Here’s another of the many terrifying things that will never come up in the Presidential debates, or the campaign itself. Why should it? After all, the story can’t possibly be true, because we have the finest military in the history of the universe or any other universe now extant or ever to be born. Just ask any American politician.
Also troubling is the argument of how extreme ideology has been allowed into the military. British journalist Matt Kennard in his new book “Irregular Army: How the U.S. Military Recruited Neo-Nazis, Gang Members, and Criminals to Fight the War on Terror,” has tracked how the military has relaxed retention standards to maintain a fighting force for two wars — from raising the enlistment age and repealing the anti-gay Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to tolerating everything from drug abuse, corpulence, gang activity, and extremism. Misconduct discharges have also dropped, from a high of 2,560 before the wars to less than 1,500 by 2006.
The military policy on extremism has evolved since the Vietnam War, Kennard explains to Yahoo!, and “an active-duty soldier must reject active participation in white supremacy groups,” but “tons of discretion is given to the commander” over discipline. His book brings up the example of a criminal Army investigation of a soldier who provided a military technical manual to an extremist group. No charges were filed, since the organization couldn’t obtain the explosives and the “action commander or prosecutor indicated intent to do nothing or at least only ‘action amounting to less than a court proceeding.’”
Even more frightening is how some nihilists recommend using the military to get skills: essentially, government-subsidized training for extremists. That was the advice given by supremacist Dennis Mahon, who spoke to Kennard before he was arrested and sentenced to 40 years for a bomb attack:
“[The military] are so desperate at the moment; they are going to let you in with a small swastika... The soldiers learn from unconventional warfare in Iraq and they realize that they can use that type of warfare in America, and it’s impossible to stop. I tell people to learn as much as you can to improve munitions capabilities, patrolling; I want them to learn sniping and explosives, the Green Berets. Once they go in they are not supposed to tell anyone who they are.”