Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Hate The War

An Iraq War veteran is in legal trouble. He is 26-year-old Elisha Leo Dawkins. Susannah Nesmith (New York Times) reports Elisha has been "in federal lockup" for a month with the government planning to deport him because of a passport application and his apparently not being a citizen. His attorney explains that Elisha was raised in this country and led to believe he was a citizen. He was never informed he wasn't. The US military considered him a US citizen and gave him a very high security clearance. The State Dept issued him a passport. Kyle Munzenrieder (Miami New Times) adds, "Dawkins applied for a passport in order to serve in Guantánamo. A question on the form asked if he'd ever applied for a passport before. He checked no. That wasn't entirely true. He had begun an application for a passport before deploying to Iraq but never finished the process. That single check on a box is why he now sits behind bars." Carol Rosenberg (Miami Herald) explains, " His lawyer says he grew up fatherless and estranged from his mother, staying with relatives in Miami, believing he was a U.S. citizen. He even obtained a Florida Birth Certificate to get a passport to travel to war as a soldier, with neither the Navy, the Army nor the state of Florida apparently aware of a two-decade-old immigration service removal order issued when he was 8 years old."

He joined the military, the US sent him into war. That should be the end of the story, he should be considered a citizen if he wasn't before. But that's not how the policies work. What actually is required is for him to apply for citizenship. And now that he knows he's not a citizen, he could apply but a conviction -- yes, a conviction on what he's being charged with -- would mean that he would be barred from becoming a citizen.

If anyone in the government really valued the service those being sent to war zones are doing, this wouldn't be happening. Barack Obama should be ashamed that his administration is prosecuting this case.

And he should be ashamed because as much as Elisha deserves to stay in the US and have citizenship, so do many others and Barack's done nothing on that issue despite a lot of pretty words in 2008 about citizenship for immigrants.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4466. Tonight it remains [PDF format warning] 4466.

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