Hate Groups Infiltrating U.S. Military?
The U.S. military is being infiltrated by white supremicists asserts a group that makes its living stirring up racial fears.
Adecade after the Pentagon declared a zero-tolerance policy for racist hate groups, recruiting shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq have allowed “large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists” to infiltrate the military, according to a watchdog organization. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist and right-wing militia groups, estimated that the numbers could run into the thousands, citing interviews with Defense Department investigators and reports and postings on racist Web sites and magazines. “We’ve got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad,” the group quoted a Defense Department investigator as saying in a report to be posted today on its Web site, www.splcenter.org. “That’s a problem.”
A Defense Department spokeswoman said officials there could not comment on the report because they had not yet seen it.
The center called on Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to appoint a task force to study the problem, declare a new zero tolerance policy and strictly enforce it.
The report said that neo-Nazi groups like the National Alliance, whose founder, William Pierce, wrote “The Turner Diaries,” the novel that was the inspiration and blueprint for Timothy J. McVeigh’s bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, sought to enroll followers in the Army to get training for a race war. The groups are being abetted, the report said, by pressure on recruiters, particularly for the Army, to meet quotas that are more difficult to reach because of the growing unpopularity of the war in Iraq.
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.”
The report, legal briefs, and the letter to Rumsfeld are available on the SPLC site.
Frankly, the SPLC and its leader, Morris Dees, are rather scary and not the most trustworthy source on such matters. See Ken Silverstein’s “The Church of Morris Dees” and the longrunning investigations into their ethical problems by the Montgomery Advertiser.
Nonetheless, I’m sure there are some substantial number of white supremacists in the military and that hate groups wouldn’t mind getting their young members the best infantry training in the world. Still, the same is true of street gangs (see here and here). And the Black Muslims (see “Uncle Sam’s Jihadists” in Slate, for example). The military will wash most of these people out rather quickly.
UPDATE: This one’s getting quite a bit of attention around the ‘sphere.
- C.S. Scott says this is “An utterly ridiculous claim to say the least” and reminds us that the Army has reached its recruiting goals 12 consecutive months.
- Marc Schulman wonders, “How many of the recently reported murders of Iraqi civilians were committed by these neo-Nazis?”
- Blue Crab Boulevard thinks the NYT is “hyperventilating” again.
- Chris in Paris observes, “Rummy has nothing to say about it so far, but I wouldn’t expect him or anyone else in the administration to complain, as long as they get their numbers or close to the target numbers.”
- Kevin Hayden: “In addition to breeding terrorists, Bush’s policies are now breeding Timothy McVeighs.”
- Gateway Pundit: “I’ve never seen or even met a Neo-Nazi or a Skinhead in my entire life, but I am supposed to believe there are thousands in the military?… Please!”