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[casi] US attacked over green card soldiers


The English site of Al-Jazeera is operating again as
of today. The folowing article ís from that site:

The importance of the article is that it could explain
the discrepencies in the figures given for the
soldiers killed or wounded. Iraqis have claimed since
March that hundreds of US/UK soldiers were killed
during the fighting especially during the airport
battle, before the US used Napalm-type weapons. It
seems the US only speaks of "American soldiers" being
killed or wounded, and this could explain why the
figures are so low..


US attacked over green card soldiers

By James Gooder

Monday 01 September 2003, 0:45 Makka Time, 21:45 GMT

Nearly 40,000 of America's frontline soldiers are not
US citizens.

Many of the troops on duty in Iraq do not count
English as their first language and would prefer to
take orders in their native tongue ... usually

The revelation has prompted British MP George
Galloway, one of the fiercest critics of the invasion
of Iraq, to accuse the US of using its "green card"
troops as cannon fodder.

Galloway went on to attack the US policy of putting
its poor minorities and non-citizens in the frontline
of its foreign wars.

In an exclusive interview he told that
it was part of a long US tradition of using its
underclass as cannon fodder.

The statistics, buried by White House spin doctors,
reveal that a significant minority of troops fighting
under the US banner are not in fact US citizens but
residents hoping to speed up their citizenship.

Galloway said that this was typical of a government
used to having the marginalised fight its battles.

"Nothing has changed since that last failed attempt to
invade and determine the future of another country,
Vietnam," he told from his holiday villa
in Portugal.

"The proportion of blacks in the army was 40%, while
in the US population the number of blacks was a
quarter of that," he said

"Of course the underclass has now become increasingly
more Hispanic than black."

Disproportionate casualties

This explains why a disproportionate number of the
so-called US casualties in the invasion and occupation
of Iraq have borne Latino names.'

Galloway says that on a weekly Atlanta radio show in
which he participates, the callers have repeatedly
claimed that Blacks and Hispanics are the fodder army
recruiters are after.

The Pentagon says that there are 37,401 non-US
citizens on active duty, and that joining up has a
special incentive for them - an American passport.

"The military services have processes and programmes
in place to help service members expedite their
citizenship," says a US Department of Defence

"The estimated time for the application is about six

Citizenship has been especially hard to come by due to
the draconian immigration rules imposed by the US
Department of Homeland Security since the 11 September
2001 attacks.

It can take several years to gain citizenship, for
those lucky enough to get it. Signing up to the army
can speed this up, provided the GI comes home alive.


Other incentives under the Montgomery GI Bill include
the promises of a college fund of up to $50,000, post
service employment and training.

But activist Carlos Mendes of the Latinos Against the
War in Iraq coalition says that many soldiers have
told him that these promises often fail to

The US military relies on volunteers, the Pentagon
argues, and there is no official draft, therefore no
pressure on anyone to sign up.

Yet in a country where further education is
prohibitively expensive, and medical care privatised,
these incentives deliberately target America's poor
minorities, as well as those desperate for
citizenship, freeing the sons and daughters of those
with money and influence from service.

"The people who made the decisions never sent their
sons to get hot, bloody and dirty on the battlefield,"
he said.

Even when there was a draft, the decision-makers
stayed out of trouble. "The white sons of the rulers
of America, including a certain George W Bush, have
always found ways around the draft, in his case
through his bogus service in the air auxiliary, while
Dick Cheney took one course after another at
university," he said.

Outspoken critic

Galloway, the Glasgow Kelvin MP who has consistently
criticised US and British policy on Iraq, famously
called Bush and Blair "wolves" over their war-like
rhetoric leading up to the invasion.

He opposed UN sanctions imposed after the last Gulf
War complaining that they inflicted huge suffering on
ordinary Iraqis.

Mr Galloway has visited Iraq on numerous occasions and
met the country's former president and major figures
in the Baathist government.

But he was also a vigorous campaigner during the
Thatcher years, picketing the Iraqi embassy in London,
when the Conservative government supplied arms to
Saddam Hussein.


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