Monday, February 23, 2009

Danger from the military

To our own president:

It’s no surprise that a person who allegedly hoped to kill President Barack Obama has white supremacist leanings. But the fact that the threat allegedly came from a U.S. Marine has again raised the issue of extremists in the military.

Marine Lance Cpl. Kody Brittingham, stationed at Camp Lejuene, N.C., was arrested in mid-December on an unrelated armed robbery charge and, as a result, separated from the service on Jan. 3. But a search of Brittingham’s barracks also turned up a journal containing white supremacist material and a plan to kill Obama, according to a newspaper account. That reportedly prompted a Secret Service investigation of his alleged threats against the president that is ongoing.

The incident is the latest disturbing account that suggests extremists are infiltrating the military — even as officials deny there’s a problem. Yesterday, Southern Poverty Law Center President Richard Cohen wrote to the Pentagon expressing his disappointment that military officials have taken no action on evidence of white supremacist activity in the military provided as early as 2006 by the SPLC.

“To be frank, it appears that we’re not getting anywhere,” Cohen wrote to Under Secretary of Defense David Chu in his Feb. 11 letter. “We provide evidence from multiple sources about the problem of extremists in the military, and you continue to claim that the military already has a zero-tolerance policy. You tell us that we should bring any information we have about extremist activity by specific Service members to the attention of appropriate Service authorities. But, as we have explained in our reports and in previous letters to you and the Secretary, we have done so, and the authorities have not taken action.”

[snip] [my bold]

[...]military recruiters, under intense pressure to meet quotas for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, began to unofficially lower entrance standards. As a result, in 2006, the SPLC issued a major report, “A Few Bad Men,” that revealed that large numbers of neo-Nazi skinheads and other white supremacists were joining the armed forces to acquire combat training and access to weapons and explosives.

The SPLC report was sent to then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld along with a letter from Cohen urging the military to adopt a zero tolerance policy with regard to extremists in the ranks. Forty members of Congress wrote a similar letter, as did Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). But in his letters of reply, Chu dismissed all their concerns as exaggerated. The military took no remedial action.

Two years later, in 2008, the SPLC reported on new evidence — including an unclassified FBI report — that supported its initial findings. After that report, Cohen wrote Chu, again asking that the military adopt a zero tolerance policy. Chu replied on Dec. 28, saying the military already had such a policy in place and needed nothing more. “We are committed to sustaining a culture in which all personnel from diverse backgrounds serve together in defense of our great nation,” Chu wrote.

But numerous cases suggest otherwise.
President Obama is a brave man, but please keep him safe from the armed nutjobs we have running about our country and the world.

We need him.


DB said...

This is kind of scary actually. Lowering (character) standards has been a bad idea from the start. Proper planning of these wars would not have put us in this position.

ellroon said...

The Bush administration didn't want proper planning because that would have exposed their illogical rush to war.

Anyway, arming the insane and filling them with lies to go out and do harm is an American tradition....