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Hundreds of Pacific Islanders sent to Iraq.

In July 2004, the US government alerted more than 3,100 soldiers of possible combat duty, 500 of whom are army reservists from Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, and the neighbouring islands. For many of these reservists, serving in the American military is a path to US citizenship, which is not granted to Pacific Islanders at birth but can be acquired through military service. With the increased commitment of US military personnel in Iraq also comes increased pressure to recruit more volunteers, and the promise of US citizenship and economic gains have been attractive enlistment incentives for many Pacific Islanders. While the American government maintains that they do not seek to employ a mercenary army, this message is in stark contrast with President George W. Bush's recent decision to expedite the citizenship process for members of the armed forces on active duty. With hundreds of Pacific Islanders on sortie in Iraq, Pacific Island communities are besieged by critical personnel shortages. According to a July report in the Saipan Tribune, 80 members of the Saipan police and fire departments have already been called to duty in Iraq, with another 40 reservist officers still on-call.
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Title Annotation:News & Views
Publication:Tok Blong Pacifik
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2004
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