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NYT: Skinheads in Baghdad
Posted by: McQ on Friday, July 07, 2006

Yes folks we have a new report that claims thousands, thousands I tell you, of skinheads are in the military thanks to, wait for it, recruiting problems and the lowering of standards because of the war in Iraq.

A NY Times story today opens with this:
A decade after the Pentagon declared a zero-tolerance policy for racist hate groups, recruiting shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq have allowed "large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists" to infiltrate the military, according to a watchdog organization.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist and right-wing militia groups, estimated that the numbers could run into the thousands, citing interviews with Defense Department investigators and reports and postings on racist Web sites and magazines.

"We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad," the group quoted a Defense Department investigator as saying in a report to be posted today on its Web site, www.splcenter.org. "That's a problem."
OK fine. Obviously no one wants white supremacists in the US military. Or any racially oriented gang for that matter. That's a given.

But what is the real extent of the problem?

First the NY Times:
The report quotes Scott Barfield, a Defense Department investigator, saying, "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."
Indeed that is a quote from Barfield found in the SPLC report. But so is this:
Barfield, who is based at Fort Lewis, said he has identified and submitted evidence on 320 extremists there in the past year. "Only two have been discharged," he said. Barfield and other Department of Defense investigators said they recently uncovered an online network of 57 neo-Nazis who are active duty Army and Marines personnel spread across five military installations in five states — Fort Lewis; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Stewart, Ga.; and Camp Pendleton, Calif. "They're communicating with each other about weapons, about recruiting, about keeping their identities secret, about organizing within the military," Barfield said. "Several of these individuals have since been deployed to combat missions in Iraq."
So between Barfield and "other Department of Defense investigators" we have actually identified, at most, 377 "extremists". And, at this point, we only have the word of Barfield that the 320 he's identified are indeed "extremists".

Barfield goes on:
Every year, the Army's Criminal Investigation Division conducts a threat assessment of extremist and gang activity among army personnel. "Every year, they come back with 'minimal activity,' which is inaccurate," said Barfield. "It's not epidemic, but there's plenty of evidence we're talking numbers well into the thousands, just in the Army."
OK ... if that is so, why isn't the evidence available? I mean if the SPLC is going to make explicit charges about the level of activity in the military being in the "thousands", you'd think they'd have more than one guy's estimate.

The report, 6 pages long, then goes through page after page of examples of skinheads in the military, with the vast majority of them serving in the late '90s.

And still no evidence of 'thousands' of skinheads in the military. But lots more general conjecture:
"Hate groups send their guys into the U.S. military because the U.S. military has the best weapons and training," said T.J. Leyden, a former racist skinhead and Marine who recruited inside the Marine Corps for the Hammerskins, a nationwide skinhead gang. He later renounced the neo-Nazi movement and now conducts anti-extremism training seminars on military bases.
We know all of this because of those who were found in the military in the '90s. Of course Barfield is right there validating all of this and trying to intimate the same is going on now:
"Right now, any white supremacist in Iraq is getting live fire, guerilla warfare experience," Leyden said. "But any white supremacist in Iraq who's a Green Beret or a Navy SEAL or Marine Recon, he's doing covert stuff that's far above and beyond convoy protection and roadblocks. And if he comes back and decides at some point down the road that it's race war time, all that training and combat experience he's received could easily turn around and bite this country in the ass."

Department of Defense investigator Barfield confirmed that threat assessment. "Today's white supremacists in the military become tomorrow's domestic terrorists once they're out," he said. "There needs to be a tighter focus on intercepting the next Timothy McVeigh before he becomes the next Timothy McVeigh."
All true, but at this point, we're still well short of those "thousands" of skinheads in the military. The closest we ever get is this:
Hundreds of neo-Nazis online identify themselves as active duty soldiers. "When you are in, after you finish basic training, your discretion is very important," Ulfur Engil wrote in a recent Internet posting. "If you are someone who wears boots and braces keep a second pair that's neutral looking (black). Remove any obvious pins from your jacket (runes by themselves are okay, though. They don't take issue with them, providing there is no obvious [racist] arrangement. The USO in Keflavik, Iceland, actually sold runes!) Do NOT use any Internet connection offered by the base or do ANYTHING on a military server. NOTHING. Get an Internet connection that is private and off-base, invest in EvidenceEliminator, and set up an email account with Hushmail and/or Ziplip."
Well yeah, and Jessie MacBeth said he was a Ranger. On-line commandos are a dime a dozen.

