I disagree with Kevin Ryan's July 26 Opinion piece, "Enhanced force levels? Look to immigrants." It is up to the leadership of America to strengthen the resolve and the recruitment of the military. What will happen when more American citizens want to apply for military service, but 10,000 foreigners have already been recruited?
This is outsourcing our military. Our service members, and I, join because of a belief in our country and a desire to uphold our Constitution. What will happen to this ideology with recruits who don't know or understand what it is they are fighting for? What test, regulation, or requirement can judge a foreign national's resolve to uphold basic principles that they have never experienced before or have been too far removed from to understand?
The solution to military recruitment is clear, strong leadership, a clear understanding of the direction of our country, and a return to American values.
Retired Brig. Gen. Kevin Ryan suggests in his July 26 Opinion piece that the solution to the problem of too few recruits for our armed forces is to recruit immigrants. Yet again, let's take advantage of immigrants. Under the current situation, the military relies on the desperate and the poor who have few other options. Our best and brightest choose not to get involved in military campaigns and wars that have nothing to do with the defense of the country or in upholding the best ideals of the United States of America and its standing in the global community.
Kevin Ryan's July 26 Opinion piece on leveraging the desire for US citizenship to boost recruiting offers an unflattering look at how America sees itself.
The admission that native-born Americans think so little of national service that we must import soldiers from overseas, sometimes from the regions we claim harbor our enemies, suggests that the opportunities of America and its associated responsibilities and obligations are more valued overseas than at home.
Retired Brig. Gen. Kevin Ryan's advice that America look to immigrants to meet the needs of America's armed forces was incomplete in that it did not mention the French Foreign Legion as a possible model.
Simply stated, the idea of the French Foreign Legion was to be a special corps of foreigners, to be led by French officers, to fight France's battles outside France. If France was going to undertake dubious operations abroad that perhaps did not have the full support of the French public, there was no danger that the mothers of French conscripts killed in these operations would take to the streets because France was using foreigners for these missions.
Originally, there was a prohibition against Foreign Legionnaires being stationed on French soil, because a highly armed and trained group of foreign mercenaries was viewed as a potential threat to the French Republic. An American Foreign Legion, perhaps with a similar prohibition against troops being stationed on American soil, makes a great deal of sense.
Such a plan has the added benefit of allowing would-be Americans to earn citizenship based on service to the United States.
Michael G. Brautigam
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