From Challenge # 82 November - December 2003

The Golden Door

The Theodore M. Schmerzl Institute* offers a dramatic new proposal for solving the problems of the Bush Doctrine, as well as two major conflicts in the Middle East. Transmitted by S. Langfur.

"I lift my lamp beside the golden door." The Statue of Liberty, welcoming immigrants into New York harbor.

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA has opened the golden door of citizenship to those who join its army in liberating Iraq. This move reflects not only traditional American generosity, but also the difficulties in which Washington has entangled itself. The 130,000-strong US liberation force (which already includes 37,500 candidates for citizenship) has begun to resemble a line of sitting ducks. Every day we read of casualties. We look for progress toward democracy and find mere chaos. Troop morale is in the pits.

In launching this war, the Bush Administration overlooked a basic principle: Where a dictator remains in power, it is not because people want him but because the socio-economic forces conducive to democracy do not exist. If an army comes from outside and topples the dictator, the forces conducive to democracy still do not exist. Either a new dictator takes over, or the country endures a political vacuum until the necessary forces come into being. In an undeveloped land, where the social structure is tribal, this process will likely take a long time.

The American liberation army, in its present form, does not have a long time. "The Congressional Budget Office has calculated that on the basis of current rotation schedules, the Pentagon will run out of fresh troops for Iraq by the spring of 2004." (Time Online Edition)

Given such thin forces, it is hard to see how the Bush Doctrine can move ahead, "preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity and our principles." (Principles of the New American Century.) As the grim statistics mount in Iraq, fewer will want to join the fray. And what about the rest of the Doctrine, which looks forward, in the coming years,  to the liberation of Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan and more? "Multiple deployments around the world are already taxing the endurance of US forces 'Hordes of active-duty troops and reservists may soon leave the service rather than subject themselves to a life continually on the road,' writes Michael O'Hanlon, a military expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington." (Christian Science Monitor July 7, 2003)

In the light of these problems, we at Schmerzl consider it a stroke of genius on the part of the Bush Administration to have opened the golden door of citizenship to those brave men and women who are willing to take their chances in an American uniform. Although the program is merely in its fledgling stage, we believe it offers the best, indeed the only conceivable solution. How else can Washington raise an army big enough and strong enough, with high enough morale, to carry out the Doctrine? The 37,500 pre-citizen GIs already in Iraq are the pioneers, we predict, of a future golden-door army many times that size, "preserving and extending" America's interests throughout the globe. We applaud the Military Citizenship Act proposed by Senator John Cornyn; it expedites the naturalization process for soldiers and shortens the application period from three years to two. To the numerous downtrodden of this earth, those "huddled masses yearning to be free," the immense rewards of US citizenship for themselves and (eventually) their families too will offset the risks of the firing line. In their native countries, these unfortunate people may have viewed the US as the ultimate cause of their misery, but Washington's new policy gives them the chance to be at last on the winning side.

We wish to suggest, nonetheless, one major refinement to the "Golden Door Policy" (as we would like to call it). The need is urgent, but it is an unfortunate fact that most of the world's huddled masses do not have sufficient military training to jump right in. Nor do they have good English. There is one group, however, which is already trained for such work. Many of its members have better than basic English (it is required in their schools); as for those who don't, they have Arabic. These people would jump at the chance, we are confident, to enter the golden door. Moreover, the risks they would be taking are not substantially greater than those under which they live in their present abode. The group is substantial enough, furthermore, that it can form the nucleus, if not the whole, of the large and spirited army that the Bush Doctrine requires. By tapping this collective, finally, Washington will gain, as an additional "bon-bon", the long-sought solution to another intractable conflict as well.

The discerning reader will have guessed that the group in question may be found in the State of Israel. He or she will no doubt exclaim, "Are you crazy? America has bent over backwards to keep Israel out of its Iraqi adventure. The last thing it wants is that the Arab world should see it using Israelis in Iraq!"

On the contrary, we say: the Arab world will back our proposal to the hilt. We ask your patience, until you have heard us out.

First, we are talking about a specific group of Israelis, namely the lower classes. On the one hand, they have had military training since their youth, many for as long as thirty years. They will merely be going from one liberation to another. They are experienced in siege, assassination, interrogation employing various degrees of physical pressure, sealing villages, search and destroy, impersonating the enemy you name it. If some, like the Europeans, raise moral concerns, we shall remind them that the soldiers in question are taught a code known as "Purity of Arms". (See front cover.) They hail, moreover, from the region's only true democracy, so they will spread the aura of wholesome freedom emanating from our president. They will serve as his "light to the nations" in this poor benighted region.

On the other hand, in Israel itself these very same people are steadily losing their civilian jobs. Israel began to globalize its economy, we recall, about twenty years ago. Many labor-intensive industries have gone abroad. Those industries that cannot move, such as construction and agriculture, have availed themselves of globalization in another way, importing laborers from Asia and elsewhere who are willing to work long hours at a pittance. Unemployment among Israelis, therefore, continues to rise (now topping 10%, that is, some 276,000 people more than we need for starters). For a long period, the state bolstered their incomes by various means, but following the decline of high-tech, the economy is now so weak, and the deficit so large, that the government has cut back drastically on welfare allotments, as well as reducing salaries in the public sector. On their own, the Israeli poor do not have the financial means to leave the country and establish themselves elsewhere. They have, in short, no prospects. Simply none.

