Though written in response to the riots then ongoing in France, I believe that the above ideas are just as applicable to the situation we are facing here now. I believe that to be true in spite of the fact that, unlike the circumstance then affecting the French, the current focus of our immigration troubles here do not involve an immigrant group with ethnic and other - clear - ties of culture and sympathy to - and in all too many cases - association with - our Islamist enemies. And, I believe that to be true for the following reasons. First, in all too many ways - and as largely ignored, perhaps wilfully, by the main-stream media - those protesting against the passage of stricter immigration laws and enforcement of those currently in place, have shown themselves to be possessed by deep feelings of animosity towards our country, its history, and the overarching foundation of the customs, attitudes and principles that have, up to now, served to unite us as a people in spite of the wide diversity of those other commitments that we might adhere to - i.e. those stemming from the differences in our faiths, our regions, and in the ethnic origins of our forbearers. Such attitudes were evidenced by actions ranging from burning and insulting the American flag - including the harassment of some who displayed the American flag even whilst expressing sympathy for the substance of the protestors positions, to wide-spread chanting of anti-American slogans and loud dismissals of America's right to its current boarders or even its very existence. In all, full exposure of these events seemed to make them appear much more like an anti-American demonstration by those in a foreign land than an expression of loyal though factious dissent by residents desiring to become actual citizens. And whilst such sentiments might be otherwise taken as part of the anger and exaggerated feelings that seem an almost "normal" facet of political dissent in democratic countries, these cannot be taken so. That is because of the war, and its particular nature.
On the part of our enemy, the war is waged almost entirely through covert, and special operations, rather than through conventional engagements. And, aside from their hope of acquiring WMDs, their only chance of victory is through deception, demoralization, and intimidation. In essence, their objectives have much in common with those of a criminal gang trying to get a lock on a neighbourhood - though on a scale far too immense, and as pursed through methods far too devastating, to be countered successfully through the use of the parallel measures normally employed by police in such circumstances (unless one was perhaps to think of the invasion and occupation of a country so positioned that the presence of our forces there cannot be countenanced by the enemy if they are to succeed - or perhaps even survive - as being analogous to an occupation, by police, of a home or building in the very centre of the neighbourhood the gang wants to control). And, as a result the laws of the street permeate this war and imply significant meanings to actions which they had not had heretofore. The whole world has become a bad neighbourhood and those who live there and who signal weakness or vulnerability get robbed, exploited and sometimes killed. The enemy looks for weakness, and opportunity. And, people able to flaunt our laws and penetrate our institutions seemingly at will certainly exhibit both of the aforementioned factors. Whilst the willingness of illegals to do those things also signals opportunity - i.e. that amongst a large population of those willing and able to break immigration laws for economic gain there may also be those willing to perform other illegal actions as well for the same reason - and in a proportion higher than one might expect to find amongst those not willing or able to take those measures - actions such as those which may be of benefit to the enemy. And, whilst there are likely enough all-too-many of our own citizens also willing to do similar things for similar reasons - as the experience of espionage during the Cold War indicated all too well - that is no excuse for failing to do everything consistent with commons sense and the proven practices of wartime to decrease the odds of those occurrences. The fact that members of ones own household may also steal is no reason to leave the doors unlocked during a crime wave.
But, though the reasoning given above may seem sound enough, they may not be by themselves sufficient reasons for a full crack-down on illegals currently in residence - as opposed to a policy that centres on sealing the boarders to future incursions, whilst seeking to implement security screening of those who are here already. That is due to the fact that though the odds of trouble from that group may reasonably seem to be higher, most of the signs are otherwise - or have been up to now. Yes the vast majority of illegals are very hard working, family centred, and as honest as the rest of us. And it is an open question if whether the fact that they are willing to take jobs natives are unwilling to take does or does not compensate - economically - for the jobs they take that natives would seek to hold if the remuneration was better as the presence of illegals were not lowering the cost of labour. And, those who are concerned about preserving the traditions of Judaeo-Christian Faith against hedonistic secularism may very well be right in thinking that - for the most part - the illegals in their wide-spread piety pose an opportunity to further that end. But, tragically, these arguments and questions were rendered moot by the recent demonstrations. Though most likely representative of what is still a minority view amongst them - there was still enough of a display there of real anti-American feeling to indicate - in combination with the fact of illegal residence and what that may imply in-as-of itself in the way of possible dangers - too much of a risk to be countenanced in time of war - particularly a war of this kind. Too many amongst them are clearly lacking in a sense of solidarity with, gratitude for, or even appreciating of, the land where they are living, and the way of life that has enabled their parents and themselves - in most cases - to prosper beyond the dreams of those still living in their lands-of-origin. In addition to which there was also apparent in those demonstrations a seeming lack of sympathetic feeling for the normal concerns of the native peoples here whom they live amongst and work with. Feelings which seem evident enough amongst themselves as expressed by the strict immigration laws in place in Mexico and other places of origin. Laws which, to this commentators knowledge, are enforced more rigorously than our own.