And even if true "hundreds" still isn't "thousands". Barfield himself concedes, "it's not epidemic ..." but to this point, other than Barfield's estimate, there is nothing which provides evidence that "thousands" of skinheads are serving in the military.

Do I want skinheads in the military. No. Should they all be discharged if it is found that they are indeed members of a racist group? Yes.

But was that the purpose of the story?

No.

The purpose is found in the sub-head to the SPLC report: "Ten years after a scandal over neo-Nazis in the armed forces, extremists are once again worming their way into a recruit-starved military."

And that translated to this paragraph in the NY Times piece:
The groups are being abetted, the report said, by pressure on recruiters, particularly for the Army, to meet quotas that are more difficult to reach because of the growing unpopularity of the war in Iraq.
Really? So obviously the only possible answer is they're doing a little "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" with the racists to be over quota at this point, is that it?

Be nice if they had more than one guy's estimate to base all this conjuncture upon.

Oh, and just another little goodie to throw in the mix ... the Baghdad graffiti? That could be a couple of National Guardsman who've been in the NG for 20 years and successfully hidden their racism through the purge of the '90s. I mean if we want to engage in alternative conjecture and all.
 
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If there are hundreds of white supremacists fighting in American uniforms in Iraq, that is a crisis. If we’re going to support the adventurism of the War in Iraq, then at least we can minimize the damage our presence creates.

There was a time when the US had influence in the world because it represented a shining example of liberty, of a nation where human rights and decency were held sacred. This is no longer the case. I just came back from Oz/New Zealand and we’re even considered a joke there. Secret prisons and warrantless searches are not consonant with the simple, elegant system the founders created. So do we really want even one story of some skinhead raping and killing an Iraqi woman?

"Wink wink, nudge nudge" indeed.
 
Written By: Vuk
URL: http://
If there are hundreds of white supremacists fighting in American uniforms in Iraq, that is a crisis. If we’re going to support the adventurism of the War in Iraq, then at least we can minimize the damage our presence creates.
"If" is the operative word, Vuk. Got anymore evidence than the SPLC? Because their report is clearly insufficient to prove the claim.

I don’t mind addressing a problem if it’s real, but I do mind messing with stuff based on estimates and conjecture.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
The problem with Vuk’s analysis is that US was never held in high regard in the world, ever. Prior to "secret prisons" and "warrantless searches" it was that we were crime ridden.

Out of jealously or one sort or another, many want to hold the US in low regard. So when our own media outlets giftwrap stories of varying degrees of varacity, its no wonder other country’s media jump on the bandwagon, run with it, and add their own enhancements to them. But these are flavors of the month.

I’m sure the lefties will scratch their heads as to why these stories don’t disappear overnight like they will with the US media if we elect a Democrat to office.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Would these be those same secret prisons in Europe that European agencies say they cant find and have no proof of?

Or are these some new secret prisons?
 
Written By: Anoymous
URL: http://
I saw the article and read the report too, and you’re right: the "evidence" given was outdated at best and anything remotely recent was woefully short on specifics.

And specifics are what’s req’d if you’re going to levy the charge of "the military knew and did nothing" since you have to determine what we "knew."

Moreover, it’s all fine and good that a bunch of dumbshytes are running around the Internet claiming to be active duty, but absent some other identifying information—what exactly is the military to do?
 
Written By: Army Lawyer
URL: http://armylawyer.blogsome.com
"Would these be those same secret prisons in Europe that European agencies say they cant find and have no proof of?"

