Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It's Too Easy To Blame Veterans, It Seems

On April 15th, Kathleen Belew, a professor at Northwestern University, published an opinion editorial about white supremacist Frazier Glenn Miller (also known as Frazier Glenn Cross), who gunned down three people in Overland Park, Kansas last week while screaming "Heil Hitler!"

Miller, an avowed racist and anti-Semite who once started his own Klan-related group in North Carolina called the White Patriot Party, killed three people he believed were Jews on April 13th. None of the three victims were actually Jewish.

The problem with Ms. Belew's article is her linking military combat service to white supremacy as if it's widely accepted that the two go together. Because Miller/Cross spent 20 years in the army (and was discharged for passing out racist literature...  duh) and he trained his own group in military fashion, naturally it was his military training that caused his hatred.

Belew says "the number of Vietnam veterans in that (white supremacy) movement was small - a tiny proportion of those who served - but Vietnam veterans forged the first links between Klansmen and Nazies since World War II."

So a few Vietnam vets join extremist groups when they get home and it's because of their military service? I'm sure it had nothing to do with their racist and/or anti-Semite views they had before they enlisted.

She says members of these groups "carried weapons like those they had used in Vietnam and used boot camp rhetoric to frame their pursuit of domestic enemies." What "boot camp rhetoric" is and how it was used she doesn't say.

She quotes the now infamous report released by the Department of Homeland Security in 2009 that says military veterans returning from war are likely candidates to join extremist groups. The report was decried by veterans, military leaders and other military organizations as being far too general.

The report says "Military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists carrying out violent attacks. DHS was "concerned that right-wing extremists will try to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities."

DHS shelved the report and removed it from its website in the aftermath of outcries from military personnel, past and present. Their generalization makes it sound as if all combat vets are automatically going to become right-wing domestic terrorists upon returning home.

Ms. Belew says of the report "The threat, however, proved real." She doesn't say how or what information she used to verify it - only that it proved real. I guess she's using this particular shooting in Kansas to verify her twisted view of military veterans.

Her final paragraph pretty much sums things up and injects her far-left wing bias into her article.

"That Mr. Miller was able to carry out an act of domestic terror at two locations despite his history of violent behavior should alarm anyone concerned about public safety. Would he have received greater scrutiny had he been a Muslim, a foreigner, not white, not a veteran? The answer is clear and alarming."

No, Ms. Belew, the answer is not clear, except to liberals who think like you. First of all, this incident doesn't qualify as "domestic terror." Who was he trying to terrorize? He killed three people he believed were Jews because he's anti-Semetic to the point of being dangerous. It was a hate crime and that's what he's being charged with.

Secondly, although white supremacists to commit acts of violence from time to time, their violence is nothing compared to say... the black on black shooting that take place in Chicago on a regular basis. 44 deaths there over the Easter weekend. I would venture a guess that very few, if any, of those perpetrators were combat veterans. Yet they're out there killing people. Funny how that type of violence isn't addressed by people like you or the Department of Homeland Security.

Would he have received more scrutiny if he'd have been Muslim? I guess that depends on what his affiliations were. If he was a known member of Hamas or Al Qaeda then the answer is yes. But you yourself said violent behavior is difficult to predict. Did Miller display signs that he was going to go out and kill someone? We don't know. Did he do it because he was a veteran? The evidence doesn't support that conclusion. But you will continue your quest to prove it, I'm sure.

**A note at the bottom of the article says Kathleen Belew, a postdoctoral fellow in history at Northwestern University, is currently working on a book about Vietnam vets and the radical right. Go figure.

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