moral reasons, what his boss has already decided to do regardless of
             the nation’s opinion. During his nomination, many Latino activists, were perplexed as to how these organizations could
             consider his short time on the Texas Supreme Court bench (two-years) as experience to be Attorney General? The true
             purpose of affirmative action is to make sure that everyone has the equal opportunity to enjoy America's wealth by
             eliminating all barriers. It was not intended to hire some random unqualified minority just because they happen to be minority.
            The reason affirmative action is being dismantled is that organizations like LULAC and NCLR who abuse it for there own
             political gain. There comes a time we must realize that actions speak louder than words, just look what just happened, the
             person who they strongly advocated for - in the end - decided to turn his back on them. So who will suffer from this blunder?
             We, the Latino community. Now, we are forced to work twice as hard and prove ourselves in order to erase the damage our

             Even if we were to consider him qualified for the position of Attorney General, it is still a mystery how they still could simply
             overlook the draconian policies he has helped put into place. During his time as White House counsel and close advisor to
             President Bush, he:

             With all of this, it should not be surprising of the recent scandal involving Gonzales - the writing was already on the proverbial
             wall for all the world to see. The Times article also mentions that activists have criticized La Raza and LULAC for backing
             Gonzales. They were precise in their assessment. It has been mentioned before by Latino activists, it is one thing to be
             committed and supportive of the Latino community and communities of color, it is another to do it just because he happens
             to be Latino. The truth is Gonzales' interest has always been confined solely to himself rather than to larger Latino

             Gonzales' conservative Republican politics does not allow minorities to have a solidarity - "closing the ranks" - mentality;
             instead, his claim to being Latino is for the purpose of self-promotion, to gain power and prestige. All through his professional
             life, he has championed individual achievement and race-free standards. Now that he is seeing his ship sinking, it is not
             surprising to see him whip out the race card of Latino victimization and Latino solidarity.

             There were only a few who had the courage to publicly say that his appointment was nothing more but an act of cynical
             tokenism concealed by outright lies about Gonzales being the most qualified candidate regardless of race. The fact is Gonzales
             was simply unqualified for the position of Attorney General. The fact no Latino leader could utter publicly that a Latino
             appointee for Attorney General was unqualified shows how captive they are to white-racist stereotypes about Latino
             intellectual talent. There were a few who privately admitted his mediocrity, but they were also quick to point out the
             mediocrity of his processor, John Ashcroft – as if white mediocrity is a justification for Latina/o mediocrity. The argument
             that was made, there are no double standards if one can defend and excuse any unqualified Latino or any other minority
             appointee by comparing them to other unqualified white appointees. This is nothing more but cynical tokenism – with little
             concern about shattering any racist stereotype placed on us or furthering the public interest in the nation.

             Gonzales proved his usefulness by playing the role that was assigned to him, Bush's token Latino. It was nothing more but
             an illusion, a ploy to win the Latino vote and these organizations took the bait – hook, line and sinker. Why did so many of
             them capitulate to Bush's cynical strategy? The answer is simple. Most Latina/o leaders, like other minority leaders, get
             caught up in a vulgar form of racial reasoning: the need for Latino solidarity in the interest of the Latino community in a
             hostile white-racist country.
This line of racial reasoning leads to typical questions regarding Latino loyalty, such as,
             "Is Gonzales a vendido?"; "Is he Brown enough to defend?" and "Is he a coconut?" In fact, these questions continue to
             be asked, debated, and answered throughout the Latino community.

             As long as racial reasoning continues to dominate our action as a community, the Alberto Gonzaleses of the world will
             continue to haunt the Latino community – as Bush and his ilk sit back, watch, and prosper. It does not help the Latino cause
             if people are willing compromise their principles by jumping on every façade bandwagon just because a person can say "Soy
             Latino/a." So how does one go about undermining the framework of racial reasoning? By dismantling each pillar slowly and
             systematically with the aim of replacing racial reasoning with moral reasoning. The Latina/o struggle is not about a person's
             skin color or having a Spanish surname but rather a matter of having ethical principles and wise politics. If it means passing
             up at the chance to have the first Latino (fill in the blank), so be it. It would be better have someone we can be proud of,
             someone who will be a great role model for our community rather than some fake Latino we will no longer mention -
             like Henry Cisneros, Federico Peña, Lauro Cavazos, and Henry Bonilla and we can now add Alberto Gonzales to this list.

             The continuing silence of these organizations is a clear message to the Latino/a community and their allies among people of
             color that they are unwilling to dismantle the framework of racial reasoning. As long as our leaders remain caught in a
             framework of racial reasoning, they will never rise above the manipulative language of Bush and Gonzales. Where there is
             no vision, the people perish; where there is no framework of moral reasoning, people close ranks in a war of all against all.

             Gonzales has to go for the sake of the nation. It is about time, our Latino civil rights groups have finally seen the light, but
             there is much more that must be done if Americans are to survive with any moral sense.

             In nearly every category that measures social well-being, the conditions of racially oppressed people have worsened. In the
             communities of the African American, Latino, Asian American, Native American, and other nationally and racially oppressed
             peoples the situation is at crisis levels. Adding another blow, the xenophobic resident of Farmers Branch, TX has approved
             by a 68% - 32% vote an ordinance that would fine landlords and property managers $500.00 for renting to the undocumented.
             However, what occurred in Farmers Branch is not unusual - it is one of America's best guarded secrets. Towns such as
             Farmers Branch are often called "sundown towns" - where communities systematically exclude people of color - mainly
            African Americans - from living in it.

