Holy. Fucking. Shit.
For all of the things that the military, Rumsfeld, Dear Leader and the rest of the neocon war criminals have done to our troops, this has to be one of the stupidest and most long-term damaging thing to our soldiers.
Buried in today's NY Times is an article about how the military is now recruiting neo-Nazis and other white supremacy groups due to the shortfall in recruits. This is just what we need to hear right now - a brutal rape and murder of Iraqi civilians by a soldier results in the torture and beheadings of two of our own soldiers. And now our "true" soldiers have to deal with the repercussions of hate groups infiltrating the troops and making them bigger targets?
Oh, yeah...it gets worse.
The article refers to a report by the Southern Law Poverty Center which gives some more sobering news:
Under pressure to meet wartime manpower goals, the U.S. military has relaxed standards designed to weed out racist extremists. Large numbers of potentially violent neo-Nazis, skinheads and other white supremacists are now learning the art of warfare in the armed forces.
Department of Defense investigators estimate thousands of soldiers in the Army alone are involved in extremist or gang activity. "We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad," said one investigator. "That's a problem."
So now we are taking members from our own hate groups, giving them a gun, very little training and sending them overseas to go kill. And learn how to hone their killing skills for when they return to the US. And put our hard working, honest serving, dedicated troops in more danger by, well, doing what they learned to do here in the US - hate and kill and promote violence against people for no reason other than racist, bigoted simpleminded xenophobia.
A few bad apples? Supporting our troops? Please tell me how this is the "zero tolerance policy" for hate groups in the military that was passed in 1996? How is this NOT a horrible idea that will only lead to more incidents of torture, rape, poor tactical decision making and of course, retribution by Iraqi "insurgents"?
Not to mention those who are serving in Iraq or Afghanistan and are prone to being swayed by hate groups or other pressure to conform or fit in:
The report quotes Scott Barfield, a Defense Department investigator, saying, "Recruiters are knowingly allowing neo-Nazis and white supremacists to join the armed forces, and commanders don't remove them from the military even after we positively identify them as extremists or gang members."
Mr. Barfield said Army recruiters struggled last year to meet goals. "They don't want to make a big deal again about neo-Nazis in the military," he said, "because then parents who are already worried about their kids signing up and dying in Iraq are going to be even more reluctant about their kids enlisting if they feel they'll be exposed to gangs and white supremacists."
Barfield, who is based at Fort Lewis, said he has identified and submitted evidence on 320 extremists there in the past year. "Only two have been discharged," he said. Barfield and other Department of Defense investigators said they recently uncovered an online network of 57 neo-Nazis who are active duty Army and Marines personnel spread across five military installations in five states -- Fort Lewis; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Stewart, Ga.; and Camp Pendleton, Calif. "They're communicating with each other about weapons, about recruiting, about keeping their identities secret, about organizing within the military," Barfield said. "Several of these individuals have since been deployed to combat missions in Iraq."
Are you for real? I think that parents have every right to be concerned about this. They are already most likely concerned about their sons and daughters being killed in a country that was invaded because of lies and greed. Now the military cares so little about the troops and their families that they are WILLINGLY recruiting people from hate groups and looking the other way because they don't want to have people that may actually want to serve their country be concerned about their kids being pressured to join hate groups or be endangered moreso because of them? How fucking negligent is that?
And if you want to talk about a security threat to our country as a result of this:
"Neo-Nazi groups and other extremists are joining the military in large numbers so they can get the best training in the world on weapons, combat tactics and explosives," said Mark Potok, director of the SPLC's Intelligence Project.
"We should consider this a major security threat, because these people are motivated by an ideology that calls for race war and revolution. Any one of them could turn out to be the next Timothy McVeigh."
So what are we doing - training them to kill and commit hate crimes over there so they can come back and commit more here against American citizens? What will happen when we find out that a neo-Nazi was willfully recruited, came back to the US and committed a "terrorist act"? Another bad apple? You know what the saying is about a few bad apples, yes?
Lest you think that this is something that is a "coincidence", hate groups are proud of their ability to infiltrate the military once again, and are actually bragging about it on some websites and message boards.
Last July, the white supremacist website Stormfront hosted a discussion on "Joining the Military."
"There are others among you in the forces," wrote one neo-Nazi in the Army. "You are never alone."
There are a number of examples in the article about people who are affiliated with hate groups - even recruiting people into hate groups and are/have served in Iraq. What is also telling is that a 1998 DoD report that warns of the dangers in having hate group members in the military:
According to a 1998 study commissioned by the Department of Defense, "Young civilian extremists are encouraged by adult leaders to enlist in the military to gain access to weapons, training, and 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. This is why military extremists present an elevated threat to public safety, and why extremists groups both recruit active duty personnel -- especially those with access to classified information or sophisticated weaponry -- and influence their members to join the armed forces.
"The threats posed by extremism to the military are simultaneously blatant and subtle," the Defense Department study said. "On the one hand, high-profile terrorist acts and hate crimes committed by active and former military personnel can have seriously detrimental effects on the civil-military relationship as well as on the morale and security of military personnel. On the other hand, even the non-violent activities of military personnel with extremist tendencies (e.g., possessing literature and/or artifacts from the extremist 'movement'; dabbling in extremism through computerized telecommunications activities; proselytizing extremist ideologies, etc.) can have deleterious consequences for the good order, discipline, readiness, and cohesion of military units."
Special Forces soldiers who double as extremist operatives present a special danger, since they have commando skills gained at huge taxpayer expense -- often including urban warfare, long-range reconnaissance, and combat demolitions.
"Hate groups send their guys into the U.S. military because the U.S. military has the best weapons and training," said T.J. Leyden, a former racist skinhead and Marine who recruited inside the Marine Corps for the Hammerskins, a nationwide skinhead gang. He later renounced the neo-Nazi movement and now conducts anti-extremism training seminars on military bases.
"Right now, any white supremacist in Iraq is getting live fire, guerilla warfare experience," Leyden said. "But any white supremacist in Iraq who's a Green Beret or a Navy SEAL or Marine Recon, he's doing covert stuff that's far above and beyond convoy protection and roadblocks. And if he comes back and decides at some point down the road that it's race war time, all that training and combat experience he's received could easily turn around and bite this country in the ass."
Just unbelievable. The DoD's OWN REPORT cites the dangers to troops overseas as well as the general population once they come back.
Our military is willfully recruiting and training those who are likely to come back to the US and commit domestic terrorist acts, or at least spread hate and bigotry.
That is a danger to our troops. That is a danger to the American public.
And it is being done on purpose. In our name.