John McCaslin

The Bush White House suddenly finds itself fighting two wars in Iraq - military and political - and if the latter is lost, then the Evil Empire will continue unabated down its deadly path of producing weapons of mass destruction.

"Militarily, things are going well," International Relations Committee member Rep. Nick Smith (R-Mich.) told this column Wednesday.

"But if we lose the political end of the war, if (certain countries and so-called peace groups) continue to condemn the United States and the (allied) coalition, it reduces the likelihood we are going anywhere else. What happens to Iraq sets the course of our future dealing with North Korea and Iran."

Not that the risks to mankind would stop there, the six-term congressman added.

"There is greater likelihood that other tyrants, other rogue nations, might feel it to their advantage to develop a strong military with weapons of mass destruction that could very well be to their advantage," he says.

In addition, Smith, an Air Force veteran, called on the entire nation to pray not only for the military men and women fighting the war in Iraq, but also for their families.

"When I was 21 years old, we got a phone call notifying us that my brother, Chan, who was 23, that his (military fighter) jet plane went down and that he was killed," he said. "That grief never left our family."

"My guess is that is true with most families," Smith told us.


The Pentagon suggests the motive of Army Sgt. Asan Akbar, a Muslim soldier suspected to have killed one and wounded 15 of his fellow 101st Airborne Division troops in a grenade attack in Kuwait, was resentment and not religion.

The soldier's mother, Quran Bilal, backs up the belief, saying her son feared persecution because of his religious beliefs. Her concern now, she says, is that her son will be blamed because of his faith.

Whatever the motive, the religious and cultural backgrounds of U.S. soldiers now raise some serious questions for the U.S. military and Bush administration alike.

This column learns from the immigration-watchdog group ProjectUSA that since September 11, 2001, more than 30,000 "non-U.S. citizens" have served in the U.S. military.

And the number is growing.

"The Bush administration has ensured that that number will continue to grow by changing the law recently to reward non-citizens in the military with U.S. citizenship at the completion of their tours of duty," ProjectUSA says.

Such a trend, the group says, "raises the knotty question of dual loyalty - the kind of question a multiethnic, multiracial, radically egalitarian society is not comfortable asking."

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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