...I note that there is a pretty big pool of manpower that's not being tapped: everyone on the planet who is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.According to Max, this idea isn't so original:
Since 9/11, Bush has expedited the naturalization process for soldiers. But to enlist, the Pentagon requires either proof of citizenship or a green card. Out of an active-duty force of about 1.4 million, only 108,803 are foreign-born (7%) and 30,541 are noncitizens (2%).
This is an anomaly by historical standards: In the 19th century, when the foreign-born population of the United States was much higher, so was the percentage of foreigners serving in the military. During the Civil War, at least 20% of Union soldiers were immigrants, and many of them had just stepped off the boat before donning a blue uniform. There were even entire units, like the 15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry (the Scandinavian Regiment) and Gen. Louis Blenker's German Division, where English was hardly spoken.Of course, there's also a pay-off for countries currently suffering high unemployment, although I dare think he's going to find a bit of resistance from the nativist wing of the Republican party:
The military would do well today to open its ranks not only to legal immigrants but also to illegal ones and, as important, to untold numbers of young men and women who are not here now but would like to come. No doubt many would be willing to serve for some set period in return for one of the world's most precious commodities — U.S. citizenship. Open up recruiting stations from Budapest to Bangkok, Cape Town to Cairo, Montreal to Mexico City. Some might deride those who sign up as mercenaries, but these troops would have significantly different motives than the usual soldier of fortune.Boot also has come up with the perfect name for this new mercenary effort: the Freedom Legion. I don't know... sounds like another slight to the French to me:
Yesterday I heard from an acquaintance here in El Salvador who had recently tried to make his way north, illegally. Traveling in his group (which only made it as far as Mexico, this time) was a former member of the Cuscatlán Battalion, someone who had been in the first contingent of Salvadoran troops to Iraq.
Frenchfreedom fries. French ForeignFreedom Legion.
You see, having discovered in Iraq that every other military force in the world made many times more than his measily $200 a month, he seems to have dumped his multi-year career as an elite soldier in the Salvadoran armed forces and decided to risk a trip north. I'm sure he'd be willing to sign up.