The Hmyth Of The Hmong
writes: OK, we
promised to give our running Hmong joke a
hrest! But reader mail was decisively in favor
The army was so secret there is no
U.S. government information on who actually served in
Indeed, the only person who knows
who really served in the
secret army is the secret army`s leader, one
General Vang Pao. He was recently in the news when
McMansion in St. Paul, Minn was firebombed during
Hmong inter-clan violence.
OK, so we don`t really know who was
in the army. But can we get an idea of how many
were in the army?
Ten thousand is the number most
often cited by experts.
resettled no less than 130,000 Hmong refugees
in the U.S. (The community has since grown, according to
the last census to an estimated 186,000—and that`s
probably an undercount.) So have we fulfilled our
obligation to our secret allies?
Well…it turns out there are
still some secret soldiers in need of rescue from a
refugee camp in Thailand. So this year the U.S. agreed
to move another
15,000 Hmong to America under the
Over 60% of this group was born
more than 10 years after the last
American left Vietnam. Better to call them the grand
nephews and great grand children of the army vets.
In fact, only 1,900 of this latest
refugee group are over 45 years old. And that 1,900 is
about half female. Which leaves less than 1,000 who
could have served with the U.S. in any capacity during
the Vietnam War… possibly.
Of this 1,000 or so, a State
Department spokesman would only say that some of
these may have served.
So it`s very likely, but alas,
unverifiable, that only a few hundred of the 15,000 had
any relation to a secret army that fought with the U.S.
during the Vietnam War.
But at least we can say we have
done right by refugees in Southeast Asia before moving
on to other refugee crises in the Middle East and
No. Sorry, all new refugee flows
will be in addition to current flows—not instead
of current flows.
Arthur Dewey, Assistant Secretary of State for
Population, Refugees and Migration, the bureau which
sets refugee policy for the U.S., the
President has a "steadfast commitment to a
secure refugee resettlement program."
Speaking before the Senate
Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security
and Citizenship, Mr. Dewey—a Bush appointee!—said
his agency is set to "realize the President`s
commitment to grow the program—even in the
challenging environment after 9/11."
Using the good offices and
recommendations of the U.N. and federal government
contractors, his bureau will be "identifying other
populations in Southeast Asia in need of resettlement"—along
with groups from virtually every corner of the globe.
During his September 21, 2004
report before the Subcommittee, Mr. Dewey explained that
last year the refugee program was
crossroads. We had two choices: limit the size and scope
of our program, allowing the program to wane; or mount
the most extensive and expensive rescue operation in the
history of the U.S. refugee admissions program. Of
chose the latter."
Of course he chose more
And this won`t be the last we hear
secret armies (and maybe black helicopters) to
justify it all either.
him) is a recovering refugee worker.