Neo-Nazis In The U.S. Armed Services
I used to keep a running log of the countless ways in which the Bush Administration abused our troops and undermined our military readiness. Little wonder that, for years now, the military has been forced to downgrade its recruitment standards. Well, Matt Kennard, in a long article in Salon, reports on the results:
Since the launch of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. military has struggled to recruit and reenlist troops. As the conflicts have dragged on, the military has loosened regulations, issuing "moral waivers" in many cases, allowing even those with criminal records to join up. Veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder have been ordered back to the Middle East for second and third tours of duty.
The lax regulations have also opened the military's doors to neo-Nazis, white supremacists and gang members — with drastic consequences. Some neo-Nazis have been charged with crimes inside the military, and others have been linked to recruitment efforts for the white right. A recent Department of Homeland Security report, "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," stated: "The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today." Many white supremacists join the Army to secure training for, as they see it, a future domestic race war. Others claim to be shooting Iraqis not to pursue the military's strategic goals but because killing "hajjis" is their duty as white militants.
Soldiers' associations with extremist groups, and their racist actions, contravene a host of military statutes instituted in the past three decades. But during the "war on terror," U.S. armed forces have turned a blind eye on their own regulations. A 2005 Department of Defense report states, "Effectively, the military has a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy pertaining to extremism. If individuals can perform satisfactorily, without making their extremist opinions overt ... they are likely to be able to complete their contracts."
That's right. A quasi-DADT system works very well for Neo-Nazis. Because unlike certain other people, Neo-Nazis are acceptable to the military. Just so they keep quiet about it, they won't be questioned about it.
In fact, a 2006 report by the Army's Criminal Investigation Command shows that military brass consistently ignored evidence of extremism.
Which is great news, for some...
Tom Metzger is the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and current leader of the White Aryan Resistance. He tells me the military has never been more tolerant of racial extremists. "Now they are letting everybody in," he says.
And the results are obvious. And very intentional.
Following an investigation of white supremacist groups, a 2008 FBI report declared: "Military experience — ranging from failure at basic training to success in special operations forces — is found throughout the white supremacist extremist movement." In white supremacist incidents from 2001 to 2008, the FBI identified 203 veterans. Most of them were associated with the National Alliance and the National Socialist Movement, which promote anti-Semitism and the overthrow of the U.S. government, and assorted skinhead groups.
Because the FBI focused only on reported cases, its numbers don't include the many extremist soldiers who have managed to stay off the radar. But its report does pinpoint why the white supremacist movements seek to recruit veterans — they "may exploit their accesses to restricted areas and intelligence or apply specialized training in weapons, tactics, and organizational skills to benefit the extremist movement."
In fact, since the movement's inception, its leaders have encouraged members to enlist in the U.S. military as a way to receive state-of-the-art combat training, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer, in preparation for a domestic race war. The concept of a race war is central to extremist groups, whose adherents imagine an eruption of violence that pits races against each other and the government.
Kennard suggests this might be a good time for a Senate investigation. He suggests the leaders of the Armed Services Committee might be the people to launch such an investigation.
You can contact the Committee at:
Phone Number: 202-224-3871
Fax Number: 202-228-0036
You can contact the Committee Chairman at:
Sen. Carl Levin: (202) 224-6221
And just in case you think it might be worth notifying the White House:
Just one more of the countless messes left by the Bush Administration. And one that needs to be dealt with. And soon.