The Illegal Immigrant Among Us

By K. Daniel Glover

Three years ago, my wife and I had the pleasure of hosting a young Guatemalan man in our Virginia home for a few weeks. Andres came to the United States on a work visa for a job in Texas, but when he arrived, his sponsoring employer told Andres he had no work available.

The employer then told Andres he could use the short-term visa to work anywhere in the country. He chose Northern Virginia, in part because of the job market and in part because mutual friends introduced Andres to our family — including the three children we adopted from Guatemala.

We loved having Andres in our home. The children adored him and even took an interest in learning their native tongue, an idea they had resisted for years when Mom and Dad suggested it. We took Andres to the White House, treated him to exotic meals (by Guatemalan standards) and spoiled him as best we could while he struggled to make sense of his immigration status.

But after a trip to the Guatemalan embassy, we became concerned that Andres had no right to be in America. We paid an immigration lawyer who confirmed that suspicion.

Andres’ would-be employer had lied. His visa gave him the right to work only in Texas, only for that employer and only for a few months. He was an illegal immigrant — and living in our home. Worse, he was in a city on the prowl for illegal immigrants, with our house located just blocks from the “Liberty Wall of Truth.”

The lawyer advised Andres to stay in our home until he could take the earliest flight to Guatemala. We bought his airline ticket and sent him home to the needy family he had come to America to support.

I thought of Andres last week as I read and watched the confession of “undocumented immigrant” Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer-winning journalist who lied for more than a decade so he could stay in America and rise to glory in a profession that prides itself on truth-telling.


Blogging The Midnight Oil

Originally published at
By K. Daniel Glover

Thanks to a snide sound bite from an uppity mainstream journalist, many people no doubt imagine bloggers doing their best work in pajamas. That perception may not have been far from reality at the tail end of last week, as Congress finished its pre-Thanksgiving legislative dash in the wee hours, and citizen journalists followed the action as dutifully as any credentialed reporters.

Bloggers touched on an array of issues. They vented about budget decisions, reported on a last-minute congressional pay raise, covered the latest campaign finance news, called attention to new legislation, and even highlighted obscure provisions tucked into larger bills.

But they reserved most of their commentary for Friday evening’s impromptu and vitriolic debate about the Iraqi war, a debate spurred by the sudden call for a U.S. troop withdrawal from defense hawk John Murtha, D-Pa.

The debate came on a nonbinding resolution urging the troop withdrawal. Republicans oppose that idea but forced the issue to the floor in an attempt to get Democrats on the record for the move. Democrats did not oblige. The vote was 403-3, with six other lawmakers voting “present.”

Several blogs opined on the House antics as the battle unfolded on C-SPAN. The live-blogging included the likes of Captain’s Quarters, Michelle Malkin and PoliPundit on the right, and AMERICAblog, Daily Kos and Seeing the Forest on the left. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., also shared her views in a post at RedState.

When Murtha took to the floor, John Aravosis of AMERICAblog encouraged other bloggers to join the fun. “He’s on C-SPAN now,” Aravosis wrote. “Blog it!”

At PoliPundit, the topic was so hot that when one entry spurred more than 300 comments, Lorie Byrd reignited the discussion with a new post. It promptly generated more than 400 additional comments.

The U.N. As A Threat To Online Speech

Originally published at
By K. Daniel Glover

Bloggers of all political persuasions rallied online last week to defend their right to speak freely about American political candidates. But on the global question of who should oversee the Internet, an issue with potentially far broader ramifications on free speech, bloggers have been noticeably less vocal.

Internet governance tops the agenda for the World Summit on the Information Society meeting scheduled for next week in Tunisia. The primary focus will be whether to decentralize control over the Internet and give more power to the United Nations.

A report by a U.N. working group outlines four alternatives, three of which would change or eliminate the role of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. The European Union also has proposed a “new international model of cooperation.” ICANN currently controls the Web via an agreement exclusively with the U.S. Commerce Department, and the U.S. government adamantly opposes a shift toward global management.

Blog-like tech publications such as ICANN Watch and Slashdot have covered the debate about Internet governance regularly, and tech-oriented bloggers like Andy Carvin of the Digital Divide Network and Steven Forrest at have opined on the topic. Carvin even created WSISblogs, a clearinghouse for reports from bloggers who cover WSIS-related events.

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds also has mentioned Internet governance periodically. But even with the heft of his influential blog, the issue has failed to gain the same traction as the blog swarm against Federal Election Commission plans to regulate the Internet.