Defenders of illegal immigration, and others, may point out that much of the activities engaged in during the current demonstrations - flag-burning, slogan-chanting and all - was reminiscent of those conducted during the Vietnam War, and since, by American citizens. In that observation they would be quite correct. But, there are several factors to be added to that picture - in addition to the obvious point made previously concerning how the fact of being illegal may itself signal enough of an additional propensity towards similar actions to raise additional security concerns in wartime. Which factors are, first, to say that dissent of that kind is as proper for illegals as it is for citizens and legal residents is - once more - to say that citizenship and legal residency - confers no rights and privileges beyond franchise. And, whatever else that may indicate for how one values or disvalues ones' national identity, to gang members, tribal bandits and terrorists, it means one thing - weakness - as signalled by lack of national spirit and fellow-feeling. Second, we lost the Vietnam War. Those on both sides who claim we did so all or in part as a result of internal dissention, demoralization, and divisiveness, might draw the obvious conclusion and ask themselves if we can afford to lose this one for the same reasons. And, in order to escape the suspicion of disingenuous, those who actively opposed the war, but claim that the anti-war efforts were incidental to the realities on the battlefield, must answer as to why they put so much effort and passion into an activity that was peripheral when there were so many other things such expenditures could have wrought in the way of charity, education, and discovery - and at so much less of a social cost.
It might also certainly be argued that deportation of all illegals due to a danger evinced by a minority - perhaps a small minority - amongst them is unjust. And, leaving aside the question of simple law-enforcement, this might very well be true. But, injustice is inherent to war. It is its defining characteristic, and what makes it evil - when, and to the extent, it is. Fore, killing and wounding is not itself unjust, but killing and wounding those who don't deserve it is, even when legally sanctioned, and fully justified - even required - by other ethical considerations of equal weight. And most killed and wounded in most wars do not deserve it. Even most soldiers historically - conscripted, or mislead - did not deserve such in any deep sense of that phase. Injustice then - to some extent or other - is the price paid for doing what is not only permitted but required in many cases - such as WW II. But, amongst those who make such claims the loudest - now and during the Vietnam Conflict - how many concerned themselves with the undeserving deaths incurred when South Vietnam was finally overrun, or Cambodia and Laos for that matter. How many now demonstrate when suicide bombers in Iraq or Israel kill civilians? Where are the protests fore the beheadings, and road-side-bombs-killing-school-children? Who amongst them raised their voices when the Japanese-Americans were actually interned, rather than waiting for that war to end successfully, before using the incident as an example to discredit their country with?
Finally, just who was it who taught those children featured in the recent protests to despise this country, its history and institutions? Who taught them that the Mexican-American War of 1848 - unlike those in SE Asia, Korea, or the first Gulf War was still unfinished business? Who did all they could to fragment our culture into mutually uncomprehending "hyphenations," rather than move its members towards standing together as a "nation of nations" like Switzerland or the Sioux? And in so doing taught that there was no "real" American culture and/or what there was not worth preserving. Who taught that the descendents of settlers from Europe were not also "Native Peoples" after almost 500 years?
Whatever ultimately happens to those children - and their families - it is those who purvey the attitudes and misinformation described above that will have the most to account for. They will not acknowledge that though, they never have. They will, as usual, blame the very working people they have always claimed to uphold - "untalented construction workers" I believe to be the current phrase. Better they should stay quiet and mourn for what they have wrought.
Racism gets a whitewash
Flag of Their Fathers
Nation of immigrantsí faces immigration woes
Has the GOP Found Its 2006 Issue? (See entry for March 26th)
(C) David Aronin 2006