Mixed Feelings

Michael Yon writes of American soldiers who are not American citizens:

Across Iraq, I keep running across American troops who are not Americans. Many of these soldiers and Marines are working towards attaining U.S. citizenship while in uniform, under fire, in Iraq.

SPC Saroth Muth (Cambodia)
SPC David Floutier (England)
SPC Hugo Juarez (Mexico)
SPC Evans Martin (Antigua)
SPC Octavio Rodriguez (Mexico)
SGT Ringsey Khin (Cambodia)
SPC Abdel Phipps (Jamaica)
SGT Collin Campbell (Trinidad)
SPC Bosco Jerez (Nicaragua)
SPC Jose Alvarado (Honduras)
SPC Moises Medina (Mexico)

SGT Walter Gaya, from Argentina, was scheduled to be sworn in with this group, but he was recently wounded in combat and could not attend the ceremony.

I have no doubt that these are all fine young men, the sort of energetic immigrants who quickly adapted to American culture and society and helped the nation achieve what today is its preeminent place in the world.

On the other hand, I can’t help but think of Rome’s foreign legions and at what point in Roman history they became common. Of course, if we were following the Roman example precisely, we’d have an army full of Saudis occupying Iraq.

Mr. Yon’s online magazine is a great blog, by the way. It makes for very interesting and sobering reading.

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As I said

France begins its expulsions:

The gulf between British and French treatment of preachers of hatred and violence was thrown sharply into focus yesterday when France announced the summary expulsion of a dozen Islamists between now and the end of August.

A tough new anti-terrorism package was unveiled by Nicolas Sarkozy, the interior minister and a popular centre-Right politician. His proposals reflect French determination to act swiftly against extremists in defiance of the human rights lobby, which is noticeably less vocal in France than in Britain.

Imams and their followers who fuel anti-western feeling among impressionable young French Muslims will be rounded up and returned to their countries of origin, most commonly in France’s case to its former north African colonies. Mr Sarkozy also revealed that as many as 12 French mosques associated with provocative anti-western preaching were under surveillance. Imams indulging in inflammatory rhetoric will be expelled even if their religious status is recognised by mainstream Muslim bodies.

Those who have assumed French citizenship will not be protected from deportation. Mr Sarkozy said he will reactivate measures, “already available in our penal code but simply not used”, to strip undesirables of their adopted nationality.

I don’t believe it would be possible or right for the USA to strip individuals of their citizenship, but it’s clear that there’s a lot more on the table than most people yet realize.

France is, well, France, and as I wrote before, they have a long and not very pretty history of dealing very harshly with minorities they deem undesirable. I am not surprised that they have taken the lead with these steps and if there are more attacks in Europe, I expect other countries, beginning with Germany and Switzerland, to quickly follow suit.

That’s no planet

I think we all know what this is:

A newfound object in our solar system’s outskirts may be larger than any known world after Pluto, scientists said today.

It also has a moon.

Designated as 2003 EL61, the main object in the two-body system is 32 percent as massive as Pluto and is estimated to be about 70 percent of Pluto’s diameter.

Other news reports that the object could be twice as big as Pluto are false, according to two astronomers who found the object in separate studies and another expert who has analyzed the data.

Da-da-da-dum Da-da-dum Da-da….