Bruce Kesler called for more attention to the issue in a post at Democracy Project, where he decried the European Union for aligning with “such stalwarts of smothering Internet freedom as China, Cuba, Iran and several African states.”

“This issue, this outrageous putsch attempt, deserves an uproar heard around the world on the Internet,” he wrote.

Book Review: ‘American Jihad,’ ‘Holy War, Inc.’

Reprinted from The Atlantic
By K. Daniel Glover

Tragedy has inspired many a publishing frenzy throughout history, and so it has been with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Publishers eager to capitalize on public interest in every aspect of the most deadly strike on U.S. soil are rushing an array of books onto shelves everywhere.

Just type the keywords “September 11” or “terrorism” into the search engine at for a foretaste of the terrorism-related tomes to come. The choices there include everything from compilations of heroic stories, photographs and even newspapers’ Sept. 12 front pages, to collections of post-attack poetry by teens and policy essays by intellectuals. Many of the books are new; some are older titles that have been updated to reflect last year’s attack.

The sheer number of books about terrorists already in print or coming to a bookstore near you soon presents a challenge for the discriminating reader. But those in search of comprehensive reads on the evil that saturates America and the world should have at least two books on their lists: “American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us,” by Steven Emerson, and “Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden,” by Peter L. Bergen.

Emerson’s treatise, as its title indicates, details the success that the new enemies of the United States have had in infiltrating American society. Bergen’s book is narrower in the sense that it focuses on the world’s most-wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden, and his al Qaeda network. But “Holy War, Inc.” actually takes a more in-depth look at terrorism on a global scale than does “American Jihad.”

Together, the books effectively detail a threat that will influence public policy for years.

The two works have much in common, including their casts of characters and their plot lines. Both, for example, tell the unsettling tale of Ali Mohammed, a former officer in the U.S. Army’s Special Forces at Fort Bragg, N.C., who helped bin Laden move his terrorist operations from Afghanistan to Sudan in the early 1990s. Yet the authors take different approaches to telling similar stories.

Book Review: ‘Resource Wars’

Reprinted from The Atlantic
By K. Daniel Glover

Imagine a world plagued by ethnic, religious, and political turmoil, soaring population growth and troubling global climate change. Now add to that volatile mix a shortage of oil, water, timber and other natural resources — and an insatiable demand for those resources.

That, Michael T. Klare writes in “Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict,” is a snapshot of the world to come. And unless policymakers take steps to conserve natural resources and set parameters for distributing them fairly, industrialized nations and Third World countries alike may find themselves enveloped in explosive conflicts over control of the Earth’s shrinking bounty.

“Resource Wars” makes a compelling case that the quest to regulate natural resources will become the “One Big Thing” to dominate security policy in the 21st century. Klare’s credentials — he is a peace and world security professor at Hampshire College and past director of the Program on Militarism and Disarmament at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington — add intellectual heft to his thesis.

Nations need oil, natural gas, coal and other resources to drive their economies and fortify their defenses, and they need water to survive. Warlords and potential dictators, meanwhile, covet diamonds, gold, copper, and other minerals for the wealth and power that they bring. Respectable nations and international pariahs alike have shown a willingness to fight for those resources.

“Whereas international conflict was until recently governed by political and ideological considerations,” the author writes, “the wars of the future will largely be fought over the possession and control of vital economic goods.”

Oil is king in Klare’s tome. He details its historical significance in conflicts major and minor, including both world wars and the Persian Gulf War, and in economic upheavals such as the one in the early 1970s. The competition for access to oil, and to protect the pipelines and maritime routes used to transport it, is global.

Coming To America

Originally published at
By K. Daniel Glover

Presidential contenders woo them in their own language. Employers in both big cities and small towns recruit them to fill vacancies in a tight labor market. Communities nationwide celebrate their heritage every fall. Who are they? Latinos. And over the past decade in particular, “they” have become a larger part of “we, the people” — and thus a greater force in America.

Cuban Americans’ quest to keep Elian Gonzalez in the United States and Puerto Ricans’ battle to halt Navy bombing on Vieques are two high-profile examples of the growing impact of America’s Hispanics, whose population has grown some 30 percent in the past decade. But their interests and influence extend far beyond narrow, albeit heated, debates about Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and U.S. military operations on a remote island.

