I admire my cousin Tom’s Army service. He served in Iraq, and his Army buddies are heading out to a deployment in Afghanistan. But Tom won’t be going with them. You see, he was born in Canada through no fault of his own, and he was adopted by an American family. He has been a naturalized U.S. citizen since he was 12 years old, but because he also has Canadian citizenship, he can’t get the top secret clearance needed to serve in Afghanistan. I don’t understand the need for that level of secrecy. It’s not like we don’t know it’s there. In my mind’s eye, I can almost hear the top secret briefing as Tom’s buddies fly into the country — “This here is Afghanistan. But don’t you be telling anyone about it.”
I don’t see why it is necessary for Tom to renounce his Canadian citizenship. Canada is an ally in our war against terror, and Tom has proven his loyalty with almost ten years of service in the Army. Why is his dual citizenship such a problem? After all, his Swedish-born grandfather served in the 10th Mountain Division during World War II, and he did so before becoming an American citizen. In fact, many people who serve in our military are not American citizens.
I can understand Tom’s dilemma. He wants to answer our country’s call to service and work with his Army buddies, but our country is asking that he renounce a part of who he his. And I don’t see why his dual citizenship should bar him from serving.
Now, if he had dual U.S./French citizenship, then I’d understand the military’s reluctance completely.