            A practice that began in the South in 1864 and later adopted by thousands of towns across the US in the late 1890s and
            continuing until 1968, where whites across the US conducted a series of racial expulsions, driving thousands of blacks from
            their homes to make communities lily-white. Some towns went as far as putting signs outside the city limits that normally
            said "N****r, Don't Let the Sun Go Down on You in __," according to James Loewen in
            Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism. But sometimes, the signs never came out expressing their
            hatred and tried to be a bit clever in their messages such as, "If You Can Read ... You'd Better Run ... If You Can't Read ...
            You'd Better Run Anyway."
The signs are gone now but they are a part of America's racist past, signs that could be found
            along the highway outside the city limits or county line. Just because the signs are gone, does not mean these practices do
            not exist today.

            When one mentions Jim Crow, one often thinks of segregation and a problem that only occurred in South, with the exclusion
            of African Americans from private and public institutions in the Southeastern US. The truth is, the Southwest was produced
            through the practices of Jim Crow, which did not only rely race, but also on language and culture inextricably linked to race.
            The history of Mexican Americans and Jim Crow in the Southwest demonstrates how state officials used discriminatory
            practices in terms of language and culture for most of the twentieth century, even when they were engaging in explicit racial

            In California, Mexican Americans as well as Asian Americans, Native Americans, and African Americans were prohibited
            from white schools. Although, Loewen's book chronicled the history of thousands of all-white "sundown" towns and suburbs
            across the West and North, a reader might get the impression that these towns only kept out African Americans, however,
            this is not true, many of these towns also kept out Asian Americans and Mexican Americans. Loewen wrote:

  Other towns passed ordinances barring African Americans after dark or prohibiting them from owning or renting property;
  still others   established such policies by informal means, harassing and even killing those who violated the rule. Some
  sundown towns similarly kept out Jews, Chinese, Mexicans, Native Americans, or other groups.

            In Texas in the 1930s and 1940s, as in much of the Southwest and California, most Mexican-American children attended,
            separate schools; by 1930, 90% of South Texas schools were segregated. In agricultural areas, many Mexican-Americans
            lived in "company towns" like the Taft Ranch and the King Ranch. In northern and southern Colorado, companies created
            "company towns" where the "Others" could be hidden from view. Those who lived in these towns included poor working
            class whites, African Americans, and Latinos, along with immigrants from Asia and central and Eastern Europe.

            In Texas, Mexicans were regarded as subhuman, lower than dogs or worse. On cattle drives to the railroad loading docks,
            there was a clear "racial" hierarchy between Mexicans and Anglos; the former were the workers, and the latter, the bosses.
            What is often lost because of the legendary "kineños" fairy tale, is that not all ranches and "company towns" provided the
            same living conditions like the King Ranch. It was very typical to find deplorable living conditions on Texas ranches where
            both Mexican and "white" laborers were employed, the Mexican workers were paid one-third less than "any white man."

            Mexican-Americans were also discriminated against in jury selection and in voting and were often shut out of public
            accommodations like swimming pools, theaters, pharmacies, restaurants, shops, banks and schools together with African
            Americans. At white restaurants, Mexicans could not stay in the premises and were required leave with their purchases.
            School segregation was established, reflecting the established general pattern of racial discrimination. Not only were
            Mexicans forced into segregated inferior schools, few of them were admitted to high schools.

            According to historian David Montejano, in Texas, the general tendency for racial segregation against Mexican Americans
            was to use ethnicity and national prejudice as a basis for separation and control the same way the segregationists in the
            South used it against African Americans during the same period. Thus, Mexican-Americans suffered many of the same
           Jim Crow practices as African Americans.

            Because most people today equate Jim Crow with racial discrimination, it has now allowed towns like Farmers Branch, TX
            to defend cultural discrimination and distinguish it from discrimination on the basis of race. The history of the twentieth-
            century Southwest shows why we cannot prohibit racial discrimination while allowing cultural discrimination. Because racism
            has expressed itself in cultural terms, race and culture cannot be disaggregated without ignoring the way cultural
            discrimination reinforces racial hierarchy.

 The pre-dawn pounding at the door startles the family out of its sleep.  “Police!” a voice bellows from the other side. 
  Maybe a family member or neighbor is in trouble, maybe there’s an emergency in the neighborhood.  The door’s
  unlatched and opened, and federal agents burst through.  They grab the mother, handcuff her, and disappear her into
  the night.

 Agents in riot gear seal off the factory, locking doors and windows, and, pointing military rifles at the employees, sort
  them into two groups.  One group is dragged out and dispersed to prisons a thousand miles away.  Older sisters lead
  their younger siblings through local jails looking for a parent.  A nun roams detention facilities clutching a nursing
  baby, trying to find the child’s mother.  It takes weeks and a lawsuit before lawyers and family members learn where
  all the workers have been taken.

 The imprisoned have only two choices: struggle through a legal process they barely understand with official assurances
  they won’t succeed and might endanger the rest of their family, or go into self-imposed exile abroad, away from their
  wife, husband, sons, and daughters, from their home and their community.

            This is not the extraordinary rendition of fingered terrorist suspects in some faraway land.  This is the increasingly
            ordinary rendition of migrants from within the United States.  Meanwhile, the Democratic Party-controlled Congress touts
            a new plan for "comprehensive immigration reform," itself hardly better than the forced-labor Bracero program of five
            decades ago.  And this time, the migrants will pay for their own exploitation.  These are the options offered migrants in the
            U.S. today.

            And so it's happening again.  On May 1st, 2007, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, will stand up to the anti-migrant
            tide, against the raids and deportations, against punitive and terroristic "immigration reform."  Migrants and those with
            recent migrant roots, will emerge from invisible communities and underground economies to demand dignity and justice
            from a government that is offering only a choice between which oppression it will unleash on them.  And they have an
           answer: stop the raids and deportations, and legalization for all immigrants now.

            The U.S. House of Representatives, where the Sensenbrenner bill originated, has offered the migrants an untenable
            conundrum, a choice between poisons: continue living with the fear of imminent deportation and separation, or accept the
            Gutierrez-Flake proposal, officially called the STRIVE Act (Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant
            Economy) of 2007 and dismissed on the streets as the Son of Sensenbrenner.  In short, the Gutierrez-Flake bill gives
            Republicans nearly every punitive measure they flouted in the original Sensenbrenner proposal, and it gives migrants a
            rocky, uphill, nearly impossible climb to citizenship.