Hispanics are forcing WASPy America to confront an array of new issues — immigration and bilingualism are chief among them — and to look at familiar issues like education, health care and taxes from the perspective of an ethnic group that has the highest dropout and uninsured rates in the nation, and where low incomes are common. They also are reshaping schools, the workplace and communities from Rome, Ga., and Perry, Iowa, to Detroit and Milwaukee, as well as in traditional border enclaves like California and Texas.

Recent examples of the Hispanic influence include: the creation of a holiday to honor Mexican civil rights and labor leader Cesar Chavez; new educational programs like Denver’s “Soul of the Race” and Houston’s bilingual spelling bee; and a reversal of the long-time AFL-CIO opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants in the workforce.

“The [Latino] impact can be seen in every walk of life,” says Judy Mark, communications director for the National Immigration Forum, whose mission is to make U.S. policies more welcoming to Latinos and other immigrants. “Latinos really are tremendously influential and will only grow in influence.”

Keeping the boom times alive
As of March 1, the Census Bureau estimated the U.S. Hispanic population, excluding the estimated 3.9 million people who live in Puerto Rico, at nearly 32.1 million, or 11.7 percent of the total population. That is up from some 22.4 million, or 9% of the total population, in 1990. Nearly two-thirds were of Mexican descent.

Hispanic-Americans accounted for some 37.3 percent of the nation’s population growth in the 1990s, a figure that is expected to climb to 44.2 percent between 2000 and 2020. The Census Bureau estimates that Hispanics will surpass blacks as the largest minority group in America by 2005 and that there will be 52.7 million Hispanic-Americans, or 16.3 percent of the total population, by 2020.

OPEC Rising

Originally published at
By K. Daniel Glover

Reform Party presidential candidate Patrick J. Buchanan speaks contemptuously of “a global conspiracy … to loot the American nation.” House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX) chides the Clinton administration for an energy policy that “puts America in the humiliating position of having to go groveling” for help. Liberal pundit Michael Kinsley condemns “a price-fixing conspiracy of textbook purity” and urges the government to regard the alleged profiteers as “criminal.”

That is just a sampling of the vitriol so prevalent in today’s world of ever-increasing gasoline prices, and much of that hostility is directed at one entity: the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The 11-member cartel of oil-producing nations, on the verge of collapse when oil was selling for $10 a barrel not so long ago, suddenly finds itself as Public Enemy No. 1. The animosity is apparent along all points of the political spectrum and among consumers as well as policymakers. So loud has been the outcry that the House felt compelled to cast a purely symbolic vote March 22 to “send a message” to OPEC. The 382-38 vote was on a bill, ridiculed as “feel-good fluff” by some Democrats, requiring the White House to review OPEC pricing practices.

OPEC decided this week to boost oil production by 1.7 million barrels a day, nearly half the 4 million barrels a day in output its members had trimmed in the past year. If, as expected, that decision stabilizes the oil market and drive prices down, the anti-OPEC ire in America may ease.

But a seemingly ascendant OPEC, which could change its mind and cut oil production at later meetings, continues to pose diplomatic, political and potentially economic challenges for the United States. The question is whether U.S. policymakers can do anything to prevent OPEC from flexing its oligopolistic muscles — or whether they should even try.

The risks of oil diplomacy
On both questions, oil-industry observers and economists tend to agree: The United States has little, if any, ability to influence the decisions OPEC — whose membership consists of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Iraq, Libya, Algeria, Nigeria and Indonesia — makes about how much oil to put on the market.

Big-stick Diplomacy In Panama

Originally published at
By K. Daniel Glover

The wee hours of Dec. 31 by tradition are a time of celebration for people everywhere. Complaints of nitpicking numerical purists aside, that tradition becomes all the more significant when the last digit of the calendar year is changing from nine to zero — the unofficial end of a decade, a century and/or a millennium.

We are fast approaching one of those milestone dates — Dec. 31, 1999 — and the world is preparing for one big party. Some countries have more reason to celebrate than others, though, and Panama is one of them. At the start of 2000, new millennium or not, Panamanians will be rejoicing at their new-found freedom to control the canal that cuts through their nation.

That date will mark the official end of American imperialism in Central America, an era that arguably reached its zenith 96 years ago this month, with the signing of a hastily negotiated treaty giving the United States the right to build and control the Panama Canal “in perpetuity.” How the United States managed such a one-sided treaty is a fascinating tale indeed — and one worth examining as a subsequent 1977 treaty that promised to relinquish the canal to Panama is about to take effect.

