Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"I Hate Arabs More Than Anybody": Desperate Army Recruits Neo-Nazis

I believe the vast majority of American soldiers are fine upstanding patriotic citizens. But even so--even if only a tiny percentage of the military is made up of race extremists, white or otherwise--this article is chilling, because these people are getting training in how best to kill with precision, by our government.

"I Hate Arabs More Than Anybody": Desperate Army Recruits Neo-Nazis
By Matt Kennard, Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute. Posted June 17, 2009.

Why the U.S. military is ignoring its own regulations and permitting white supremacists to join.

Since the launch of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. military has struggled to recruit and reenlist troops. As the conflicts have dragged on, the military has loosened regulations, issuing "moral waivers" in many cases, allowing even those with criminal records to join up. Veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder have been ordered back to the Middle East for second and third tours of duty.

The lax regulations have also opened the military's doors to neo-Nazis, white supremacists and gang members -- with drastic consequences. Some neo-Nazis have been charged with crimes inside the military, and others have been linked to recruitment efforts for the white right. A recent Department of Homeland Security report, "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," stated: "The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today." Many white supremacists join the Army to secure training for, as they see it, a future domestic race war. Others claim to be shooting Iraqis not to pursue the military's strategic goals but because killing "hajjis" is their duty as white militants.

Soldiers' associations with extremist groups, and their racist actions, contravene a host of military statutes instituted in the past three decades. But during the "war on terror," U.S. armed forces have turned a blind eye on their own regulations. A 2005 Department of Defense report states, "Effectively, the military has a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy pertaining to extremism. If individuals can perform satisfactorily, without making their extremist opinions overt they are likely to be able to complete their contracts."

About the title: The article opens with a profile of an Iraq War veteran named Forrest Fogarty. There's seven paragraphs discussing his teen and early adult years in the white power movement and his experience with army recruitment, and then:

In 2003, Fogarty was sent to Iraq. For two years he served in the military police, escorting officers, including generals, around the hostile country. He says he was granted top-secret clearance and access to battle plans. Fogarty speaks with regret that he "never had any kill counts." But he says his time in Iraq increased his racist resolve.

"I hate Arabs more than anybody, for the simple fact I've served over there and seen how they live," he tells me. "They're just a backward people. Them and the Jews are just disgusting people as far as I'm concerned. Their customs, everything to do with the Middle East, is just repugnant to me."

Read the whole article here

(I'd've just done a "Digg" post, but I kept getting an invalid url message, no matter what I did. Maybe I'll Digg this post instead, just to get the story the wide attention it deserves... But if anyone from Digg happens to be reading this, or anyone at all knows how to work around whatever the issue was (I suspect it had something to do with the quote marks in the title--& thus in the url--myself), please let me know...)

UPDATE: Looks like it was a Salon News article first: Neo-Nazis are in the Army now. I "dugg" that one instead, but I'll stick with this post, anyway...


Capt. Fogg said...

Do these wingnuts define themselves by who they hate rather than by what they like?

Why does this Army value this man more than they value a gay soldier with irreplaceable skills and patriotic motives?

repsac3 said...

Unfortunately, these extremists (& I assume that's who you mean by "these wingnuts," rather than it's more politically partisan usage) do exactly that.

As to why the military values these guys more, I think it's just a reactionary response to a world that's changing too fast for these guys to handle. (Here, I do blame wingnuts, in it's more popular usage.) While I know having a military is a necessary evil--the troops are generally brave heroic guys, but it's sad we need 'em to be brave heroic guys, and that to be effective, they must take the lives of others--harming or killing one's fellow man requires readjusting alot of what one is taught about violence and problem-solving early in life (& in almost every other venue, throughout one's whole life). People who hate others based on race or religion are probably easier to break down & retrain, as they start out with a "moral flexibility" that the rest of us don't have.

That bit about how troops throughout the Middle East use derogatory terms like "hajji" or "sand nigger" to define Arab insurgents and often the Arab population itself, speaks volumes. These guys aren't all racists by any means, but I believe that the first step in being able to commit violence against an enemy is to see his life as being worth less than everyone else's, and these terms (like gooks, slants, jerrys, reds in previous wars) help to dehumanize them, and thus make them easier to hurt and kill as needed.

That's my take anyway...