            On Tuesday, there will be marches, rallies, vigils, and boycotts in the largest cities and tiniest hamlets.  Small businesses
            will shut down, traffic will be detoured, employees will mysteriously fall ill, students will cut classes or make their way home
            a few hours later than usual.  And on this side of the racial and economic divide, almost nobody knows it's happening,
            except for alert economic advisers, wary policy wonks, and savvy political candidates.  But powers-that-be are watching
            carefully, after last year's protests shut down the onerous Sensenbrenner anti-migrant bill in the House, stalling
            immigration reform indefinitely and forcing the Republican juggernaut to a standstill.

            Likely they have already noticed that independent truckers have forced the Los Angeles Port Authority to declared May
            Day 2007 a holiday, to avoid the fines and penalties for an migrants' rights strike.  Last year's May Day strike for migrants'
            rights shut down more than 90% of the port's shipping.  In claiming victory, Ernesto Nevarez proclaimed, "We forced them
            to recognize May Day."

           The Bush administration has been fierce in its backlash to last year's demonstrations and legislative shutdown.  After
           massive numbers of people protested in 2006, Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids took the place of failed
           Congressional mandates.  In Midwest cities, ICE agents wristbanded workers at the point of assault weapons to signal who
           was "foreign" and who was "domestic";  the "foreign" workers were shipped to detention camps across the country.  After
           the Swift & Co. raids, whole cities rallied to take in abandoned children, and the news couldn't ignore wives begging ICE for
           word of their husbands' fate for months without response.  So ICE learned to keep the raids small but frequent and harsh, to
           strike at small towns and farmlands.  Now, ICE agents burst into homes in early morning hours to roust sleeping families and
           drag parents away from cringing, terrified children.  People who's "crime" of entering the U.S. without a visa is subject to a
           $50 fine are dragged off to private prisons for being in the vicinity of ICE sweeps for felons.  Farmers in North Dakota are
           handcuffed and helplessly overlook vacant fields after thirty-six ICE agents cart away thirteen workers at gunpoint. 
           Rumors persist of bicyclers dragged away and ICE raids on public busses.  Two hundred children wear prison uniforms and
           languish in cells 23 hours a day at the T. Don Hutto facility in Taylor, Texas.  These and other nightmares spread in whispers
           through migrant-descent communities, while ICE gives the media nothing but local stories to report.

            Not surprisingly, in the two months leading up to this year's May Day protests, the detentions have intensified.  Armed,
            warrantless home invasions have left hundreds of families shattered.  People have been hauled out of pizza joints, and
            "Latino-looking" shoppers at a Chicago mall were lined up against a wall at gunpoint, while white shoppers walked away. 
            The Department of Homeland Security's notorious raid and deportation program, Operation Return to Sender, brags that it
            has imprisoned 18,000 people since its inception eleven months ago.

            Last year in Asheville, NC, thousands of people took to the streets.  This year, organizers plan a quieter vigil.  Danielle
            Fernandez of "We Are One America," explains, "There's an unspoken anti-immigrant sentiment in Asheville.  We heard
            reports of people being ticketed and fired from their jobs for participating in last year's march.  But we have to be seen,
            as much as it scares us.  What's happening here is intolerable."  But she adds, "It [the abuse of migrants] has brought the
            Latino community together.  When I was walking in the marches, a counterprotestor tapped me on the shoulder and said,
            'Learn English, or go home.'  This whole hoopla is based on appearance."  Fernandez is a third-generation U.S. citizen,
            descended from Basque migrants.

            For the government and its corporate interests, the point of enticing undocumented workers to the U.S. is to hold hostage
            a workforce that can't agitate, one that is blackmailed into political and economic silence even as its labor is exploited for
            bosses and businesses.  But these migrants--from Mexico, Korea, Guatemala, Russia, Ireland, Poland, Nigeria--have not
            been invisible enough.  They've brought new looks and sounds, different energies, and a darker complexion to their new
            country, and they take to the streets to demand humane treatment.  Other people, born and raised in the long shadow of
             "Father Knows Best" and "Leave It To Beaver," are uncomfortable, and so the newcomers must be intimidated back
             into silence and invisibility.  Hence, Operation Return to Sender, government doublespeak that lays the blame for global
             migration on foreign economies torn to shreds by U.S. trade policies.

            Joy Marie Dunlap and Jennaya Dunlap, a mother-daughter team, have dropped off six hundred flyers at the high school,
            churches, and grocery stores in Romoland, CA, population 2000.  They hope a hundred people will rally with them at 2nd St.
            and Highway 74.  Joy Marie Dunlap says the point is that "They’ll be on notice that Romoland has a voice.  There's little
            white support for Latinos here, but our family's motto is 'Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you.'  If we
            don’t stand up for others, who will stand up for us?"  Her daughter adds, "We have friends in the Latino community here
            who’ve worked hard all their lives and have nothing to show for it.  Here we are back at the civil rights times, only this time
            it’s the Latinos.”

            But government intimidation and oppression doesn't work when the pain it inflicts outstrips the fear it generates.  For
            migrants, that pain is family separation.  Since the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Bill, the Israeli-style border walls
            complete with drone aircraft and razor wire, and increasingly violent Border Patrol tactics, seasonal immigration and
            emigration of undocumented workers is too risky, too likely to end in exposure, dehydration, and death in the desert. 
            Crossing to the U.S. now means family migration and growing, intergenerational communities.  And deportation now means
            heart-wrenching choices that divide families according to citizenship.  Some, like the Miranda-Munoz family chronicled by
            the L.A. Times, leave their children in the U.S.  Others, like Elvira Arellano, defy all the might of the state's deportation
            order for each day with her son, on May 1 breaking a 25-day hunger-strike in the sanctuary Adalberto United Methodist
            Church in Chicago.  Others take their children away from homes, neighborhoods, friends, and schools to keep their family
             intact, to a country where those children confront unfamiliar customs and languages unpracticed since pre-school.  The
             pain of homeland terrorism, the war on migrants, has outstripped the fear.

