Thursday, June 11, 2009

Maybe we ought to read that Homeland Security report again...

Rightwing Extremism:
Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment

And just to be clear... This is what they said about veterans:

Disgruntled Military Veterans

DHS/I&A assesses that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat. These skills and knowledge have the potential to boost the capabilities of extremists—including lone wolves or small terrorist cells—to carry out violence. 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.

— After Operation Desert Shield/Storm in 1990-1991, some returning military veterans—including Timothy McVeigh—joined or associated with rightwing extremist groups.

— A prominent civil rights organization reported in 2006 that “large numbers of potentially violent neo-Nazis, skinheads, and other white supremacists are now learning the art of warfare in the [U.S.] armed forces.”

— The FBI noted in a 2008 report on the white supremacist movement that some returning military veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have joined extremist groups.

It doesn't say that veterans are terrorists. It says that right wing extremist groups target returning vets, and that a small number of those vets do become extremists. It is the military training that makes the small number of extremist vets more of an issue to DHS than the small number of extremist accountants or extremist small business owners, not their service.

The wingnut paranoia about this report--and the spineless reaction to it by those career security people, and moreso their political counterparts--was nonsense the first time, but would be unforgivable now, given recent events. If the mainstream right cannot admit that there are extremists and nutjobs lingering at the edges of their ideology, so be it. But that does not mean that those political and career security personnel who take oaths and pay to keep we Americans safe should cover their eyes and ears to rightwing extremism because some of our friends on the right are sensitive to the implications of rightwing violence. Their issues of identity and place should not deter us from defending this country from domestic terrorists, right or left.

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