Last updateFri, 16 Oct 2015 12pm

Recruiting illegals for the Iraq War: As US Army enlistments sagged, it eyed young illegal Mexican aliens

Alberto Lopez was born in Jalisco in 1986.  His parents took him and his younger brother and sister with them to Houston, Texas, where the children went to grade school. 

Beto had been a rather typical romantic-minded youngster as he entered high school.  His mother worked, with questionable papers, as a maid at a popular motor inn, and his father for another illegal jalisciense who maintained a four-man gardening crew.  His parents wanted their children’s educations to win them better and more secure jobs.  Yet by the time Beto approached high school gradation in 2004, his curiosity had been piqued by the handsome display in a Sharpstown mall recruiting office.   A crisply uniformed sergeant who stepped out for a deft chat mentioned the Army’s present “guarantee” of swift U.S. citizenship to young Mexican “warriors” who signed up to seek revenge for the sneak attack that had killed 3,000 innocent office workers in the 9/11 “Twin Towers” attack.  Neither the parents nor their children understood that young males such as Beto were viewed by recruiters as disposable occupants of a beefed-up quota count.       

The 9/11 patriotic fever remained aflame in great swaths of the United Stares.  And Houston was the home of the nation’s president, George W. Bush – the man who declared “The War on Terror.”  The Lopez family didn’t have a deep understanding what that meant beyond the concept of “war against terror.”  And they were oddly proud to be living in the same city where the president had his civilian home, as did his ex-president father.  

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