Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Homeland Security Report: American Veterans are Potential Terrorists - I am Not Making This Up

'As is well known,' 1 American soldiers are trained to use weapons, including explosives.

Timothy McVeigh was an American soldier.

Veteran Timothy McVeigh helped blow up Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995.

Obviously, American veterans are very dangerous people, and should be watched closely.

No, I don't believe it: but that's apparently the sort of logic that Homeland Security is using these days.

I'm Not Making This Up

"Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," is a Homeland Security/FBI collaboration. And, parts of it may make sense.

"Though the nine-page report said it had 'no specific information that domestic right-wing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence,' it said real-estate foreclosures, unemployment and tight credit 'could create a fertile recruiting environment for right-wing extremists and even result in confrontations between such groups and government authorities similar to those in the past.'..." (CNN)

"Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment" may be very nice and sensible. But if it's anything like the (draft, I trust) copy of a MIAC report with a similar subject, everybody to the right of Pelosi could be in trouble.

MIAC identified people who supported Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, or Bob Barr in the last election as potential terrorists. Also people who were pro-life.

As I said, I am not making this up.

I wish I were.

Looking Forward to a Nicer America?

I think I can understand the current administrations preference for dropping the term "War on Terror." It's so, well, warlike. And most people agree that war isn't nice.

From the sounds of the current Homeland Security head, we may be in for at least four years of euphemisms.

"...During her confirmation hearings, Napolitano told a Senate committee she preferred to use the term 'man-caused disasters' in lieu of 'terrorism' to describe the threats and potential threats with which her department must deal...." (USN)

If this keeps up, we may have to learn contemporary newspeak, just to figure out what our leaders are saying.

Overseas, a Mixed Bag of Opinions

I found two rather different takes on the report:
  • "The Obama administration has issued a chilling warning to US police forces about the threat of a rise in violent rightwing extremist groups...." (guardian)
  • The Homeland Security/FBI report "is the latest wheeze dreamed up by the Obama administration to distract us from the fact that roughly half America now realises the man's New Deal II project is a slow-motion car crash...." (telegraph)
I won't go as far as Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, in throwing terms like "leftwing" and "rightwing" around. But, I think he may have a point:

"...'Their leftwing assessment identifies actual terrorist organizations, like the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front. The rightwing report uses broad generalizations about veterans, pro-life groups, federalists and supporters of gun rights,' said Smith. 'That's like saying if you love puppies you might be susceptible to recruitment by the Animal Liberation Front. It is ridiculous and deeply offensive to millions of Americans.'..." (FOXNews)

Actually, I'm delighted and a bit surprised that ELF and ALF were identified as being similar to 'terrorist' organizations. For much of my life, their sabotaging of logging operations and setting the odd fire was viewed as overly-fervent political statements. Or, by the news, ignored outright. As I've said before, I've done time in academia.
'Those People' Again?
It's possible that the report suffered from lack of direct contact with dangerous people like veterans. I don't know exactly who put the report together. It's quite possible that they were people who have had extremely little direct contact with American veterans.

There hasn't been a military draft since 1973. I don't have statistics, but I think it's possible that an all-volunteer armed forces has resulted in fewer people having had personal contact with people who served, or are serving, in the armed forces. The American military today isn't, demographically, an exact replica of America as a whole. They're better educated, more likely to be from the middle class, and disproportionately Asian or Hawaiian / Pacific Islander than your group of "average American." (January 4, 2009)

It's possible that, after leaving the armed forces, veterans don't go into the elite circles that drafted "Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment."

And, the people who drafted the report are human beings. It's a very human thing to fear the unknown.

Lets Hope the Nice Talk Today is True

As Timothy McVeigh demonstrated, you don't have to be an Islamic Arab to be a terrorist.

And, as I've written before, every system of belief has it's crazies.

I'm glad that Homeland Security realizes that not everyone who is concerned about environmental issues is a potential terrorist. I just wish that the same courtesy would be extended to people who served in America's armed forces, supported Ron Paul, or have views that are not in accord with Nancy Pelosi's.

Related posts: In the news:
1 A tip of the hat to Walt Kelly, creator of the Pogo comic strip. "As is well known" was a catch-phrase, if I recall correctly, of a character in that strip: one Simple J. Malarky, Walt Kelly's take on Senator J. McCarthy.


Brigid said...

"If this keeps up, we may have to learn contemporary newseak,"

I think that's supposed to be "newspeak"?

Anonymous said...

I blogged about the DHS report yesterday. It was pretty chilling stuff. Napolitano is trying to spin it better today but the message was clear: be careful how enthusiastic you are about opposing the Obamessiah's agenda.

Brian H. Gill said...


Right you are! And, corrected.

Brian H. Gill said...

The Pajama Underground,

I remember the 'commie hunter' years too well to take all claims seriously. On the other hand, I am extremely concerned about what does appear to be a consistent tendency to see pro-lifers, veterans, gun owners, and supporters of Ron Paul as dangerous radicals.

I posted another facet of our leader's approach in "Religious Symbols Verboten! 'IHS' Verboten! - Rules for Leader's Appearance at Georgetown" (A Catholic Citizen in America (April 16, 2009)). I usually stay away from references to the Third Reich and the German Chancellor's vision for Europe - but that ban on religious symbols was, in my opinion, over the top, and disturbingly reminiscent of earlier attempts to stamp out unwanted beliefs.

Death the Destroyer of worlds said...

They should be afraid, afraid of anyone that can read the constitution. But veterans are a fair enough target, because we know how to fight back all is fair.

Brian H. Gill said...

Death the Destroyer of worlds,

My take on this is that there's heavy irony in fearing the people whose companions have laid down their lives to preserve Americans' freedom to say and do daft things.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.