Saturday, July 08, 2006

It's not just the Iraqi army that is being infiltrated by terrorists. So is ours.

A report out today makes it clear why the military is now meeting their recruiting goals, and it's not good news: neo-nazis are infiltrating the military.

"There is mounting evidence that military recruiters and commanders, under intense pressure to meet manpower goals with the country at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, have relaxed standards designed to prohibit racist extremists from serving in the armed forces," the [Southern Poverty Law Center's] Chief Executive Richard Cohen told Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in a letter...

The military toughened its peacetime policy toward extremists in 1996, after decorated Gulf War veteran Timothy McVeigh was convicted of detonating a truck bomb that killed 169 people in Oklahoma City.

But the Montgomery, Alabama-based center said in a report that military officers were proving less likely in wartime to weed out extremists, especially those in combat units....

"We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad," the report quoted a Defense Department investigator as saying.

The center said young civilian extremists are encouraged by adult leaders to enlist in the military to gain access to weapons and training and to recruit other military personnel.

"The reasons are obvious: soldiers are trained to be proficient with weapons, combat tactics and explosives, to train others in their use, and to operate in a highly disciplined culture that is focused on the organized violence of war," the center said...

The Defense Department investigator quoted in the report said he has identified 320 extremists over the past year, only two of whom have been discharged.

Investigators also uncovered an online network of 57 neo-Nazis on active duty with the Army and Marines, spread across five military installations in the United States, the center's report said.

This is pretty frightening in itself. We know how incompetent our Federal government is in terms of matters like this. You know, a fixed budget. As I pointed out when homeland security funds were diverted for this coming year from high terror target risks to places subject to natural disasters, they are always preparing to fight last year's battle. And the older the story is, the more it is ignored.

Which is why the next Timothy McVeigh is probably getting his training right now, at our expense.


shayna said...

This story is seriously slanted. The Army, like any other organization, has employees who's personal beliefs are disgusting and there are soldiers who do belong to groups like those mentioned in the article, but unlike IBM or Walmart or McDonalds, when the military discovers that our soldiers engage in this behaviour, they are punished severely and removed from service. The military doesn't tolerate it.

There are two sides to every story... Our military should be supported instead of being bashed because of a few bad apples.

Karen said...

another *blind eye* added to the long list of the bush adm.

shayna said...

Karen... Are you referring to me being a "blind eye"... if so... obviously you do not know me. I for one have never and will never be a bush fan or supporter. I am and forever will be a military supporter and believe there are two sides to every story. We seem to focus on all the bad stories but rarely do we ever hear the stories of the good... and having MANY friends and family in the military... I have heard many of the good.

I don't think this post is fair to all of those military who believe and are doing their job.

shayna said...

And... if you weren't referring to my comment... I apologize and disregard my above rant. :)

Eli Blake said...


As you know, I put up a post not so long ago pointing out that the numbers of troops accused of malfeasance was very low.

That said, the concern I have in terms of this report is not anything about the army's policy on kicking these guys out, but the apparent fact that it isn't now being followed (two out of 320 identified is hardly much about kicking them out).

When I lived in Missoula, MT between 1986-1988, the Aryan Nations was very visible-- they even had a radio show that came on once a week. They also were involved in a number of violent acts in the Northwest during that time, including murders, bombings, extortion and terroristic threats (I went out with a girl who lived up near Glacier Park, and plenty of her neighbors who I met at least had quite a lot of sympathy towards them, if they weren't in fact members, which some may have been). All Timothy McVeigh did was to cast a very clear spotlight on an organization that people who've lived near them have known about for a long, long time.

Do I think that most of the soldiers in the army are members of the Aryan Nations? Absolutely not (in fact the army is a model of integration). But to deny that these people exist is wrong (more than wrong, it's dangerously wrong), and if they are starting to trickle back into the service then this needs to be exposed to the light of day so that the people whose job it is to weed the garden, will do so.