On Thanksgiving, my thoughts have been constantly with Allan Wall, VDARE.com's Memo From Mexico columnist, and his family.
In August when I heard that Allan's Texas-based National Guard unit had been called up for service in Iraq, I took the news hard.
I hate to see anyone—especially a friend—trapped in the horrible position that Allan now finds himself in.
And even though I have never met Allan, he is one of my best friends.
In September 2001 when I began to write for VDARE.COM, Allan was already well known to our readers. His first contribution was an insightful letter to the editor exposing Mexican president Vicente Fox for his hypocrical endorsement of open borders.
For the next three years, Allan kept VDARE.COM readers abreast of the outrageous pro-illegal alien stance Mexico advanced against its so-called friend—America. And Allan wrote at length about the two-faced Fox.
Both Allan and I have unique perspectives on the national question. Allan reported on how America is perceived in Mexico…not too kindly, as we learned.
My columns detail day-to-day life with immigrants—legal and illegal—as seen from my vantage point on the front line as an English as a Second Language teacher for the Lodi Unified School District.
Because of our mutual interests, Allan and I exchanged thoughts and ideas via dozens of e-mails. Many were about our disgust with the failure of the U.S. to enforce its immigration laws.
Coincidentally, neither Allan nor I knew much about immigration until we found ourselves in the midst of it.
Here's Allan writing in his column "The Education of a Gringo in Mexico":
"I have had immigration restriction activism thrust upon me by my experience and observation living in Mexico. The great transformation in my thinking on the subject did not come about overnight—it took me years to figure out what is really going on."
And from my column "The Education of Joe Guzzardi":
"Before I began my teaching career at the Lodi Adult School, I didn't know anything about immigration.
I was a banker whose background was finance and economics. If someone had asked, I would have wagered that like most federal programs, immigration was a mess. But I didn't have any first hand knowledge because immigration policy wasn't part of my world. I got my baptism of fire at the Adult School."
Even though Allan and I know how critical immigration reform is to America's future, we tried to find the light side.
Allan joked with me about how his classes in Mexico were full of eager learners while half the seats in my classes are empty.
We speculated that once Mexicans cross the border into the U.S., they think they've made it. Incentive to learn evaporates.
And we laughed when Allan told me that even though his wife Lilia is Mexican, he still gets hate mail calling him a "racist." (Incidentally, Lilia is a strong immigration reform advocate, too).
Allan's call-up proves to me how desperate—and how futile—George W. Bush's Iraq War is.
VDARE.COM has repeatedly said that it has no official editorial position on the Iraq War.
I, however, do have an opinion.
I have been strongly opposed to the war since it began. And as each day passes, my opposition grows stronger.
As I file this column, the Department of Defense just released its latest casualty count. On November 22, the DOD reported six American soldiers killed from hostile fire: Arms, Bradley,20; Brown, Demarkus,22; Bryant, Jack,23; Downey, Michael, 21; Heredia, Joseph, 22 and Welke, Joseph, 20.
Consider the absurdity of my friend Allan—approaching middle age, a resident of Mexico, a father to two young sons—being sent to Iraq.
In the meantime, Allan has lost his Mexican work permit, his job and the insurance that it provided for his family. Before leaving Mexico, Allan faced the grim task of "getting his personal affairs in order."
Ironically, Allan's National Guard contract expired on September 27th. But by then it was too late. He was already at "Fort XYZ." Once a unit is called up, all bets are off.
The back-door draft snagged Allan.
Allan and I have remained in touch during his difficult days. He wrote to me from Fort XYZ about "trying to make the best of the situation."
And in one exchange, Allan added this simple sentence: "I sure miss my family."
Since that late summer day when I learned Allan's fate, I have thought about him and his family daily. I cannot watch the nightly news without anger and frustration about the troops sent to Iraq to satisfy the whim of a stubborn and venal politician.
My friend Allan is a good Christian. Every week, he taught a Bible class at his local church. Just before his deployment, Allan and his family were summoned to the front of his church to receive the congregation's prayers.
"I appreciated that," Allan recalled.
Thanksgiving must have been tough on the Wall family.
So will every other day between Allan's arrival in Iraq and his return home.
Take time to say a prayer for the Walls and the other valiant young Americans and U.S. allies serving in Iraq.
They need all the help we can give them.
Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.