             In Washington, DC and Los Angeles, hunger strikers maintain a vigil with Arellano, and on Sunday in Los Angeles,
             according to organizer Javier Rodriquez, a Youth March from La Placita Church to City Hall will highlight "children and
             families affected by racist deportations."  The children will demand, "Legalize my parents."  Rodriquez, along with Gloria
             Saucedo of    Hermandad Mexicana Nacional and others, are now in the seventh day of a fourteen-day fast.  They anticipate
             thousands will join them in one-day fasts. The Los Angeles Police Department is planning for 400,000-person convergence
             on Olympic and Broadway on Tuesday morning.

             As Justin Akers Chacon has summarized in "H.R. 1645 (The STRIVE ACT): Image and Reality of 'Comprehensive
             Immigration Reform'," this version of immigration reform would massively expand the militarization of the border, including
             actively recruiting ex-military with border enforcement experience in war zones into the ranks of the Border Patrol.  Like the
             original Sensenbrenner bill, migrants who cross the border without papers, currently a $50 civil violation, will be criminalized,
             subject to 6 months in prison, and employer enforcement and penalties will increase.  Local law enforcement will be paid to
             train and equip themselves to turn over migrants to federal authorities.

             At 4:00 pm EDT, ralliers will gather at Malcolm X Park, 16 St NW and Euclid St, in DC to demand that the District of
             Columbia declare itself a sanctuary city, that the city prohibit police for detaining people on suspicion of illegal entry, that all
             migrants be legalized, and that deportations end.

             The much-touted "amnesty" for migrants already within U.S. borders requires that these low-paid workers leave the country
             and return, pay two thousand dollars in fines, prove a consistent work history in the U.S., pay back taxes unless they can
             establish a withholding record for years of past employment, and take classes until they are fluent in English.  Citizenship could
             take up to fifteen years.

             Only 400,000 "New Worker" H-2C visas are scheduled for issuance in the first year of implementation, with future adjustments
             based on business demand for fresh labor.  The visa would cost the visa holder an application fee, now priced at $1000, and up
             an additional, punitive $500 fine.  In comparison, for technological and other highly skilled occupations, an H-1B visa costs the
             visa holder $500, while $1000 is paid by the employer.  In spite of claims of portability, these "New Workers" effectively would
             be bound to an employer for the three-year duration of the visa and tracked by an “Alien Employment Management System." 
             If the worker is fired by a vindictive boss or leaves their job and does not have an approved job waiting, they face deportation.

             According to Dave Schmidt of Se Se Puede Coalition, "This bill incorporates some of the most odious elements of the
             Sensenbrenner Bill.  It’s a step backwards.  It still has the criminalization element of the Sensenbrenner bill.  The people hear
             it’s from the Democrats, and they think it’s the best they can get.  But it’s a common thing in Latin America, people really
             think pretty radically.  The answer, if you don’t want people dying in the desert, you allow a humane immigration policy that
             allows people to work humanely."  Si Se Puede Coalition is coordinating a march from San Diego State College to Presidio
             Park on Tuesday.

             Migra Matters notes that this Son of Sensenbrenner bill separates those who overstay their visas from those who entered
             without papers, targeting Mexican and Central American migrants.  It allows broader use of indefinite detention--
             imprisonment without a sentence--for lack of government paperwork than proposed in the 2006 Sensenbrenner proposal, and
             a fifteen-year prison term for misuse of identification.  And the sweeps won't end if the bill is passed: the Gutierrez-Flake bill
             provides for building twenty more detention facilities, and a total of 20,000 beds.

            Buffalo Forum in New York sponsored a teach-in on the proposed legislation last week.  Kathy Chandler says they're planning
            a hundred-person march on May 1st from the high school to a nearby park, and a caravan from there to the ICE facility to
            continue their protest.

            For people who've struggled for years at seasonal, contract, and day labor, often for less than minimum wage and sometimes
            for fly-by-night employers, the burden in most cases will be too much to overcome.  Fruit vendors on the turnpike entrance,
            day laborers, cleaning women, farm workers shunted from site to site by contractors, face insurmountable hurdles.  The cost
            of the "New Worker" visa alone amounts to roughly 16% of the annual minimum wage of $9750 after federal taxes, making
            saving or helping overseas families less than unlikely.  But the ultimate insult is what a New York migrant activist called the
            "modern-day slavery" of being tied to the whim of an employer, nothing more than the old Bracero program returned, only
            this time, workers will pay for their own exploitation.

            The incentives to work in the U.S: making money for impoverished family members, the freedom to move up the economic
            ladder, putting together a nest egg, all evaporate under Gutierrez-Flake.  The carrot of legal status is nearly impossible to
            grasp.  The penalties for failure to do so are immense.  And the choice between Gutierrez-Flake compliance and more
            deportations is a choice only between instruments of punishment.

            Panama Alba, a New York City activist, isn't worried that this year's numbers may be fewer than last year's.  "We don't
            have the media backing.  They've been told to keep their mouths shut.  [The migrants] only have a voice in the streets, so
            they go to the streets.  But it's not about numbers.  They've tried to shut us down.  In light of the raids, any migrant who
            steps into the streets is a hero or heroine."  What's driving them?  "People are forced to emigrate for lack of work. 
            Otherwise, they will die.  Fourteen men were rescued last December trying to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Senegal to
            New York City in a 50-foot boat, in search of work.  Every other week we hear of the death or injury of a construction
            worker in New York, because the bosses don't follow safety rules.  Any guestworker program is bullshit, it's not acceptable. 
            We demand full legalization for all who are here."  The May 1st Coalition New York is marching from Union Square to the
            Federal Building and immigration center at Foley Square.