Well of course they can’t find them, they are secret. Sheesh. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Given the evil nature of the current American regime, it is inevitable that such things exist.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Man so let me calculate this 377 Skinheads/Neo-Nazi’s out of a full loadout of ~1.2 MILLION men and women, wow that’s 0.031416666666666666666666666666667% of the force! It’s a CRISIS, WE MUST REDEPLOY TODAY AND THEN EXAMINE EACH AND EVERY MEMBER OF THE ARMED SERVICES FOR NAZI TENDENCIES!
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Confession. I went to neither of your links. Just from what you provided I get that there are possibly 350 skinheads.
Every year, the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division conducts a threat assessment of extremist and gang activity among army personnel. "Every year, they come back with ’minimal activity,’ which is inaccurate," said Barfield. "It’s not epidemic, but there’s plenty of evidence we’re talking numbers well into the thousands, just in the Army."
Does that "extremist and gang activity" also represent latino gangs, bloods/crips, vice lords, etc. Are their "numbers well into the thousands" representative of only skinheads. Pretty misleading and I think it’s deliberately so.
However, I agree with McQ-get them all out of the military.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Actually I think we ought to throw only the PRACTICING gang-members out...I believe in Redemption. At one point in our lives we’ve all been STOOPIT...Why give a General Discharge or Dishonourable Discharge to a service member who is performing adequately? I’m naive here I admit it, BUT if Bob or Roberta are performing their job and NOT busy recruiting new members, spreading the "Gospel" of the Folk/Aryan Nation nor steakling equipment for the coming race war, why would you discharge someone?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Apply some basic statistics, guys. 370-odd racists were found out of how many who were actually seen by investigators? Not every person in the army, that’s for sure. Probably not one half or one quarter or even one tenth. If that’s 370 out of 50,000 then an estimate of "thousands" for the entire half-million-strong army is pretty solid statistically. If it was 370 gang members instead of skinheads, and a blue-state city of a half million instead of the army, I’m pretty sure none of you would have the least difficulty accepting it as cause for alarm. Stop filtering everything through the lens of what you do or do not want to believe (or have others know) and try working empirically for a change.
 
Written By: Platypus
URL: http://pl.atyp.us
370-odd racists were found out of how many who were actually seen by investigators?
If you want to play that game, you can apply the statistic that only 2 were discharged. There’s obviously a reason for that and it certainly isn’t necessarily that which the investigator would like to pretend. Suddenly a whole different "solid statistic" comes into play.

And it says more about the investigators than the possible extremists.

Unless, of course, you simply want to accept on its face that these 370 actually were extremists.

But then, I’d demand proof at that point, wouldn’t you?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Evidence.

Did you see the picture of the young pimply lad who’s barely taken a razor to his face being walked off in shackles, charged with the rape and murder of an Iraqi woman?

Let’s see. I have three words for you: Abu Ghraib.

You doubt that there are racists in our military? Or that they’re organized enough to at least attempt to cover up for one another (yet not smart enough to do so)?

I’ve sat and listened to the military recruiters on the campus where I do my job. I’ve watched as the young men who should least be allowed to carry weapons run to the front of the line to "kill them a raghead". I’m sure that recruiter, who’s way behind in his numbers, is going to make sure that such a loser doesn’t make it to basic training. There are fine men and women who fight and die for the US military in Iraq. Whether or not they are being squandered by those who should know better is not in question. Bill Bennett’s sons are not signing up, they’re playing lacrosse (look it up). Since service is not mandated, it often falls to those with meager options. Certainly there are many who have sacrificed to serve, but too often those with "options" choose to do something else. And many without "options" find themselves in a position of sitting across from a recruiter, asking, "what can you do for me?"

I grew up in a working class Italian neighborhood in Chicago. The kids who dropped out, got bad jobs and ended up hating the blacks or browns or anyone else who they could blame used to sign up for the Police Department, until torture scandals forced them to improve their recruitment procedures.

Evidence, no, I need evidence that there are NOT white supremacists in uniform, in Iraq.

