Indiana Rep. Steve Buyer, the ranking Republican on the House Veterans’ Affairs committee, said it was “inconceivable” that the administration would consider military veterans a potential terrorist threat.
Republicans are now arguing that, for politically correct and politically expedient reasons, we should ignore this possible domestic terror threat identified by George Bush’s FBI and George Bush’s Department of Defense.
I understand that it’s politically correct, and fun political fodder, for Republicans to express false outrage over a new Department of Homeland Security report that noted, among other things, that right-wing extremists were trying to recruit US military members. But are the Republicans really now saying that Homeland Security should not keep an eye on terrorists’ efforts to recruit former US military members?
Yes, they are.
I give examples below, from George Bush’s FBI and DOD, detailing the problem of far-right extremists infiltrating the US military, and trying to recruit former members of the US military. The media does all of us a disservice by not demanding the Republicans explain why they are now for us abandoning efforts to monitor a threat that George Bush himself pointed out to us.
Now, let’s examine the facts, since last night, Republican leaders and the Republicans at the American Legion asserted that Timothy McVeigh was the ONLY current or former member of the military to be involved in any domestic terrorism, and therefore we don’t need to keep an eye on this potential threat.
Department of Defense investigators estimate thousands of soldiers in the Army alone are involved in extremist or gang activity
From the Southern Poverty Law Center, 7/7/06:
Under pressure to meet wartime manpower goals, the U.S. military has relaxed standards designed to weed out racist extremists. Large numbers of potentially violent neo-Nazis, skinheads and other white supremacists are now learning the art of warfare in the armed forces.
Department of Defense investigators estimate thousands of soldiers in the Army alone are involved in extremist or gang activity. “We’ve got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad,” said one investigator. “That’s a problem.”
This was George Bush’s Defense Department, Donald Rumsfeld’s DOD – they determined that thousands of extremists were at that time members of the US military. So the media needs to ask the Republicans what they are talking about. Do they think we should not keep tabs on Aryan Nation members of the US military?
FBI report: “White Supremacist Recruitment of Military Personnel since 9/11,” 7 July 2008
Although individuals with military backgrounds constitute a small percentage of white supremacist extremists, they frequently occupy leadership roles within extremist groups and their involvement has the potential to reinvigorate an extremist movement suffering from loss of leadership and in-fighting during the post- 9/11 period….
FBI reporting indicates extremist leaders have historically favored recruiting active and former military personnel for their knowledge of firearms, explosives, and tactical skills and their access to weapons and intelligence in preparation for an anticipated war against the federal government, Jews, and people of color. FBI cases also document instances of active duty military personnel having volunteered their professional resources to white supremacist causes….
A review of FBI white supremacist extremist cases from October 2001 to May 2008 identified 203 individuals with confirmed or claimed military service active in the extremist movement at some time during the reporting period….
According to FBI information, an estimated 19 veterans (approximately 9 percent of the 203) have verified or unverified service in the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Twelve of these have primary affiliations with the national organizations NSM (7), NA (4), and AN (1), six with skinhead groups, and one with white supremacist criminal gangs. FBI information indicates the activities engaged in by these individuals reflect those by veterans in the extremist movement generally since 9/11.
The Bush administration’s FBI and DOD documents thousands of cases of US soldiers being members of far-right extremist groups. Yet the Republicans are now saying that our anti-terror organizations should not keep an eye on this potential domestic terror threat because it wouldn’t be politically correct.
This is yet another example of how the far-right takeover of the GOP has led the Republicans to demagogue on every serious issue affecting our country, from the economy to terrorism. The GOP doesn’t think we should have a stimulus bill, preferring to risk another Great Depression, because they think opposition to stimulus is a political winner for them, regardless of the economic costs to the nation. Republicans don’t think the Dept. of Homeland Security should be paying any attention at all to domestic terrorists’ efforts to recruit members of the US military, because they think “defending the military” will earn them political points, even if it means risking another Oklahoma City style terrorist attack, killing hundreds of thousands of Americans in the process. Saving the country from another Great Depression or another major terrorist attack has taken a back seat to earning political points.
I hope the Republican party and the American Legion hire a good crisis management expert, and an even better lawyer, the next time a Timothy McVeigh wannabe blows up a federal building, killing hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans. Because they’re going to have some serious explaining to do as to just whose side they’re on.