            In Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Ashland, San Diego, Romoland and dozens of other cities, town, and villages
            on May 1st, businesses will be closed and the streets will be jammed again, although perhaps not so densely as before, with
            the outcry of the people forgotten in the equation of  "compromise."  As chambers of commerce negotiate with nativist
            Congresspeople to find common ground, on May 1 the people will give them their answer.  It will be one neither the
            corporations, the Administration, nor the Congress want to hear.  It is a simple demand for freedom and family, and for the
            legal recognition and protections afforded to all other human beings in the U.S.  The question is, who will listen?

           William Shakespeare once wrote, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
           " What's in a name? Plenty, when the lives of millions of immigrants of color are at stake. Here, Shakespeare and subjects
           like love are not applicable. Here, the name game attains far greater importance than in besotted Romeo's speeches.

           Endgame is a term used in chess; it is the last stage of the game after a series of moves and are ready to use your remaining
           primary pieces to take advantage of the weaknesses that you created in your opponent's defense. The new Immigration and
           Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids that are paralyzing immigrant communities of color across the US are part of
           Operation Endgame, the massive immigration enforcement operation launched by the Department of Homeland Security
            (DHS) in 2003. The obvious question, what does chess have to do with immigration? The appropriate response to this question,
            a lot.

            Image making is one of the new weapons of modern warfare; it used to construct the governments rationalization for their
            military practices. Since the first Gulf War, major US operations have been nicknamed with an eye toward shaping domestic
            and international perceptions about the copious undertakings they describe. When it comes to the game of chess, there is
            more to mere game than meets the eye. For those who do not play chess, it may seem like a standard game; pieces moving
            back and forth on a square checkered chessboard with the aim to checkmate the opponent's king; but to the strategist it is
            all about intimidating their opponent by toying with fears and illusions that eerily mirrors the outside world of the human
            condition. In chess, the pieces are limited in their movement on the board. Worse, as in the real world, the white pieces have
            the upper hand because it always has the first opening moves of a game, in essence, the goal is to create a dynamic imbalance
            between the two sides by continuing and increasing the advantage conferred by moving first. And like the real world, there
            are times when the black pieces has an opportunity to be in control, however, the white pieces will eventually have no other
            alternative but to respond to the situation.

             If major US operations are nicknamed to reveal the logic behind their strategic goals, then it safe to assume that the current
             named operations being used under
Endgame was meant to dehumanize and criminalize undocumented migrants working in
             the US. The table below is short a list of immigration raids conducted by ICE since
Endgame began, however, I also included
             two significant raids that were conducted by the old Immigration and Naturalization Services (Pre-ICE) that were conducted
             right after 9/11.

             42002 Utah - 69 Latinos workers Salt Lake City Airport 100 airports across the country 200,000 workers were questioned
             only 350 detained
Endgame 2004 561 immigrants - five-state area comprised of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas
             and Tennessee
Operation Community Shield 2005 Nationwide - 1,300 Salvadoran suspected to be with MS-13 gang only 43
             were actual gang members
IFCO Raid 2006 Nationwide - April 2006 1,187 were picked up in a nationwide worksite raid
             targeting IFCO Systems North America, Inc. ("IFCO"), the largest pallet services. Locations were in: Alabama, Arizona,
             Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota,
             Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, South
             Carolina, Virginia and Utah.
Operation Wagon Trail 2006/7 Nationwide - 1,297 were picked from Swift & Company packing
             company only 274 were arrested and 649 were deported
Operation Return to Sender 2007 Nationwide - over 18,000
             undocumented immigrants in cities throughout the US have been picked up.

             The ongoing Operation "Return to Sender" does nothing but dehumanize them, so it can remove their likeness to us, our
             ability of identify with them. As history repeats itself, there are now instances in this country where the majority are now
             desensitized, void of humanity, and are now using derogatory words towards minority groups to perpetuate the belief in the
             inherent superiority of one race over all others and thereby the right to dominance ("coons," "wetbacks," "ragheads,"
             "chinks"). And like George Orwell's Oceania, new words are created to debase or dehumanize the enemy ("gooks," "japs,"
             "krauts," "pinkos") enabling a speedy transition to bypass the instinctive moral apprehension to do harm against another.

              Part of the reason has to do with our mainstream media. Journalists know how imagery plays a crucial role in what deeply
              affect people's emotions and subsequent actions/reactions (just ask CNN, MTV, psychiatrists, etc.). In today's "age of
              imagery," Latinas ARE dehumanized as they are defined into two categories: the virginal señorita or the hot tempered
              and oversexed Latina spitfire; while Latinos are often portrayed as the smooth "Latin lover" or your typical janitor,
              drug lord and gang banger. It's incredulous to think that people like Lou Dobbs are unaware of such nuances and effect
              of their words they use to "editorialize" their "immigration news."

             At this time Operation "Return to Sender" has resulted in the indiscriminate roundup of over 18,000 immigrants, which
             over one-third of them were not even the people being targeted. According to the figures reported by a Lawton, OK news
             station KSWO, since the time ICE's "Operation Return to Sender" began in May 06, roughly "37% of the cases were
             'collateral' captives - people who happened to be present when agents arrived."

             Couched in pro-worker terms, Endgame is just a piece that is part of a neo-liberal strategy to exploit mainly millions of
             Mexican and Central American laborers as transient servants through a national guest worker program.
Endgame began
              in 2003 and is scheduled for completion by 2012. Their is an ongoing debate to pass legislation for a national guest worker
              program. The project clearly establishes proof of the developing the strategy to exploit Latin American labor.
Endgame is
             an expanded version of "Operation Wetback." The economic goals of both operations is the same - exploit the desirable
             workers in servitude and mass removal of undocumented Latin American migrants from the US. The scope of
             however, includes the short-term deportation project of 1954:

   The DRO strategic plan sets in motion a cohesive enforcement program with a ten-year time horizon that will build the
   capacity to "remove all removable aliens," eliminate the backlog of unexecuted final order removal cases, and realize
   its vision.


