War costs are up for American operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The "war on terror" is now costing $12 billion dollars a month in those two theatres alone.
Meanwhile, the number of mercenaries, I mean "contractors" in Iraq has soared to 180,000--more than the number of American soldiers.
Speaking of mercenaries, I'd seen a spate of stories earlier in the year indicating the Pentagon was considering recruiting overseas to fill the increasing need for soldiers. "The armed forces, already struggling to meet recruiting goals, are considering expanding the number of noncitizens in the ranks --including disputed proposals to open recruiting stations overseas and putting more immigrants on a faster track to US citizenship if they volunteer -- according to Pentagon officials."
The policy is endorsed by globalists on the left and right. See this defense of the proposal by neo-con Max Boot and the all too conventional Michael O'Hanlon: "Now is the time to consider a new chapter in the annals of American immigration. By inviting foreigners to join the U.S. armed forces in exchange for a promise of citizenship after a four-year tour of duty, we could continue to attract some of the world's most enterprising, selfless and talented individuals. We could provide a new path toward assimilation for undocumented immigrants who are already here but lack the prerequisite for enlistment -- a green card. And we could solve the No. 1 problem facing the Army and Marine Corps: the fact that these services need to grow to meet current commitments yet cannot easily do so (absent a draft) given the current recruiting environment."
I was reminded of this foolishness when I saw this article: "Standing under a glittering chandelier, 161 service members took the oath of citizenship Wednesday, the largest group to be naturalized at once in Iraq since the conflict began in March 2003. The mostly young, mostly male troops with last names such as Toledo and Serrano stitched across the back of their caps vowed to "support and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America against all enemies," an abstract promise with a deeper meaning here."
Naturally, the ceremony was attended by John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who assures us that the surge is going just great.
Hey, why not just have foreigners do our fighting for us. We're an empire, we can make our own reality, right?
The problem is that such an action points to the diminution, indeed the destruction, of the American character. And are we so historically ignorant as to not see the potential problems?
My wife and I homeschool our children, and this year our history curriculum will cover the period from the fall of Rome through the Reformation. My oldest son is but seven. Nevertheless, I want him to have an appreciation for, and an understanding of, history that I lack.
In thinking through the fall of Rome, there were many reasons for its collapse, and there are many ways in which the American empire is similar. From our willingness to abort and contracept ourselves out of existence, to the mindless and shrill forms of entertainment that keep us numb, we increasingly resemble our Roman forbearers.
One reason for Rome's fall was the foreignizing of its military and the subsequent blurring of political distinctions:
How the "Roman" army came to be composed of barbarian troops of an often renegade nature is in many ways the story of Rome’s fall. It is the story of a people who seemingly lost confidence in themselves, a government that lost control of its army, and an army that lost control of its soldiers. It is a story of ambition, but also of miscalculation and finally failure.
In its heyday, the Roman army was composed of citizens and subjects—legionaries were recruited from the ranks of citizens, and subject states contributed the auxiliaries. Roman politicians commanded both types of soldiers, and the army represented a Romanizing force in the empire. All soldiers learned Latin, and those troops from the more barbarous subject states learned the civil ways of Rome. Excavations in northern England have revealed that even Rome’s most distant auxiliaries, Batavians, had adapted to the imperial style. They wrote letters in Latin and built forts that served as makeshift facsimiles of Roman urban life, complete with public baths.
But even while the imperial army Romanized its troops, the Romans themselves professed an ironic longing for the barbarism of their enemies. Long before the barbarization of the late Roman army, Roman writers expressed admiration for the uncouth warriors who battled their legions. In the eyes of Tacitus, or even Julius Caesar, civilization made men soft. The fiercest fighters were those deemed least civilized.
Perhaps as a consequence of this conviction, Rome often deviated from its standard recruiting policies. For example, no close reader of Caesar could fail to observe that the legendary general was repeatedly saved, even at Alesia, by mounted German mercenaries whom he had hired for his war against Vercingetorix. Subsequently, Augustus established an imperial bodyguard, the custodes, composed entirely of Germans. Army recruitment took a similar path. Whereas Italy still supplied 65 percent of legionary troops during the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, and Caligula, by the mid-second century the contribution of the Italian heartland had dwindled to less than 1 percent. Rome had begun recruiting its soldiers from the least civilized areas of the empire—a policy that would remain in place in late Roman times. Recruiters seem to have believed that the best soldiers, the real fighting men, could only be found outside the cities.
The proposals being floated by the Pentagon, and which are in some measure already being implemented, needs to cease now. Will those members of the ruling class that oppose mass immigration but love warmongering come to their senses? What do you think?
Sorry for the long digression. Back at the ranch...
Turkey announces plan to invade Iraq. Really, these guys need to quit meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq.
Republican defections from Bush's madness will likely continue the closer we get to election time. As General Odom says, the time has come for withdrawal--and impeachment if necessary. He obviously hates America.
While our soldiers, and any other hombres we can round up, face the possibility of death and maiming, the architects and creators of the deceptions that led to war are given a get-out-of-jail-free card. After all, we're a land of laws, not men.