In his "about me" section, "SoldatAMG" describes himself as a "Sergeant in USMC stationed at Camp Lejeune. I recently returned from my 3rd trip to Iraq. I fight every day to stem the tide of multicultturalism and to ensure that my children have a better world. SIEG HEIL!" -- Stars and Stripes
Why, it feels like only yesterday that every right-wing talker on the planet -- from Michael Savage to Greta Van Susteren -- was denouncing the Department of Homeland Security for supposedly "smearing our veterans" by issuing a bulletin for law-enforcement officers warning that right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis intended to recruit members of the military and returning veterans.
Now Stars and Stripes is reporting on just how far, indeed, neo-Nazis have infiltrated our military ranks:
It is Facebook for the fascist set, and the typical online profiles of its members reveal expected tastes.
Favorite book: “Mein Kampf.”
Favorite movie: the Nazi propaganda film “Triumph of the Will.”
Interests: “white women.”
Dislikes: “anyone who opposes the master race.”
But there’s one other thing that dozens of members of newsaxon.org, a white supremacist social networking website, have in common: They proudly identify themselves as active-duty members of the U.S. armed forces.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, the Montgomery, Ala.-based watchdog group that tracks extremist hate groups, has compiled a book containing the online user profiles of at least 40 newsaxon.org users who say they are serving in the military, in apparent violation of Pentagon regulations prohibiting racist extremism in the ranks.
The military has been shrugging this off. So the SPLC is going to take the matter up with Congress:
On Friday, the SPLC will present its findings to key members of Congress who chair the House and Senate committees overseeing the armed forces and urge them to pressure the Pentagon to crack down.
“In the wake of several high-profile murders by extremists of the radical right, we urge your committees to investigate the threat posed by racial extremists who may be serving in the military to ensure that our armed forces are not inadvertently training future domestic terrorists,” Morris Dees, SPLC co-founder and chief trial counsel, wrote to the legislators. “Evidence continues to mount that current Pentagon policies are inadequate to prevent racial extremists from joining and serving in the armed forces.”
Added Mark Potok, editor of the Intelligence Report, a magazine produced at the law center: “The Pentagon really has shrugged this off and refused to look at this in any serious way.”
As an FBI assessment made last year noted:
The prestige which the extremist movement bestows upon members with military experience grants them the potential for influence beyond their numbers. Most extremist groups have some members with military experience, and those with military experience often hold positions of authority within the groups to which they belong.
... Military experience—often regardless of its length or type—distinguishes one within the extremist movement. While those with military backgrounds constitute a small percentage of white supremacist extremists, FBI investigations indicate they frequently have higher profiles within the movement, including recruitment and leadership roles.
... New groups led or significantly populated by military veterans could very likely pursue more operationally minded agendas with greater tactical confidence. In addition, the military training veterans bring to the movement and their potential to pass this training on to others can increase the ability of lone offenders to carry out violence from the movement’s fringes.
America has really been fortunate for the past 30 years or so in that the vast majority of right-wing domestic terrorists -- from the militiamen who plotted to blow up a Sacramento propane facility (likely dead: about 3,000) to the cyanide-bomb maker to the would-be dirty-bomb builder -- have proved to be incompetent or catchable; in many cases, we've simply been lucky they were done in by fate. When there have been exceptions -- Timothy McVeigh and Eric Rudolph particularly -- there has also been a military background.
In other words, our luck may be about to run out. And we can thank right-wing yammerers for having delayed and distracted us from dealing with it in a timely fashion -- before it happens.