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Don’t Ask and Don’t Tell… We Have Neo-Nazis in our Military July 20, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in communities of color, lgbt Issues, military.

From the Southern Poverty Law Center:

Ten years after Pentagon leaders toughened policies on extremist activities by active duty personnel — a move that came in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing by decorated Gulf War combat veteran Timothy McVeigh and the murder of a black couple by members of a skinhead gang in the elite 82nd Airborne Division — large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists continue to infiltrate the ranks of the world’s best-trained, best-equipped fighting force. Military recruiters and base commanders, under intense pressure from the war in Iraq to fill the ranks, often look the other way.

Neo-Nazis “stretch across all branches of service, they are linking up across the branches once they’re inside, and they are hard-core,” Department of Defense gang detective Scott Barfield told the Intelligence Report. “We’ve got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad,” he added. “That’s a problem.”

Over 25 percent of American soldiers killed in Iraq have been people of color. Black, Native American, Asian-American, Latino and other American soldiers are fighting overseas for the United States government and its people. But with recruitment numbers low, the military has eased its policies on allowing another group of people to serve: Neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

Department of Defense investigator Scott Barfield:

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…

Last year, for the first time, they didn’t make their recruiting goals. They don’t want to start making a big deal again 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.

Barfield has presented evidence against 320 soldiers involved in white supremacist organizations and other extremist activities. It has resulted in two discharges. The government has given a behind-the-scenes nod to ignore racists in the ranks, effectively forcing soldiers of color into a situation where the enemy is both in Baghdad hideouts and U.S. military sleeping quarters.

Supporters of the anti-gay policy Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell claim that openly gay people in the military would adversely affect:

  • unit cohesiveness
  • mutual trust and confidence among servicemembers
  • respect from the American public

Despite one’s opinion on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, it goes without saying that Neo-Nazis and white supremacists in the military must adversely affect unit cohesiveness, trust among fellow soldiers and respect from the American public. So where is the strict and enforceable policy banning bat-shit crazy racists from joining the military… an institution that happens to be about 27 percent Black? Would soldiers prefer a Neo-Nazi or a gay man with a gun by their side?

The Southern Poverty Law Center report helps make two tragedies painfully visible. First, a complete lack of respect for soldiers of color by government officials who are willing to help ease recruitment troubles by admitting racists who could threaten the lives of fellow soldiers. Second, the blatant discrimination against gay and lesbian people in the military… people who must hide their identity while risking their lives for this country. The influx of racists in our military shows that officials have banned gay and lesbian people because of homophobia, because they are clearly not too concerned about unit cohesion and trust among soldiers.

Want to do something? Visit the Southern Poverty Law Center or the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.



1. News Fit to Post - making social justice visible » Ignorance and Fear Used as Arguments for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” - August 18, 2006

[…] His second argument is based on ignorance, not fact or informed opinion. He talks about a loss of morality in the military if gay and lesbian people are able to serve openly. A ridiculous statement that is made even more ridiculous by the recent sexual harassment, rape and white supremacist problems that have plagued Army bases throughout the country. If this man is truly worried about morality in the military, he should focus his attention on rooting out Army base violence and prejudice, not making sure gays and lesbians keep their mouths shut. […]

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