Don't Ask, Don't Tell—Unless You're a White Supremacist; That's Totes Cool!

July, 2006: "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 [The Southern Poverty Law Center]. … '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, 'That's a problem.'"

June, 2009: "Salon has just published a big piece about white supremacists infiltrating the US military care of the increasingly lax regulations on extremism in the ranks, now that the military can't afford to be the slightest bit picky about who it takes. The article underlines one of the most worrisome aspects of white supremacists' military involvement and hints at a very ugly possible future in America when a bunch of highly-trained extremists comes home: 'White supremacists may be doing more than avoiding expulsion. They may be using their military status to help build the white right.'"

July, 2009: The Southern Poverty Law Center reports they have "recently found dozens of personal profiles on a neo-Nazi website where individuals listed 'military' as their occupation—the latest evidence of extremist infiltration gathered by the SPLC."
In recent months, SPLC investigators found approximately 40 personal profiles that listed "military" as an occupation on the Internet forum New Saxon, which is operated by the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement. One individual, who claims to be serving in Afghanistan, lists as his favorite book The Turner Diaries, which was written by neo-Nazi leader William Pierce. The book served as a blueprint for the Oklahoma City bombing by Gulf War veteran Timothy McVeigh. Another individual said he was about to be deployed overseas and was looking forward to "killing all the bloody sand [n-----s]." Still another spoke of his hatred for undocumented immigrants.
Meanwhile, the military newspaper Stars & Stripes, reporting on the SPLC's findings, notes: "A Stripes reporter searched the user profiles listing their job category as 'Military' and found 130 hits out of 7,906 total members."
But military officials gave conflicting answers this week when asked how policies governing racist behavior are being enforced.

A spokesman for the Department of the Army said the service takes seriously any allegations of membership in racist, extremist or hate groups. But he said such allegations are dealt with on a case-by-case basis at the unit disciplinary level or in the military justice system, and are not being addressed as an Army-wide problem.
So, a gay soldier being out, which has nothing to do with other soldiers, risks undermining troop cohesion and morale, but a soldier being a white supremacist, who actively and publicly wishes for the deaths of people of color, including the people of color alongside whom he serves, somehow doesn't risk undermining troop cohesion and morale. Yeah, that makes sense.

Contact your Senators and representative and urge them to encourage the Congressional recipients of SPLC's letter (pdf) to investigate extremism in the military.

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