Choosing the best route
Long before President Theodore Roosevelt selected the then-Panamanian region of Colombia as the site for a canal connecting the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, the U.S. government desired such a waterway. Congressional Quarterly pegged federal interest to the presidency of Andrew Jackson, who in the 1830s sent Charles Biddle to explore canal routes through Nicaragua, two countries to the north of Panama.

The 1855 construction of a railroad across the Panamanian Isthmus, made possible by an 1846 deal between the United States and Colombia, heightened pressure for action. Commercial interests dreamed of a more direct oceanic trade route. And in 1898, with the United States warring against Spain in Cuba, Americans recognized a military need for the canal — to get battleships from one U.S. coast to the other, without having to go around South America.

The voyage of one ship in particular, the USS Oregon, changed the dynamics of the canal debate. Newspapers chronicled the Oregon’s 12,000-mile journey around Cape Horn for more than three months, and canal advocates noted that a canal would have cut 8,000 miles from the trip.

The Year The Wall Fell

Originally published at
By K. Daniel Glover

On Nov. 9, 1989, the world changed dramatically and, to the thinking of most everyone, for the better.

At midnight, scores of East and West Berliners converged on the wall that had separated their lives, physically and philosophically, since August 1961, and that had stood as a symbol of the Cold War battle between freedom and repression, capitalism and communism. Hours earlier, communist leaders of East Germany, formally known as the German Democratic Republic, had unceremoniously approved an edict allowing unfettered travel to the West German Federal Republic of Germany.

Those leaders may have considered the gesture the tossing of a freedom crumb to calm the passions of a long disenchanted populace, but many East Germans saw something more — an opportunity to escape their past and embrace a more promising future. They did more than pass through the gate to West Berlin; they scaled the wall, chipped away at it with hammers and danced on its top as if on the grave of communism.

“It was,” said the Nov. 20, 1989 issue of Time magazine, “one of those rare times when the tectonic plates of history shift beneath men’s feet, and nothing after is quite the same.”

People back then knew the import of what they were witnessing but probably could not comprehend why everything changed so quickly and what it would mean for the future. Today, as the world commemorates the 10th anniversary of the collapse of communism with events like those at the Newseum in Arlington, Va., last month, the hindsight of history can begin to explain the end of the Cold War.

Recipe for revolution
Ask Gale Stokes, Rice University historian and author of the 1993 book, “The Walls Came Tumbling Down: The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe,” and he will tell you the changes did not occur as quickly as they might have appeared in 1989.

Sure, Poland, Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Romania all abandoned their communistic ways within weeks of each other that year. But the collapse, Stokes said in his book and in an interview this week with IC, had been in the making for more than two decades. He divides the era of European communism in half, with 1968 as the dividing line between its heyday and its decline. That year, Soviet troops and their Warsaw Pact allies invaded Czechoslovakia to quell internal reforms there and install a new leader.

Before There Were Draft Dodgers

Originally published at
By K. Daniel Glover

Every time a nation goes to war, a time-honored debate about military preparedness ensues. Policymakers and military leaders ponder the pros and cons, and the morality and legality, of an all-volunteer force versus an army of draftees quickly trained and ordered to fight.

Did author B.H. Liddell Hart have it right in 1950, they may wonder, when he argued that “conscription has been the cancer of civilization”? Or was Napoleon Bonaparte’s belief that “conscription is the vitality of a nation, the purification of its morality, and the real foundation of all its habits” more valid?

The United States, now at war in Europe’s Yugoslav region and with some members of Congress already contemplating a renewal of the draft, soon may have to revisit those questions. If so, it will not be the first time. Congress had the same debate for the first time this century in 1917, just after declaring war against Germany, and its decision led to the first-ever U.S. draft for a foreign war.

The draft as last resort
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution grants Congress the power “to raise and support armies.” It is silent on the means lawmakers may use to that end, but Congress rarely has resorted to the draft.

The Confederacy instituted conscription for the first time (in America) during the Civil War. Its draft law, enacted on April 16, 1862, compelled men between the ages of 18 and 35 to enroll for three years of military service but provided numerous exemptions. It was designed mostly to keep volunteers from leaving the army after their terms expired, according to The Encyclopedia of the U.S. Congress.

In the North, the Enrollment Act of March 3, 1863, applied to 20- to 45-year-old men. It included a “buy out” provision that enabled the wealthy to pay $300 (the equivalent of an average worker’s annual salary) to avoid service, or to hire a substitute soldier. The buy-out provision, which prompted massive anti-draft riots in New York City and elsewhere, was repealed a year later, but the wealthy still could hire substitutes.