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Monday, July 09, 2018

Go Ahead and Bring Up Paris...

There’s a powerful line in the classic film, Casablanca' where Rick drunkenly chides Ilsa, saying “I wouldn't bring up Paris if I were you. It's poor salesmanship".

Image result for "I wouldn't bring up paris if I were you"

The line is powerful, not because Rick is right and Ilsa is wrong… but because we, the viewer, are aware that to broach the subject of Paris will lead to a painful discussion ... and that some hard truths are inevitably going to be shared.

Over the last couple of days we’ve been reading a lot about the genuine national disgrace of immigrants to the US who were actively recruited to serve in the US military with the promise of a path to citizenship, now being quietly (ok, not so quietly anymore), discharged… and told that the previously offered path is actually a dead end.

That's 'Paris'.  That's the uncomfortable linchpin of a discussion that nobody seems prepared to have.

Specifically, what nobody seems prepared to discuss is the far greater national disgrace that the US Military is so strapped for man-power that it had to stoop to recruiting non-citizens to do the heavy lifting of defending the freedoms and liberties of the very citizens who routinely  ignore and shun them.

Well, America... I wouldn't bring up 'Paris' if I were you... it's truly bad salesmanship!

Are the freedoms and rights you shout and carry on about on college campuses, in editorials and in town hall meetings, so cheap and meaningless that you (and your children), can’t be bothered to take a short turn standing watch to protect and defend them? 

Is uniformed service something that only the children of ‘other people’ – that great invisible, unwashed underclass – are expected to do, while your kids are left free and unencumbered to pursue their important, charmed, successful lives?

Is patriotism a costume you take out of the closet and put on for parades once or twice a year to make yourself feel part of something worthy and good, while the rest of the year you and your families support and idolize an elitist movie industry that consistently and deliberately portrays the military as evil, and veterans as irreparably damaged, drug-addled, ticking time-bombs?

Yes, it is a terrible thing that these immigrants who volunteered for military service in exchange for a path to citizenship are now being told ‘thanks, but no thanks’.  But that issue can’t be discussed in a vacuum. 

If you want to bring up 'Paris', you’d damned well better be prepared for a bunch of larger, broader discussions; discussions that, so far, aren't taking place:

The discussion about what exactly it means to be an American.

The discussion about what responsibilities and obligations come with that privilege.

The discussion of how despicable it is to ignore the very existence of dishwashers, bus-boys, lawn-mowers, home care-attendants, house-cleaners and other immigrant laborers who make your comfortable lives possible, while expecting these same invisible human beings (and their children), to fight and die for you… all while your precious children attend expensive colleges, and grow up to run things and write policy checks on an account to which they never made a single deposit!

So, yeah… go ahead and ‘bring up Paris’.  It’s a legitimate discussion; no matter how potentially divisive and painful.  

But don’t think you can broach such a fraught subject and not be expected to confront all the unpleasant truths attached to it.

Posted by David Bogner on July 9, 2018 | Permalink


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This is a common theme. It's not just immigrants. The US armed forces are disproportionately populated by the children of lower-income families. The middle and upper class rarely send their children to military service, the exception being where families have a strong tradition of military service already.

Posted by: David Staum | Jul 9, 2018 7:37:53 PM

That the US military is not honoring its commitment to offer citizenship to foreigners who complete one term of service (3 years) with honor is indeed disturbing . . . if it is true. I think it is false.

David, you did not source your information. I suspect the veracity of the report. It would literally take an act of Congress to deny these servicemen citizenship. It is the law.

I think you have been had.

BTW David Staum's claim that the US military draws its recruits from the lower classes of society is leftist bullshit. The Air Force has always been all-volunteer, has always maintained higher standards than the other services for its recruits, and has always met its recruitment goals. AFAIK the Navy, the Army, and the Coast Guard require a high school diploma and no criminal record. Last I knew, only the Marines took drop outs and recruits with criminal records, and they may have tightened their standards since Iraq.

FYI US servicemen win a disproportionate share of Rhodes scholarships year in and year out. And the competition to get into service academies is fierce. Tougher than Harvard.

Posted by: antares | Jul 10, 2018 3:07:34 AM

antares is correct, this story is not anything like what it appears. As explained here https://taskandpurpose.com/trump-purging-military-immigrants-mavni/ the MAVNI program was a path for legal immigrants to fast track their citizenship application, which was expanded under the Obama administration to include DACA applicants. Problem is you actually have to be vetted before you can be inducted into the US Armed Forces, and many of the DACA applicants can't pass the necessary background checks. Due to the increasing failure rate the program was terminated in September 2017, and individuals cited by the AP in their reporting are either timing out of the background check system (another report that I can't find now said something like 1,000 day limit or such to complete the necessary checks) or failing the same altogether.

These folks were never vetted, and hence were never sworn in to the US military, and hence never underwent basic training nor served in any capacity in the military.

They applied and failed to complete the background check... that's it.

No one is running people off or discriminating against them based on their immigration status.

Posted by: Mark Ovesny | Jul 10, 2018 10:25:21 PM

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