Sunday, July 09, 2006

Neo-Nazis in the Military

The Southern Poverty Law Center, citing interviews with Defense Department investigators, is reporting that increasingly lax Army recruitment standards are allowing neo-Nazis, right-wing militia members, and other racist hate groups to get into the military.

The presence of extremist hate groups in the military is nothing new, as this timeline at SPLC's website shows. What is new is the resurgence of such groups after a thorough house-cleaning in 1996:

In 1996, following a decade-long rash of cases where extremists in the military were caught diverting huge arsenals of stolen firearms and explosives to neo-Nazi and white supremacist organizations, conducting guerilla training for paramilitary racist militias, and murdering non-white civilians (see timeline), the Pentagon finally launched a massive investigation and crackdown. One general ordered all 19,000 soldiers at Fort Lewis, Wash., strip-searched for extremist tattoos.

But that was peacetime. Now, with the country at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the military under increasingly intense pressure to maintain enlistment numbers, weeding out extremists is less of a priority. "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," said Department of Defense investigator Barfield.

"Last year, for the first time, they didn't make their recruiting goals. They don't want to start making a big deal again about neo-Nazis in the military, 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."

The right-wing reaction to the New York Times article that reported the SPLC's findings has been dismissive and illogical ignorant really dumb.

Gateway Pundit:

It's probably safe to say that the Old Gray Lady has lost her flippin' mind at this point...

Here's a very strange article from today's New York Times.

The Southern Poverty Law Center reports Aryan Nation grafitti in Iraq and the loathsome New York Times writes that:

...Recruiting shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq have allowed "large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists" to infiltrate the military,... estimated that the numbers could run into the thousands.

That's comical it's so odd!

First of all, military recruitment is up this year despite the best efforts from the Left and John Murtha. So, the New York Times ought to write a correction for that misrepresentation, alone.

And, as for the "Thousands of Skinheads" in the military. Show us one! Just one! 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!

First of all, the misrepresentation here is coming from Gateway Pundit, not the New York Times. Military recruitment is up after Army recruiters failed to meet their fiscal 2005 recruiting goals -- and here's how recruiters got their numbers to go up so that they could meet their goals:
  • They increased signing bonuses to unprecedently high levels, and also started giving out $1,000 bonuses to retired soldiers who persuaded someone else to enlist, which itself was an add-on to another new policy handing out $1,000 bonuses to already-enlisted soldiers who convinced someone else to join up.
  • They raised the maximum enlistment age for new recruits from 35 to 40 in March 2005; and then again from 40 to 42 last month.
  • They relaxed restrictions on tattoos to allow tattoos to be as large as desired as long as they don't show outside of the uniform; and they also loosened the outright ban on head and neck tattoos to allow recruits to have head and neck "art." [And both street gang members and white-supremacist gangs are well-known for wearing tattoos that identify their particular gang affiliation to rival gangs.]
  • Army recruiters have instructed high-school dropouts on how to get a fake diploma; and have advised potential recruits with a history of drug addiction on how to pass military drug test requirements.

And, my personal favorite, from Red Orbit, which is the site that Gateway Pundit used to "prove" that recruitment is up, but funny thing, he didn't include this quote:

The Army has made 12 straight monthly recruiting goals in part because it lowered its numerical targets for several months in this fiscal year while greatly increasing the number of recruits budgeted to be sent to boot camp in June, July, August and September. [Emphasis added.]

Second point goes to Gateway Pundit's last paragraph in my paste above:

And, as for the "Thousands of Skinheads" in the military. Show us one! Just one! 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!

Shorter G.P.: I've never had a Neo-Nazi walk up and identify himself to me, so there are no neo-Nazis in the military.

It gets even weirder when you go over to the Red State post to which Gateway Pundit admiringly refers us. In that post, someone named "streiff" tells us:

I have no doubt that there are racists, skinheads, neo-nazis, black separatists, street gangs, Atzlan aficionados, MEChA fanatics, Puerto Rican nationalists, muslim extremists and all manner of other people who have belonged to questionable organizations in the military. These people exist in society and there is no reason to expect that some of them will not wind up in the armed forces. I do have doubts that they are present in large numbers or that they let very many people know their views on race and ethnicity outside a very small circle of close acquaintances. Doing so is not a well thought out evolutionary strategy when you are in a combat zone surrounded by heavily armed people who know you hate them. But of their existence I have no doubt.

The stressed part above obviously is the perfect retort to Gateway Pundit's childlike "I've never even seen or even met a Neo-Nazi or a Skinhead in my entire life. ..."

Aside from that one moment of lucidity, streiff is just as clueless as G.P. His entire argument against the Times piece is that the paper "did no original reporting" and just rewrote the SPLC press release. Okay, streiff, we'll remember your objection to accepting a news story without question "without even going through the motions of an independent investigation of the facts to ensure that it is true" the next time you and your fellow true believers trumpet a news story based solely on what Tony Snow has said at a press briefing or on a press release coming out of the Pentagon.

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