Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez is the subject of this New York Times piece. He is a very interesting guy, starting at the bottom--worked as a dry cleaners delivery boy at age six in Rio Grande City, Texas, where his grandfather first came across in the early 1900’s--and now is into his eighth month of commanding the 125,000 American troops in Iraq, as John F. Burns writes, "the most coveted and challenging field command for any American officer since the Vietnam War."
Sanchez states: "They don’t want us here, but they don’t want us to leave, either. That’s our dilemma; that’s the problem we have to solve." He further says this: "It’s about gaining and retaining the consent of the people." And then, "That’s what we’re here for, fighting a war, and building a nation." Then he makes sure that everyone understands what is needed for that: "I really believe that the only way we are going to lose here, is if we walk away from it like we did in Vietnam. If the political will fails, and the support of the American public fails, that’s the only way we can lose."
There’s more: "I guess I never realized then that I was that poor. Pretty well everybody else in the Hispanic community was on welfare, too. We just thought we were fortunate because we were in America." I guess that it is possible that some Liberal will soon call Sanchez a "house Mexican." (I hope not). This reminds me that in all the loud conversation about illegal immigration (which I oppose, of course) and the economics of the labor market, etc., perhaps more emphasis should be placed on helping those who are here become citizens. I don’t mean getting the necessary papers, I mean making citizens. Having a clear understanding of both the principles that bind us together and the practical goal of self-government that is deduced there from and which (as a friend once said) "creates the moral conditions of citizenship." Sanchez’s virtuous exertions prove that human beings who appreciate human excellence can become American citizens in this novus ordo seclorum. That is the basis of our prosperity and might and our virtue. Now let’s see if Sanchez can get the Iraqis to consent to that proposition.