Mexican President Vicente Fox, George W. Bush's "amigo", has made it clear that he opposes the U.S. military operation against Saddam Hussein. (See my March 21 Frontpage.com article "Mexico Sticks It To The 'Yankee' War.")
But that doesn't mean the Mexican government is not interested in the war. It is interested enough to be taking a census of all American military personnel of Mexican birth – and of Mexican descent!
The Mexican government's activities have passed completely unnoticed in the U.S., as usual. You heard it first on VDARE.COM.
Here in Mexico, the Iraq war is being closely followed. The two Mexican television channels, "Azteca" and "Televisa" are both going all-out in their coverage, with correspondents in the Middle East and slickly-produced news reports. But their editorial comments are not favorable to the U.S. military action.
The Mexican media has also put great emphasis on Mexican and Mexican-American soldiers serving in the Iraq theater - including those who, tragically, have already been killed, and those who are missing and captured.
Edgar Hernandez, an American-born U.S. soldier of Mexican descent, has been captured by the forces of Saddam Hussein and displayed with other prisoners on television.
Ruben Estrella Soto, a Mexican-born U.S. soldier, citizenship unspecified, is missing in action.
Jose Garibay, a legal resident and a U.S. Marine, was the first Mexican to die in the war.
Another fallen Marine, Corporal Jose Gonzalez, was an American citizen of Mexican descent. But upon his death, the headline in Mexico City's El Universal read "Second Mexican Dies in Iraq..." Gonzalez' mother learned of his death when she unexpectedly saw his corpse on television.
The Mexican media puts an anti-American spin on the presence of these soldiers of Mexican heritage. It's commonly asserted in Mexico that the U.S. military uses minorities, including Hispanics, as cannon fodder. The governor of the Mexican state of Zacatecas recently made the astounding declaration that 70% of the U.S. military is black and Hispanic - with 40% being of Mexican origin.
In reality, all soldiers of Hispanic origin comprise 9% of the military's ranks - lower than their percentage in the U.S. population. And the total percentage of Mexican-descended personnel in the U.S. military is 3.9%. And recent research indicates that whites are disproportionately represented in combat slots, especially the most dangerous.
This is the perspective in which to view Mexico's recently-announced plan.
On March 25th, 2003, El Universal ran a very interesting headline: " Soldiers ask support from the Fox government".
This article was not about soldiers in the Mexican army - who could certainly use support from Fox. It was about soldiers in the American army, serving in the Middle East, who are reportedly seeking support from Fox – the leader of a foreign county. The article asserted that
"The director of Consular Protection, Roberto Rodriguez, reported that soldiers of Mexican ancestry stationed in Kuwait request support from the government of Mexico to communicate with their relatives in Mexico."
Some soldiers had allegedly contacted the Mexican embassy in Lebanon to deliver letters to relatives in Mexico. As a result, the article explained, the Mexican government is conducting
"....a census of persons of Mexican ancestry who belong to the armed forces of the United States and who are stationed in the war zone..."
This census, now being carried out, is to identify U.S. military personnel who belong to three categories:
1. American citizens of Mexican ancestry (who form the majority)
2. Mexican citizens who are legal residents of the U.S.
3. Dual nationals of the U.S. and Mexico
In other words, the Fox administration is now embarked on a program to identify all U.S. military personnel of Mexican heritage - regardless of citizenship, if they are immigrants, and even regardless of whether they are American-born.
It figures. Vicente Fox has made it clear that he claims jurisdiction over all Mexican-descended individuals in the U.S.A.
But this is harmless, isn't it? He's just helping them mail letters?
Bunk. There are already reliable ways for U.S. soldiers to communicate with relatives in Mexico. There is the military's own mail system, the U.S. postal service and the Mexican postal service. There are telephones, calling cards (some designed specifically for calling Mexico) and cell phones. And there is the Internet.
The conclusion is inescapable: the Mexican government is compiling this database for political purposes. It refuses to support the U.S. military. It has refused to honor these Mexicans and Mexican-Americans as American fighting men. But it wants to exploit their situation in the Iraq war, to score political points at home and – how can it be doubted? – to gain their loyalty.
I serve six weeks a year with the Texas Army National Guard,in a unit composed almost entirely of Americans of Mexican ancestry. I believe we should honor the sacrifices of all soldiers, regardless of ancestry or citizenship, who have died serving our nation. And Americans of Mexican ancestry do have a great record of defending our nation. (To read of only one example, click here, scroll down and read about the astounding above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty heroism of Roy P. Benavidez in the Vietnam War.)
But the wartime patriotism of Americans of Mexican descent owes nothing to the meddling of the Mexican government.
Vicente Fox has made clear he doesn't support this war. He can't be trusted to be the guardian of those who are fighting it.
American citizen Allan Wall lives and works legally in Mexico, where he holds an FM-2 residency and work permit, but spends a total of about six weeks a year in the state of Texas, where he drills with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his FRONTPAGEMAG.COM articles are archived here; his website is here. Readers can contact Allan Wall at firstname.lastname@example.org.