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After Oak Creek, Matt Kennard leads the scrutiny of the US military's neo-Nazi elements

Ryan Healey16 August 2012

In a New York Times Room for Debate segment discussing white hate groups in light of the Oak Creek gurdwara shooting, Matt Kennard, author of the forthcoming Irregular Army: How the US Military Recruited Neo-Nazis, Gang Members, and Criminals to Fight the War on Terror, examines the US military's conspicuous license of neo-Nazis, criminals, and gang members that compose the infantry of America's Long War. He writes, 

The military ripped up the thin regulations it had on far-right radicals as it struggled to stock its fighting force with sufficient numbers of soldiers for the war on terrorism.

The armed forces should have known better after terrorist attacks like the Oklahoma City bombing, which was carried out by its extremist veterans. The significant number of white supremacist veterans now back in the United States, battle hardened and with weapons training gained in Iraq and Afghanistan, should scare every American.

Meanwhile, in Al Jazeera, Belén Fernández cites Irregular Army to detail the extremist danger at the heart of the US Army, how "leaders of the white supremacist movement view enlistment as a means of preparation for a domestic race war...[with] access to a laboratory of Iraqis:" 

According to a 2005 report sponsored by the US Department of Defence itself, "the military has a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy pertaining to extremism". However, Kennard's investigations suggest that even blatant "telling" often fails to incur meaningful repercussions. For starters, he reports telephoning five different Army recruitment centres, posing as an aspiring soldier curious as to whether his tattoo of Nazi SS lightning bolts will impede his soldiering aspirations. The upshot: "Despite being outlined in Army regulations as a tattoo to look out for, none of the recruiters reacted negatively and, when pressed directly about the tattoo, not one of them said it would be an outright problem".

Visit the New York Times and Al Jazeera to read the articles in full.

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