And, Joe, are there really "~1.2 million" Americans fighting in Iraq? If so, we have bigger problems than the white supremacists.
 
Written By: Vuk
URL: http://
And, Joe, are there really "~1.2 million" Americans fighting in Iraq? If so, we have bigger problems than the white supremacists.
No dude, that’s the TOTAL LOAD-OUT of the US ARMY AC and RC...the problem was "Skinheads in the MILITARY" no?
Evidence, no, I need evidence that there are NOT white supremacists in uniform, in Iraq.
Good intellectual dodge, Vuk, let me throw it back to you, "I need evidence that there was NOT a conspiracy to kill JFK?" See, babee you can’t PROVE a negative. You might or might not have learned that in college. If you did, shame on you for trotting it out here, if you didn’t learn it at college well mayhap YOU ought to wander to the front of the recruiter line yourself...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Did you see the picture of the young pimply lad who’s barely taken a razor to his face being walked off in shackles, charged with the rape and murder of an Iraqi woman?
And that has what to do with the subject at hand?
Let’s see. I have three words for you: Abu Ghraib.
And what has that to do with the subject at hand?
You doubt that there are racists in our military? Or that they’re organized enough to at least attempt to cover up for one another (yet not smart enough to do so)?
In an organization that large I have little doubt there may be some we’d consider to be racists. But again, the question is whether there are indeed "thousands" as claimed by the NYT.
I’ve sat and listened to the military recruiters on the campus where I do my job. I’ve watched as the young men who should least be allowed to carry weapons run to the front of the line to "kill them a raghead"
More of nothing.
I grew up in a working class Italian neighborhood in Chicago. The kids who dropped out, got bad jobs and ended up hating the blacks or browns or anyone else who they could blame used to sign up for the Police Department, until torture scandals forced them to improve their recruitment procedures.
Congratulations. What has any of that to do with the subject at hand?
Evidence, no, I need evidence that there are NOT white supremacists in uniform, in Iraq.
No one has claimed there weren’t. What is being questioned is the number or claim of ’thousands’.

Have you anything to add to this or will we be subjected to more irrelevant prattle?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I have three words for you: Abu Ghraib.
Blinks Did you leave one out?
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Wouldn’t the military be an excellent way to rehabilitate any racists? Serving alongside other races and watching each other’s back would seem to be an awfully strong wake-up call to some with racist thinking.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I’m an underground racist gang leader, and I ALWAYS TELL WHITE MEN TO FORGET ABOUT FIGHTING FOR THE U.S. GOV’T, AND START FIGHTING FOR THE WHITE RACE!

We don’t want white people fighting and dying in a war based on lies by the Bush Zionist-Occupied Gov’t!

We want street fighters to let non-whites know they are NOT WELCOME IN OUR CIVILIZATION!
 
Written By: R. James
URL: http://www.aryanunion.org
Let’s see. I have three words for you: Abu Ghraib.
Ummm... lemme see... Abu + Graib = 3. Great government education you received in that Chicago ’burb
We want street fighters to let non-whites know they are NOT WELCOME IN OUR CIVILIZATION!
Who’s civilization? Civilization implies you are at least somewhat civilized. Your statement leads me to believe you are not.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
SKIN HEADS S*CK HITLERS C*CK IF THEY WANA DIE IN THE NAME OF AMERICA LET THEM THERE JUST PAWNS OF BUSH’S ADMMINISTRATION THEY DONT KNOW IT YET BUT WEN THEY’RE GIVEN ORDERS TO JUMP THE WORTHLESS DOGS SAY HOW HIGH.
 
Written By: QUASIMODO
URL: http://
Man attracting a different, tougher crowd today....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Yeah. All caps and bold case sure makes a convincing posting....
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
I did like "pawns" though that was well done.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I need evidence that there are NOT white supremacists in uniform, in Iraq.


It’s tough to prove a negative like that.

Fortunately, it isn’t necessary in this case, since McQ has not taken the position that there are no white supremacists in uniform.