Service in Iraq, in return for American citizenship, will open to these seasoned soldiers and their families the only chance of a decent life that they are ever likely to get. Since the Iraqi engagement is only one of America's many pre-emptive wars to come, we may be confident that they will continue to enjoy further job opportunities in this field for the remainder of their working lives. They will also amass points in the U.S. Social Security system, assuring them of handsome benefits when and if they reach retirement age.

As for those who lose their lives in the line of duty, we propose that they be granted immediate posthumous citizenship, as is presently done with the Latinos. We believe that citizenship should be extended, as a further inducement, automatically to the immediate families of those killed, together with guaranteed minimum incomes, guaranteed health care and what not. We must not sell America cheap, however. As a condition for such benefits, the U.S. should require that the family of the late soldier provide its oldest son, as soon as he reaches the age of eighteen, to take the father's place. Thus we shall have a constant re-supply to the liberation armies, and the enemy will know that the killing of the liberation forces will only result in their replenishment by younger and hotter blood. We can foresee, indeed if the matter is correctly handled special units consisting of soldiers bent on avenging their fathers' deaths. These units will be a match, in their ferocity, for Islamic fanatics. We must only be careful to keep them overseas.

We also propose that the families of golden-door soldiers be required, as a condition for citizenship, to place all their present and future children "first on the list", so to speak, in the event that troops are needed in future generations to preserve and extend America's interests throughout the globe.

If it be asked where the US will obtain the money to meet its obligations to the families of those who lose their lives, we answer with two points.

(1) Not many will be killed. The kind of work we are talking about has proved, until now, to have a relatively low mortality rate. As long as American citizens do the dying, even a low rate has a dramatic impact on national morale. If the dead, however, are not yet Americans, the impact will be much slighter.

(2) If the mortality rate should rise, necessitating large outlays to meet obligations to the families of the dead, money is simply not a problem for America. It can always go deeper in debt. The creditor nations, fearing universal collapse, won't dare call in their chips. The whole industrial world will buoy America up.

The real beauty of our proposal, however, is yet to be stated. Not only does it make up for the shortage of American troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and other lands yet to be liberated, but it solves, in a unique and unexpected fashion, the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In showing how this will occur, we shall also defend our earlier assertion: The Arab world will back our proposal to the hilt. The difficulty in dismantling Israel has always been with its lower classes. One could envisage life becoming so intolerable that the upper-class Israelis would leave (as many have done), for they possess the money and connections to resettle elsewhere. The problem has always been with those who lack the financial means. Our proposal will give them this opportunity. They will line up outside our recruiting stations as they did, seven months ago, for gas masks.

After the new soldiers have fought their way to U.S. citizenship, their families may then apply. A wave of newcomers from Israel will not be a major national burden. Americans will respond with their customary big-heartedness, grateful that other people's families are taking the casualties for them. The new recruits, by this time, will have made Iraq safe for business; increased oil revenues will surely offset the costs of transit camps for their families on America's shores. Nor will the immigrants have a difficult time dissolving in the melting pot. As mentioned, many have English already. They are relatively close in hue (closer, at any rate, than many others among the downtrodden) to the good old-fashioned white American. They are Jewish, it is true, but there is nothing wrong with that.

Although the first generation or so will have to live on welfare (since the American economy too is losing its labor-intensive industries), the U.S. economy, unlike Israel's, remains unsinkable for the reason stated above. Within the course of five or ten years, as America expands its pre-emptive thrust to meet the challenges of other nations nearing the nuclear threshold, most of the Israeli lower class, we predict, will seize the expanding job opportunities abroad and swell the ranks of liberation armies throughout the globe.

On seeing this trend, the remnant of Israels upper classes will understand that the "game is up", so to speak, and relocate to various lands as well, leaving only the settlers in the West Bank and Gaza. (We cannot please everyone.) Some Israelis, it is true, will find it emotionally difficult to abandon the heroic but ultimately hopeless Zionist enterprise. We have in mind, however, an enterprise no less heroic and much more realistic. It is a task for which the Zionist experiment may be seen as having been mere preparation, a mission for which, we dare to believe, Divine Providence itself has raised this army of stalwart souls: to take the Doctrine of President Bush and turn it into Reality. In the words of our illustrious founder, Theodore Schmerzl: "If you will, it is no nightmare!"


WASHINGTON need only explain these necessary consequences, and the Arabs on the street will enthusiastically back the proposal. The disappearance of Israel may cause difficulty, indeed, for the Arab regimes, which have survived through the decades by diverting their people's rage from domestic ills toward the Zionist enemy. Yet if the President is serious about exporting democracy, as we know he is, he can only welcome a process that will give these dictatorships a little shake and make them more responsive to their peoples.

Our proposal will satisfy everyone (except the settlers, the Arab dictators and the opponents of American liberation). Jobless Israelis will have found a welfare state that is able to support them. The Palestinians will regain their long lost land. The Americans will have sufficient troops to wage many more years of pre-emptive war throughout the globe. In short, we do not see how the proposal can fail. On the contrary, it alone can answer America's manpower needs, while solving two major conflicts of the Middle East in a single, ingenious stroke.  n

* The Theodore M. Schmerzl Institute is a Washington "think tank" located in Hessen, Germany. See Challenge #32.