First, the New York Times published a sloppy, vile smear on vets today. Because the Anti-Semite nutjob who killed three people at Jewish locations in Kansas City was once a soldier, of course the NYT had to spill gallons of ink to warn its readers that every veteran is a ticking timebomb.
Of course, the NYT forgets to mention that Frazier Glenn Miller, the accused, was forced out of the Army for his extremist views. Further, he has been out of the Army far longer than he was ever in it.
Paul Rieckhoff, director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, was outraged by Belew’s piece, which he called “sensational, slanderous and incredibly offensive to veterans.”
“Both the title — ‘Veterans and White Supremacy’ — and an accompanying graphic joining service members with KKK members are shameful,” Rieckhoff said in a statement to Military Times on Wednesday. “And the piece relies on weak research and sweeping generalizations about veterans. Especially coming right after so much irresponsible journalism that surrounded the [April 2] Fort Hood shooting, this is stunning and sad to see.
“How could the New York Times publish such a hurtful piece?” Rieckhoff said. “Veterans deserve answers from the Times — and an apology. After more than a decade of sacrifice, no veteran should have to open the newspaper and read an op-ed linking them to hate groups. In contrast to this op-ed, we should focus on telling the story of veterans doing amazing, inspiring work across the country and addressing the real challenges veterans face, including high rates of suicide and unemployment.”
Here is Belew’s shoddy logic. Step A: “Vietnam veterans forged the first links between Klansmen and Nazis since World War II. They were central in leading Klan and neo-Nazi groups past the anti-civil rights backlash of the 1960s and toward paramilitary violence.” Step B: “It would be irresponsible to overlook the high rates of combat trauma among the 2.4 million Americans who have served in our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the full impact of which has not yet materialized.” Implication: Many Iraq and Afghanistan vets are about to become violent white supremacists.
This doesn’t add up, to put it mildly, as even Belew (or her editors) seem to recognize because they put so many qualifiers into her argument. For example, she admits that “the number of Vietnam veterans in that [white supremacist] movement was small — a tiny proportion of those who served.” She also adds: “A vast majority of veterans are neither violent nor mentally ill. When they turn violent, they often harm themselves, by committing suicide.” But those qualifiers easily get loss amid the gist of the article, which clearly implies that the U.S. armed forces are a breeding ground for violent extremists.
So, are there racists in the services? Sure. The services are a reflection of the society they serve. And somehow, we as a society have not figured out how to fundamentally change the human condition.
But those people in the services who harbor racism and hatred have to keep word and deed in line with the stated values of the services. Or get kicked out. Just like Frazier Glenn Miller got kicked out. And I guarantee you, the services are even less tolerant of racism now than they were 35 years ago.
As noted in the Military.com article, the NYT finds it remarkably easy to stereotype veterans in a way it simply could not do with any other group. Did Belew and the Times look at last night’s horrific murder of five people in Calgary and conclude (with just as much evidence) that belonging to a college community makes one a mass murderer?
Shame on the NYT. But then, they are and have been shameless.
Sorta related/Little too close to the bone-
Yesterday’s link to The Duffel Blog article on registering vets as dangerous nutjobs was, I thought, pretty funny. But apparently, some folks have impaired satire skills. TAH brings us news that a political blog, one that apparently leans conservative, bought the TDB post hook, line and sinker, and sent its readers after Rep. Jim Moran.
I’m about as rabidly right wing Republican as you can get, but even I find it embarrassing that the gullible sight STILL has the story posted. No link for stupid people. You can find them on your own.
As a consequence of this “outrage” Rep. Moran’s office has apparently been flooded with calls and emails excoriating him for this plan to register vets. Of course, the first Rep. Moran ever heard of such a thing was from the misguided blowback. Moran is one of the more loathsome members of Congress, and a dim bulb to boot, but this is actually one offense he’s not guilty of.
Have a kitteh: