Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Well...Nazi's Love Uniforms (gulp)

Just when I thought the news couldn't get any weirder or more depressing, the New York Times (here) with the help of the Southern Poverty Law Center (which you'll find on my links list), has just left me stupified. Apparently, according to a military investigator's report, the military (and most especially the Army) now has what may be thousands of rabid racists roaming the streets of Iraq on our nickel, learning how to use sophisticated weapons on our nickel, and practicing house-to-house missions on our nickel so they can learn how to do the same thing in the future right here in the good old U.S. of A. when they finally "cleanse" our nation of the "undesirables"!!

What!? my brain screamed (as I contemplated the $7000 bill I just got from the I.R.S. because of a mortgage deal that went south). I wanted to believe that the Times was mistaken. After all, they've had their problems in the past. But there it is, in the paper and on the SPLC website, with names and everything.

"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.'"

Now, what is this telling us? First of all, it's telling us that the U.S. population isn't supporting the war on Iraq enough to sign up to fight. Well, we knew this, right? Otherwise, why would recruiters be routinely staging humongous dog-and-pony shows on college campuses and fighting in court for the right to continue? And why would we see them charging across Walmart parking lots in poor neighborhoods to tempt young men of color like so many uniformed dope boyz with quotas to meet? And why would ads in Jet magazine--every week--encourage parents to talk their children into signing up? Okay. So that's old news, I guess.

And I've always known that neo-Nazis and other kooks get their training in the military. Where else are they gonna get it? It's not like you can sign up for "How To Blow Stuff Up 101" or "Advanced Killing" at your local community college. (And I know the directions are available on line, but not with hands-on, state of the art instruction and unlimited opportunities to practice--while you're getting paid.)

But this stuff about the recruiters and the officers knowing and letting it slide? Oh, oh, oh, please tell me this is new! And how is it explained? According to Mr. Barfield:

"They don't want to make a big deal...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."

Uh huh! We'd certainly hate to think those parents who are so carefully being enlisted to enlist their young would be uncomfortable. Not better to get rid of the psychos. Oh, no! Better to just keep 'em a secret from the parents!

It's a cinch they're not a secret from the Iraqi's for very long. According to Barfield, "We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad. That's a problem."

No. Kidding.

I mean, I can see where it would be difficult to keep the locals convinced that you're there to "bring them democracy" when you have spray-painted messages popping up in public places--in English--calling them and other people of color pejorative names. But hey! An Army's gotta do what an Army's gotta do! If the Commander-in-Chief says throw some more logs on the fire, who's gonna tell him no?

Actually, this little issue caused some excitement a decade or so ago, too. Timothy McVeigh, it turned out, who was executed for bombing the federal building in Oklahoma City, first espoused his right-wing philosophy while serving in the Army and found his sidekicks among the ranks of fellow soldiers, as well. Then, while we were still smarting under this revelation, another incident came along involving the dishonorable discharge of nineteen neo-Nazis in 1996, after three European-American paratroopers were convicted of randomly murdering a Black couple--to win tattoos, no less! The result was a crack-down on racist and extremist activities in the military. It's a little scary that there even had to be one. I mean, did none of these guys have tattoos going in? But at least, the Army was moving in the right direction--at the specific instruction of Washington, I might add.

But you know how it is. Time goes by and quotas must be met. Then, as other countries (who never did really ante up a whole lot of troops, especially not for long term warfare) started bringing their troops home (what a concept!) and we ran out of the 50,000 green card holders we talked into becoming soldiers, some things just had to be done. Winking at crazies as they sign on the dotted line appears to have been one of them.

In an article in Resistance, the hyper-racist National Alliance's magazine, Stephen Berry, a former Special Forces officer who now serves as the organization's "military unit coordinator," urged skinheads to join the army and insist on serving in light infantry units.

"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. 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'...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."

Good to know...I guess...


And I would assume that we can expect the military to take some kind of immediate radical action concerning this most serious matter. Especially in the face of all the torturings and murders and gang rapes and all that keep implicating U.S. soldiers in general in Iraq and making them infinitely less safe than they would be otherwise. Surely, the Army would want to strongly and instantly distance itself from any practice of allowing Nazi's and their ilk into the U.S. military or ignoring their activities once identified, right?



Another Conflict Theorist said...

It only stands to reason. This country's government has never taken the white supremacist threat seriously - even after Timothy McVeigh. Imagine a world in which the Oklahoma City bombing was committed by "Muslims". Every possible measure would have been taken to root these people out. One guess as to why neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and militia groups haven't been subjected to the same Orwellian scrutiny as Arab-Americans.

RachelsTavern said...

I have been seeing this story, and it is really sad. There has been a sort of underground current like this in the military for several years (The McVeigh example is good).

I suppose the good news that the military is still the most integrated social institution in this country, but it is sad that these types of organizations are infiltrating(SP?) the military.

Each-1-Teach-1 said...

Disgracefull, yes, surprising, not. As "act" said, there no seriousness in our government went it comes to these hate groups. Although extremely dangerous, as proven by McVeigh, these groups do not pose as a power threat to Washington, hell many of them votem our officials into office. Now the problem goes beyond training the neo-Nazis in live, active duty, on our dime, they actually have the opportunity to use this training in house. Although there are laws designed to punish hate crimes, there aren't nearly enough to control guns that could be used for insane scenarios like hunt downs. Who really needs asault weapons that can shread a person to pieces? Certainly not me, but I guess some people would feel unsafe without one, hmm. Power, theaten to take it and you'll see all kinds of stops to this, no transfer, no worries, it's all in the family, right. I would really like to see something done about this issue. So far all I see is news on a bunch of "isolated incidents", yet nothing attributed to a larger issue at hand.

Peacechick Mary said...

I personally know a young man who went into the army, hoping to get college money (that's a bust, by the way). When he went in, he was a reasonable young man and now upon his return, he is full of hate and frequently speaks in racial slurs. His mother is very distraught over this change. The army sure does a great job of teaching hate. Just think of the ordinary people who get converted to neo-nazi thinking. Boot camp breaks them down and then, the brain washing starts. Sad and alarming.

iaintlying said...

Now this shakes me to my core. I AM ex-military and there WERE some
racist individuals that I encountered in the higher ranks from time to time, but I had no clue it was jumping off like this.
I'm starting to think the "Land of the free, and the home of the brave", has become the "Land run by the insane and the home of those who enslave".

JoshuaJDrew said...

this is fine if we keep them at the front lines. Neo-Nazis are bad asses who can KILL so let 'em. I knew one and he was one of the scariest people I've ever met. Let's just not give them any positions of authority.

Changeseeker said...

The only reason I didn't delete this comment immediately, Joshua, is that I wanted to make a clear point to you about any future comments you might feel inclined to make on this blog. In Iraq, even as I write this, babies are dying, young girls are being raped, and the whole society is in total chaos because the current administration has been allowed to attack a country that did not attack us. Your comment is disgusting. Give me one more excuse and I'll erase you like a blackboard.

JoshuaJDrew said...

or i could just be provoking discussion but thats ok

Changeseeker said...

Commenters All: I would guess it's no surprise by now that I feel very strongly--and unapologetically so--about institutionalized oppression against people of color, the murder of children, the rape of anyone (especially the young), and wars of aggression. Additionally, it's not lost on me that in 2003 a poll asking the question "Who really poses the greatest danger to world peace--Iraq, North Korea, or the United States?" reported 86.9% of the nearly 700,000 responses to be the U.S. And Europe is our historical ally! Further, if that was in 2003, one can only imagine what the responses would be now. I am heartsick over the news that produced this post and really have nothing else to say about it, but I do appreciate your presence here and assure you that even when I become a lurker on my own blog, I, too, am present. Blessings.

glenda said...

Great writing. Yes, we are complicit in all the violence going on toward the civilain population. There are psychopathy tests available for recruits, but if we gave them to potential soldiers, we aould not make our recruitment quotas. This is evil, immoral, the worst kind of pandering to this admnistration.

I've been reading the Southern Poverty Law Center news at their website for years. Go click on the map of your home state to find out how many different kinds of homicidal groups are operating in your area?

Changeseeker said...

Last time I checked, Glenda, in terms of active hate groups, Florida (where I live) was third only to California and Texas, both of which are much larger. I can only assume that if we rated the states by active hate groups per capita, Florida would win hands-down. I had never seen the KKK in person until I moved to Florida. Well-ignored lynchings still occur on a semi-regular basis, police and correctional officers here routinely hit the news for brutality against people of color, and now we are apparently exporting the problem to prey on innocent people in other countries. Great. Not to mention the fact that if they come back alive, they return well-trained and crazier than ever due to spending months or even years in a no-holds-barred war zone. And what kills me is that the government is in no position to cut back on weird recruiting because they need bodies. Literally. It's just mind-bending. How could this situation get worse?

Anonymous said...

It's institutional wilding at its worst!

Changeseeker said...

Indeed, it is. And that's a perfect term for it. Thanks for reminding me. :-D

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

it's truly a shame... in one way or another the system has always seemed to exploit whatever hate and prejudice there are, and intensifies them the more and more it "progresses." in the past 30 years there has been a tremendous amount of economic growth, due to the supposed "triumph of democratic capitalism." yet ethnic conflict and strife have also risen markedly around the world, and things in our own country have certainly not become any better. a huge hurdle in our ability to overcome all this ridiculous hatred is all the inequality created by that irreproachable, foolproof, sure-to-solve-all-your-problems 'invisible hand.' and racism and oppression become manfiested throughout the world as we have so intolerantly subdued it to our will, propelled by the hyper anomic compulsions of those with the power to define. and for what? no wonder nearly all the world points to US as the number one threat to world peace.

"His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe that keeps piling ruin upon ruin and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress."
-Walter Benjamin

Changeseeker: It is a remarkably hopeful thing that there should be even a single person like you in the world, who IS the change that she wants to see. Thank you!

Changeseeker said...

I don't feel up to the challenge sometimes, nomorewilding. It means more than you can know to be encouraged by such kind--and knowledgable--words. Thank you.

Professor Zero said...

oh god(dess) ... when i saw this story it seemed bad enough, but i hadn't yet connected it to the idea of house to house searches here ... had expected these, of course, but only now do i realize *exactly* who it is who will be conducting them.

should one favor a draft ??? i wouldn't normally, why encourage further militarization, but now i sometimes wonder. ???

Changeseeker said...

I read on a blog somewhere tonight about somebody going to a military graduation ceremony and finding a number of those graduating not to be citizens...? So I guess the green card army is still building. But regardless, Professor, horrific as it all is, I would rather this latest creepy news fuel our urges to just bring 'em home where (and we can keep an eye on 'em).