"Within ten years, the Detention and Removal Program will be able to meet all of our commitments to and mandates
 from the President, Congress, and the American people."

               The Detention and Removal Operation (DRO) facilities operated by ICE under DHS is the infrastructure needed to monitor
               and enforce the national guest worker program in the US will eventually be the largest mass deportation in world history. To
               strategy behind the "remove all removable aliens" logic is designed to locate, arrest, detain, and deport an excess of twelve
               million people. The expansion of these facilities that will be needed to detain and remove tens of millions of undocumented
               migrants is already in place or under development. In short,
Endgame is the widespread assault on established communities
               of undocumented migrants already living and working in the US.

               One of the arguments sycophant nativists accuses undocumented workers of doing is crossing the border and stealing jobs
               from hard-working Americans. However, the order of events is demonstrably the reverse. Politics by definition is about
               compromises and tactical alliances, and one such alliance involves Corporate America. Something is clearly not right when
               unions, progressives, and liberals are in bed with Corporate America.

               At a time of growing concern about the economic, environmental, and social costs of immigration, as well as new concerns
               about threats to national security, their arguments is that is that immigrants are good for the economy because they expand
               the domestic consumer market, increase business productivity, and keep the US economy competitive in the worldwide
               market. The relentless demand for cheap labor by transnational corporations is the root of our problem. The innocuous
               term, "guest worker," obscures the true nature of transient servitude. The word would suggest that a person would be
               greeted with open arms and would be treated kindly, but this labor program offers no kindness or generosity to the worker
               who is caught in a modern day "slave" trap.

               According to Richard D. Vogel, the program will be conducted primarily by private corporations that are only interested in
               the bottom line of profits for their stockholders and huge salaries and bonuses for their managers and executives, and it will
               be enforced by the unprecedented power of the US government.

               However, more troubling is when we have our own Latina/o "leaders" urging us, begging us, to entrust the very people who
               are exploiting the millions of Mexican and Central American laborers. Arguing for a National "guest worker" program will
               not eliminate the "immigration problem," it will only further undercut the value of all labor in the US. By failing to distinguish
               the difference between immigration reform motivated by a desire for cheap labor and immigration reform advocated to attain
              a just society does not help our cause.

              The Gutierrez-Flake bill being proposed is similar to the old Bracero Program. The Bracero Program was an indentured
              servitude program which allowed for the temporary migration of Mexican agricultural workers to the United States from
              1942 to 1964. is important because of its impact on the lives of millions of Mexican workers.

    The bracero contracts were controlled by independent farmers associations and the "Farm Bureau." The contracts were in
    English and the braceros would sign them without understanding their full rights and the conditions of employment. When the
    contracts expired, the braceros were required to turn in their permits and return to Mexico. The braceros could return to their
     native lands in case of an emergency, only with written permission from their boss.

               Ultimately, over 4.6 million Mexican citizens entered the United States under the Bracero Agreement, providing an
               abundant supply of cheap workers for US agriculture as long as it was needed. Though the program provided desperately
               needed jobs to Mexican workers, the bracero experience was characterized by poverty wages, substandard working
               conditions, social discrimination, and lack of even the most basic social services for braceros and their families. Calling the
               Bracero Program by another name - Gutierrez-Flake bill - does not make it different.

               That reality is, we are living in a post-industrial society where our corporate and government leaders have abandoned US-
               based production in field after field, including civilian shipbuilding, railways, computers, and other capital goods, as well as
               apparel, consumer electronics, and myriad other consumer goods. The expectant quest for "opportunity" has retreated to
               an angry claim to "entitlement." America has become the Land of Entitlement. Now that we have fallen on hard economic
               times and looking to see the root cause of this problem. It is not surprising to find most Americans who selfishly believe that
               they have the right to maintain living in a lifestyle rich in material comforts, and to do so, many want to displace other families
               not just for their pursuit of happiness, but its guarantee to continue in their illusion.

               We are living in one of the most ideological epochs in the history of humankind. Few people in America genuinely believe,
               despite the astute observations of millions of individuals around the world, is that we are living in an empire, and we are no
               longer living in a democracy. Every last semblance of democracy in our country that, in our desperate denial, we leave our
               claw marks on, is vanishing with each tick of the clock. Despite the clamor in Congress from both conservatives and liberals
               for a national guest worker program, it is a reactionary policy with catastrophic economic, social, and political ramifications.

               Deporting all those without residency papers and walling the US just to retain the present standard of living would only isolate
               us from the rest of the world by creating a Fortress America. Doing this would create an ironic consequence, the economy
               would not only crash therefore turning itself into type of third world country that is so despised by the nativists.

               ALL VOLUNTEERS
             July 20, 2007
             CBO Weighs In on the All-Volunteer Force
             by Tim Kane, Ph.D.
             WebMemo #1561

          The Congressional Budget Office has released a major study[1] of the U.S. military's demographics under an all-
             volunteer framework versus the draft. The idea of reinstating the draft was a hot-button issue last November
             when Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY), a leader and committee chairman in the newly elected Democratic
             majority, vocalized his intent to once again make conscription the law of land. Called on by Congress to assess
             the matter, CBO offered new findings, which dispassionately deflate the notion that America's All-Volunteer Force
             (AVF) is inferior to a conscripted force by any measure: effectiveness, cost, troop quality, retention, morale,
             and even social fairness.

