A Few Bad Apples

Really bad apples:

A decade 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."
It gets worse. Scott Barfield, a Defense Department investigator who was interviewed as part of the report, says that because of pressure to meet recruitment goals, the Army is knowingly allowing white supremacists to join up and is trying to keep the problem quiet because “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." Meanwhile, white supremacist groups are exploiting the situation, encouraging their followers to enlist “to get training for a race war.”

The report cited accounts by neo-Nazis of their infiltration of the military, including a discussion on the white supremacist Web site Stormfront. "There are others among you in the forces," one participant wrote. "You are never alone."

An article in the National Alliance magazine Resistance urged skinheads to join the Army and insist on being assigned to light infantry units.

The Southern Poverty Law Center identified the author as Steven Barry, who it said was a former Special Forces officer who was the alliance's "military unit coordinator."

"Light infantry is your branch of choice because the coming race war and the ethnic cleansing to follow will be very much an infantryman's war," he wrote. "It will be house-to-house, neighborhood-by-neighborhood until your town or city is cleared and the alien races are driven into the countryside where they can be hunted down and 'cleansed.'"

He concluded: "As a professional soldier, my goal is to fill the ranks of the United States Army with skinheads. As street brawlers, you will be useless in the coming race war. As trained infantrymen, you will join the ranks of the Aryan warrior brotherhood."
So add “highly trained race warriors bent on ethnic cleansing in America” to the list of spectacular accomplishments to come out of George Bush’s war of choice.

By way of perspective, these groups are extremely limited in their reach, and, as Litbrit detailed, even the Minutemen, who, David Neiwert notes, are “probably the most successful immanation of the far right into the mainstream since the heyday of the Klan in the 1920s,” are falling apart as we speak. But the longer the war goes on, the more opportunity white supremacists will have to get trained. And it’s worth remembering that the reason the military first endeavored to rid itself of extremists is because Timothy McVeigh, responsible for the biggest domestic terrorist attack perpetrated by an American, “had espoused far-right ideas when he was in the Army and recruited two fellow soldiers to aid his bomb plot.” It’s nothing to sniff at, even if an imminent race war is improbable.

The Defense Department isn’t commenting, saying they haven’t yet seen the Southern Poverty Law Center’s report. Let’s hope someone over there gets off his ass and makes it a point to nip this shit in its ugly bud. I’m talking to you, Rummy.

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