While we can never be sure where the next James von Brunn is going to come from, the U.S. military could be a breeding ground for his ilk. Salon reports that neo-Nazis are running rampant in the ranks, taking advantage of lax recruiting standards and hoping to use the training for their own nefarious goals, such as preparing for “a domestic race war.”
In 2008, the FBI reported that “[m]ilitary experience—ranging from failure at basic training to success in special operations forces—is found throughout the white supremacist extremist movement,” says reporter Matt Kennard. He adds: “In white supremacist incidents from 2001 to 2008, the FBI identified 203 veterans.” And it’s probably getting worse, as the growing need for new soldiers to fight the war in Iraq has led recruiters to overlook signs, such as swastika tattoos, that might indicate potentially violent racism. This may be new evidence of the “Obama Effect”—a theory posited by a criminologist that having diversity in the White House has led to an upsurge in white supremacy.
Or, as Geoffrey Millard, an organizer for Iraq Veterans Against the War, says, it could be that “the military is attractive to white supremacists … because the war itself is racist.”
Neo-Nazis Are in the Army Now [Salon]
Hadara Graubart was formerly a writer and editor for Tablet Magazine.