Jewish World Review May 13, 2003 / 11 Iyar, 5763

Raoul Lowery Contreras

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Vilification by a motley few | Lt. Colonel Manuel Chavez led 500 Union "Special Forces" troops 16-miles through a winter blizzard in the northern New Mexico Rockies behind Confederate force lines. Chavez' men discovered the Confederate supply train, destroyed it and helped run the Confederates back to Texas where they waited Union victory.

For 55-days in 1900, American Marines battled Chinese rebels during the "Boxer Rebellion." Mexican American Marine France Silva from California was awarded the "Medal of Honor" for 55-days of battle bravery.

In Cuba, in the Spanish-American War, Captain Maximilian Luna from New Mexico commanded Troop F of the famous "Rough Riders" organized by President- to-be Teddy Roosevelt. Serving with Captain Luna were Joe Sandoval, Jose Baca, George Armijo, Abel and Jose Duran, Jose and Frank Brito, One would not know these Mexican American men served if they didn't read Roosevelt's Rough Rider's, for these men are invisible to historians.

A few years later, in 1919, one reads in "Semper Fidelis, The History of the United States Marine Corps" that, "Operating in the Eastern area ( of the Caribbean's Dominican Republic) was a patrol of Mexican and Puerto Rican Marines…this group, disguised as bandits, was the terror of Seibo province."

So, now, almost a century later, Mexican American and Mexican United States Marines and soldiers covered themselves with glory almost unmatched in modern warfare. They will wear an Iraq Campaign ribbon with great pride and dignity because they served the United States with great dignity and bravery in a smashing victory in the Iraqi desert.

I am so proud of these men, I can't describe that level of pride. These young men, young enough to be my sons or grandsons, have followed the boot steps of those glorious guys who served in World War Two, in the Korean War, in Viet Nam and any number of actions during the Cold War throughout the world.

For reference, former California Congressman Pete McCloskey said it better than I when he told me that Mexican Americans made the "best damn infantrymen" this country has ever had. He made that observation while earning two Silver Stars in Korea as a U.S. Marine Platoon Leader with three Mexican American squad leaders.

So why are there Chicano people in our community who whine that "Hispanics," Mexican Americans, mostly, are forced to join the military because the country doesn't produce enough jobs for these young men? Those people are left-wing Chicanos who, on the whole, have never served in the military. They claim our boys are nothing but "cannon-fodder" sent to die for "oil." Fundamentally, however, these people hate this country for the simple reason they are not successful in the most successful country in history. They are mostly incompetent whiners who blame everyone for their personal and collective failures. They are easily recognizable by their lack of education, they're baggy clothes and their lack of proficient English or Spanish. On the other hand, there's the Mexican haters.

Yes, these critics decry the presence of Mexicans in the Army and Marines because they "joined only to become citizens." Or, they joined "only to reap college money," thus, they are "mercenaries." Yes, those charges have been floated by Mexican haters, despite almost every soldier and Marine telling people they joined for, among other things, education benefits. Strange, when I joined the Marines, I took a pay cut and the GI Bill wasn't even available to me and my colleagues. Mercenary, my B**T!

Buttressing these leftist Chicano and bigoted-White rightist whiners are those in the general community who opposed the war on Iraq (25-30%) and also hate President George W. Bush. It should be noted that the overwhelming number of Hispanics like and plan--at this writing--to vote for in 2004. The words of Hollywood less-than-superstars and breast-beating socialist politicians of the Democratic Party gave support to the Chicano cry-babies. They both negatively affected American troops in the field.

We now know that these war/Bush critics were wrong about the Iraq campaign; we know that the Chicanos are wrong about our boys joining the military because they can't find good, government provided jobs (like rocket scientists, medical doctors, lawyers, etc.); and, we know that the bigoted Whites who call our boys "mercenaries" are not just wrong, they are racist slugs.

Nonetheless, the American people know our boys, our Hispanic boys, did extremely well in Afghanistan and Iraq and did so as fire-breathing Americans, despite many carrying "green cards" and not able to vote for Commander-in- Chief George W. Bush. They now know, however, that these men were not the first Mexicans and Mexican Americans to fight for America against foreign enemies.

While these young men are so occupied, I'll fight the domestic enemies of these great American Marines and soldiers who have names like mine and I will do so with gusto!

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JWR contributor Raoul Lowery Contreras is a columnist, radio talk-show host, and author of "The New American Majority, Hispanics, Republicans & George W. Bush" and "A Hispanic view: American politics and the politics of immigration." Comment by clicking here.

04/29/03: A mob of hyperactive right-wing extremists with an army to play with
04/22/03: This minority is moving off the public dole and emerging as a power to be reckoned with
04/08/03: Two Americans and an Aztec warrior
03/28/03: I'm a 'smirking Nazi'
03/24/03: Excelling at friction
03/17/03: Bush-the-warmonger
03/07/03: War is the only option left to the civilized world
02/18/03: Protestors, twits and The New World Order
02/12/03: Hey, Gary Hart: Living on knees is wrong
02/05/03: Advise and consent by smear
01/14/03: "Stabbed in the Back by Friends"
01/07/03: Minorities will be the first to die in Bush's "oil wars"?

© 2003, Raoul Lowery Contreras