In any population as large as the United States military in Iraq there will be some examples of every type of social pathology. The question isn’t whether or not there are white supremacists, but whether their presence and activity has reached the sort of crisis proportions that would justify taking extraordinary measures to try to weed them out.

My suspicion is that the focus on white supremacists has less to do with the significance of the problem than with the Left’s eagerness to include racism in their critique of the war in Iraq, and with the fact that white supremacists are one of the Left’s favorite bugaboos.


 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Also Aldo, it’s going to be the new "Action line" for the media. FIRST, the War in Iraq was foundering because NOONE WAS ENLISTING, but then that fizzled out so now the war staggers on BUT the troops stink... thye’re Cat IV White Supremecists.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
It was predictable, Joe.

When the war began, all the Vietnam-era anti-war rhetoric was trotted back out, including the complaint that the soldiers who were likeliest to fight and die would be black.

Then, someone researched the issue and discovered that now the front-line troops are disproportionately rural whites. So, given the stereotypes about rural America in general, and the South in particular, it was inevitable that the anti-war movement would look for evidence that the ranks are full of Ku Klux Klan types.

This type of argument is not limited to the Iraq war, though. As far as I can tell, the Klan and other white supremacist groups have little or no influence on mainstream American culture or politics, but it seems that in almost any political discussion on the internet someone will eventually bring up the subject of the Klan.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
The Southern Poverty law Center makes a pretty good living off the Klan and other white supremacy groups. It is to their advantage to exagerate the threat of hate groups, and according to their fund raising letters(at least the ones I have received) you would think the Klan et al. are as strong as they ever were.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I heard about this first in comments in another blog (someone employing a change-the-subject debating strategy), and this is the first full blog post I’ve encountered so far on it.

The funny thing is that in that other blog, the commenter was saying that Bush himself ordered recruiters to seek out white supremacists.

Sheesh!
 
Written By: equitus
URL: http://
Equitus it doesn’t SURPRISE, why should it you. I mean Bush defeated the Hate Crime Bill in TX...the murderers of Mr. Byrd only go the Death Penalty rather than the Double SECRET SPECIAL Death Penalty they so richly desrved. I mena it’s PROOF Bush is a Neo-fascist, Racist I wouldn’t be surprised if Laura wasn’t secretly simply wearing a wig to cover her Skinhead...

He and Dick Cheney are sending the Klan to fight to claim land and oil for their Aryans-Only Enclave that they are creating with the fellow from the Church of the World Creator...I have proof and a series of memo’s from 1972 PROVING it.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
So between Barfield and "other Department of Defense investigators" we have actually identified, at most, 377 "extremists".
If we have only identified 377 such individuals, it dosent seem all that unreasonable to suspect that the actual number could run well over a thousand.
 
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
Yet when Barfield submitted evidence on 320 individuals, only 2 were discharged. So, with a batting average of about 1 out of every 160 suspects, I think there’s significant reason to doubt Barfield’s claim of a thousand or more. At least until he gets better at producing evidence, at any rate.
 
Written By: BrianOfAtlanta
URL: http://
Yet when Barfield submitted evidence on 320 individuals, only 2 were discharged. So, with a batting average of about 1 out of every 160 suspects, I think there’s significant reason to doubt Barfield’s claim of a thousand or more. At least until he gets better at producing evidence, at any rate.
Knowing that commanders in the military have no vested interest in keeping a racist among them, I felt their collective judgment spoke much louder than anything Barfield had to say (or to say it another way, I came to the same conclusion as you, Brian).
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
There are many different ideologues in the military. This is but one tiny segment and their performance outranks their beliefs. Again, another swipe at discrediting the Military as a trusted organization. It will not work with me.
 
Written By: newc
URL: http://
Using "skinhead", "racist", and "Neo-Nazi" in an interchangable manner is misleading and ill-informed. Racist skinheads are only but a small faction of the skinhead culture. Many skinheads are anti-racist, often violently so.
 
Written By: Johnny
URL: http://

 
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