           Rising Levels of Concern

              Last autumn, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) commented to college students in California that without doing your
              homework, "you get stuck in Iraq." It created a media circus, with Senator Kerry getting blame for what has in
              reality been a long-standing belief that military enlistees are a lower quality group than the civilian population,
              though often couched in softer socioeconomic terms. Five years ago, Representative Rangel wrote that a
              "disproportionate number of the poor and members of minority groups make up the enlisted ranks of the
              military." The stereotype was given another boost by Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. One notorious scene
              tracked Marine recruiters, with Moore's overtone: "Where would [the military] find the new recruits? They would
              find them all across America in the places that had been destroyed by the economy. Places where one of the
              only jobs available was to join the Army." The stereotype entered the mainstream in a front-page Washington
article on November 4, 2005: "[T]he military is leaning heavily for recruits on economically depressed, rural

               To its great credit, the CBO takes on this challenge with its exhaustive report, "The All-Volunteer Military:
               Issues and Performance." The CBO aims to address three main concerns in light of prolonged combat in Iraq
               and Afghanistan: "that not enough troops will be available to accomplish the military's missions; that service
               members and their families are experiencing continued, significant hardships not shared by the rest of the U.S.
               population; and that less-affluent people are more likely to be serving . . ."

               The study provides excellent, fact-filled coverage of the first two concerns, which many military professionals
               share. Regarding the third concern, CBO shows the stereotype of less-affluent enlistees to be lacking in
               substance. In sum, it firmly supports the findings of multiple studies by The Heritage Foundation[3] and lands
               strongly in support of policymakers that want to preserve the AVF.

            The CBO's Findings

                Volunteer service members have a lower turnover rate and higher morale; this has implications for cost
                reduction. The CBO notes that the only way to reduce costs with involuntary conscripts is to reduce pay.
                Volunteers normally sign up for four- to six-year enlistments, versus the two-year conscriptions allowed by
                the Selective Service Act. The continuation rate of today's enlisted troops has varied between 82.4 to 84.5
                percent in recent years, and the CBO estimates that an annual crop of up to 90,000 new Army volunteers--;
               10,000 more than current goals--;may be necessary to expand the overall force by 2012 as planned. If a draft
                is used as an alternative to grow the force, nine out of 10 draftees are likely to leave after their initial two-year
                enlistment. A draft involves new expenses as well, not to mention consequences for quality. The high turnover
                rate would also severely disrupt U.S. goals to grow long-term capabilities, which starts with a stable force

                 Data-rich charts in the CBO study shine light on the quality of recruits: (1) Non-prior-service (NPS) recruits
                 with high school diplomas rose from under 70 percent in 1973 to above 90 percent in every year after 1985;
                 and (2) the percentage of enlistees in the lowest two intelligence test categories is roughly one-tenth in the
                 AVF what it is in the civilian population, and is one-seventh what it was in the draft-era enlisted force. These
                 are consistent with the educational findings in reports from The Heritage Foundation.

             Spicing the Numbers

                 Despite the wide agreement between the studies, the CBO takes pains to say that another study by the
                 National Priorities Project (NPP) is "consistent" with its own, even though NPP was one of the originators of
                 the low-income stereotype. The CBO report then goes out of its way to disagree with Heritage, concluding
                 not with a refutation of the stereotype that motivated its study, but with the following statement: "Neither
                 of the [CBO or NPP] studies is consistent with the Heritage Foundation's conclusion that recruits come
                 disproportionately from the top 40 percent of the income distribution."

                This is an odd note that is off-key with the substantive message in the other 48 pages. The data from all three
                studies are quite similar, showing that in the modern military, the poorest and wealthiest youth populations
                are underrepresented while the middle-class is overrepresented.[4] As a matter of fact, the CBO even shows
                that recruits with parents in the wealthy 75th-;90th percentile range are overrepresented. Where the studies
                differ is how they cut the data and spice it up. CBO, to its credit, has no spice, which makes its final sentence
                all the more puzzling.

                NPP, in contrast, is heavily spiced. "Lower and middle-income communities experience higher military
                enlistment rates than higher income areas," declared NPP's original November 2005 study. This is
                demonstrably false, using NPP's own data and charts. Greg Speeter, NPP's Executive Director, said, "this data
                makes clear that low- and middle-income kids are paying the highest price." Even now, the NPP Web site says,
                "In other words, neighborhoods with low- to middle-median household incomes are over-represented." This
                claim is stunning in its boldness, appearing directly above a chart showing that the poorest income bracket
                has an enlistment rate roughly one-third the national norm.

                Turning now to Heritage, the second chart in its 2006 report shows the percentage point difference between
                 the median incomes of recruits' "home of record" neighborhoods and the equivalent civilians in 20 income
                 brackets up to $100,000+. The chart shows a clear bubble of over-representation from middle-class
                 neighborhoods while the tail ends of the graph are underrepresented. But the wealthy tail is very lightly
                 populated, which is why Heritage emphasizes population quintiles instead. Heritage cut the data so that
                 each income class, from poorest to richest, was based on the same population size.

                 The Heritage report is careful to discuss the overrepresented recruits coming from wealthier neighborhoods,
                 not families. This fact is indisputable and the CBO does not try to counter it. Rather, its point is that zip code
                 analysis of the kind that Heritage and NPP undertake is only tentative.

                 The alternative is to get a broad sample of enlistees to identify their actual parental incomes, and this is what
                 the CBO attempts to do. The results are based on a sample of "just over 100 people," which is arguably more
                 tentative and subject to a wide margin of error, especially when broken into income brackets.

                  The Heritage study did not use such a tiny sample, or any sample for that matter, but the entire population
                  of NPS enlistees: "The 2003 data cover 176,410 recruits, the 2004 data cover 175,977 recruits, and the 2005
                  data cover 149,462 recruits." One way to think about the statistical validity is the following: a single 5-digit
                  zip code in Heritage's study included more enlistees than CBO's entire analysis of socioeconomic fairness.


                   All in all, the CBO deserves praise for its excellent study. It confirms that today's American troops are not
                   disadvantaged victims, no matter how the data is sliced. They are smart, competent, and have a host of
                   opportunities. Despite the opportunities available to intelligent young Americans, hundreds of thousands
                   are making a free choice to join the ranks every year. Thanks to the CBO, Congress is more likely to agree
                   that these men and women should not be replaced by conscripts.

                   Tim Kane, Ph.D., is Director for the Center for International Trade and Economics at The Heritage Foundation.

                [1] Congressional Budget Office, "The All-Volunteer Military: Issues and Performance," Pub. No. 2960,
                    July 2007, MilitaryVol.pdf (July 19, 2007).
                    [2] Ann Scott Tyson, "Youths in Rural U.S. Are Drawn to Military," The Washington Post, November 4, 2005,
                    p. A1.
                    [3] Tim Kane, "Who Are the Recruits? The Demographics of U.S. Military Enlistment, 2003-;2005," Center for
                    Data Analysis Report #06-09, The Heritage Foundation, October 27, 2006, at
                    [4] See National Priorities Project, "Army recruits by neighborhood income, 2004, 2005, 2006," December
                    22, 2006, at,
                    and The Heritage Foundation, "Income Difference Between Wartime Recruits and Civilians," at

            The Virtue of an All-Volunteer Force

                         by Walter Oi

                         Walter Y. Oi is the Elmer B. Milliman Professor of Economics at the University of Rochester, and was staff economist
                         for President Nixon's Commission on the All-Volunteer Force. A longer version of this article is in the summer issue
                        of Regulation magazine, a publication of the Cato Institute.

                        Last January, as Congress and the public grappled with the possibility of U.S. military action in Iraq, Rep. Charles
                        Rangel (D-N.Y.) introduced the "The National Service Act of 2003" to reinstate compulsory national service. The
                        congressman justified the bill by claiming the nation's defense should not be "the sole responsibility of paid volunteers."

                         "If our great nation becomes involved in an all-out war, the sacrifice must be equally shared," Rangel said. "We must
                         return to the tradition of the citizen soldier."

                          He freely admitted that the legislation was intended in part to disrupt the push toward war. But, putting that aside, is
                          the nation's defense better provided through compulsory service or an all-volunteer force? And would compulsory
                          service provide a preferable sharing of the burden of military preparedness?

                          For most of U.S. history, volunteers supplied the manpower for the nation's defense. There have been only four
                          departures from that tradition, and each of those occurred in times of significant perceived threat. The first U.S.
                          draft bill was passed in March of 1863, nearly two years after the outbreak of the Civil War. It was met with riots
                          in New York City and was temporarily suspended. The second draft bill passed Congress on May 18, 1917, six
                          weeks after the United States formally entered the Great War. That draft was short lived; calls were stopped fully
                          three months before the end of hostilities. The nation's first peacetime draft was adopted Sept. 16, 1940, against
                          the backdrop of war in Europe. It supplied more than 10 million of the 15 million American service members who
                          served during World War II, and it remained in place after the war until March 31, 1947. Then, for 15 months, the
                          nation returned to an all-volunteer force. But the military failed to meet recruitment goals and, with the Cold War
                          emerging, Congress established the Selective Service System on July 1, 1948. Under that law, compulsory service
                          would affect the lives of young American men for a quarter of a century.

                          Over that time, compulsory service met growing criticism and outright opposition. In 1969, President Richard Nixon
                          established the President's Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force to develop a plan to return to an all-
                          volunteer military. According to the commission, if the entry-level pay of enlisted men were raised, the recruiting
                          organization expanded, and the conditions of service life improved, the Armed Services could attract enough
                          volunteers to staff the active-duty strength objectives.

                          Congress took the first step toward implementing the plan in 1972 when lawmakers raised the pay of first-term
                          enlisted men by 61.2 percent. The lawmakers also refused to extend the draft authority, which expired on June 30,
                          1973. The nation's defense was placed in the hands of an all-volunteer force.

                           Because labor became more expensive, the Pentagon shifted to a leaner, more capital-intensive force. Unlike the
                           conscripts who served two-year tours of duty, soldiers in the all-volunteer force enrolled in extensive training
                           courses to learn how to operate and maintain advanced weapons and manage a professional, well-staffed support tail.

                           This shift appears to have had a dramatically positive effect on U.S. military preparedness. A dozen years ago, the
                           Gulf War was waged successfully with a total of 147 battlefield deaths. More recently, the American military
                           experienced 74 deaths in Afghanistan and 137 deaths in Iraq. In comparison, during the Selective Service era, the
                           U.S. military experienced 33,741 deaths in Korean and 47,414 in Vietnam.

                           But even if an all-volunteer force is more effective and fights with a dramatically lower loss of life, is it unacceptable
                           because its demographics do not represent the U.S. population? According to Rep. Rangel, "We must be certain
                           that the sacrifices we will be asking our armed forces to make are shared by the rest of us."

                           But compulsory service did not produce an equal sharing of sacrifice. In 1964, for example, 35.6 percent of draft-
                           eligible young men were exempted from military service for physical or mental reasons. Under the draft, women
                           made up only four percent of the active duty forces, as compared to 15 percent in 2000. Today, college-educated
                           African Americans comprise some 12 percent of the officer corps, yet only 7.6 percent of college graduates are
                           Black. African American enlisted men in the all-volunteer Army are under-represented in the infantry and special
                           forces, and over-represented in logistical support and administrative occupations - positions that they can serve in
                           to retirement and that provide them skills valued in the civilian world. Would it be acceptable to use compulsory
                           service to bring those numbers in line with national demographics?

                           The draft is a poor way to provide an effective common defense. It discourages the adoption of military technologies
                           that can reduce the loss of life and improve effectiveness during military operations. It increases the full economic
                           cost of producing defense capability. And it does not make the military more representative. In a free society,
                           individuals who serve by choice and not by compulsion should meet the call to arms.


updated 7-19-07 - HOMELAND SECURITY
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, as amended (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.)(IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.)(NEA), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,


updated 7-9-07 - INVASION OF AMERICA

updated 4-26-07 - WAR WITH IRAN