Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Is Everyone Who Isn't A Card Carrying Democrat A Potential Right Wing Extremist?

There is an unclassified document from the Department of Homeland Security making the rounds that has certain segments of our society up in arms. I can't say that I blame them. The way it reads, from the title on, makes it seem like anyone who holds a view that is out of step with the current administration is suspect. That would include me. It is entitled Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.

Well, yes. This would not be rocket science. As evidenced by the spate of violence around the country. Be it the killing of a small child, stuffing her in a suitcase and dropping her in an irrigation pond or a mad man slaughtering police officers, when people are desparate enough, they can snap.

Many veterans groups are especially up in arms, not because
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stands behind the report
but because of the negative light it shines on returning soldiers. It says, in part:
"Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to right-wing extremists. DHS/I&A is concerned that right-wing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize veterans in order to boost their violent capacities."
It goes on to suggest:
"The return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.
What bothers me about this is the fact that it shouldn't even be an issue. We ask so much of our military, under the most trying of conditions. If they come home alive, many are without limbs or full minds, many have mental problems that may not manifest for years. However, given the proper care and opportunities to return to a "normal" life would certainly help negate some of these suggestions before they become fact. The administration has made lots of promises in this area, but it's time for action, not just rhetoric. I'm also uncomfortable with the assumption that enough of our military return in such an unstable state that such occurrences are likely to happen in the numbers insinuated.

It gets worse. It suggests anyone from those opposed to abortion to animal rights activists may be ripe for recruitment. They've suggested to law enforcement agencies to watch for "suspicious" individuals who may have bumper stickers for third party candidates such as Ron Paul and Bob Barr. That would make a lot of folks here in northern Idaho suspect! There are still a good number of Ron Paul signs to be seen around the area.

The American Legion said that this report unfairly Stereotypes veterans.

John Boehner, House Minority Leader said, "To characterize men and women returning home after defending our country as a potential terrorist is offensive and unacceptable."

He's correct. Take it even further - to lump environmentalists, animal rights advocates, those who prefer local government control over federal, or dare to display the "wrong" bumper sticker - or maybe even having attended a "tea party" as potential extremists sends a harsh message.

Our government doesn't trust us. If the feeling is mutual we're all in trouble. Beware the rip tides.


Margie's Musings said...

Even worse is the suicides occur when many soldiers return. The rate is horrible. These men and women are traumatized by what they have been through.

Anonymous said...

I'm old enough to remember when the 3 R's meant readin', 'ritting and 'rithmetic. Now it means a resurgence of radicalization and recruitment. Say what Mr. Obama? Let us back up a bit, wasn't it the Democrats who decried the establishment of Homeland Security? And now they claim that returning veterans (among others, including myself) can be terrorists. Insulting and degrading simply doesn't cover it. Could it be that our returning vets, as well as the military, are appalled at what is happening to the country they defend with their well being and, all too often, their lives? I have a theory, my wag the dog theory, if the gov't can divert attention from what is truly going on, they can meet their goals without opposition. I do not hear things that go bump in the night. Nor do I buy into the great conspiracy theories. But I recognize that something totally opposite to what America is and what she stands for, is "afoot". And it scares me to death. CU

Margie's Musings said...

Obama has been president three months. Surely you aren't blaming him for the state of the nation after we Republicans have been in power for eight years.

Word Tosser said...

Paranoid, disgusting, and an insult no only to our troops, but our citizens.

Linda said...

Having read only what you've printed here I will comment but it's dangerous to do that not having read the material myself.

I don't see the issue of returning veterans turning radical and joining terrorist groups, as anything but a failure of the federal government to provide adequate mental health care. That care is every bit as important as the care we give the physically wounded. A good example of not providing that care is the number of homeless Vietnam War veterans in our country who tried but could not find their way back into society. Remember, Americans spit on some of them.

I don't think I've known of any returning veterans joining right wing groups but we certainly hear of those who snap and kill themselves, their families or people they work with.

Third party bumper stickers is off limits in my book, that's going too far. We don't want to turn this into McCarthyism.

What does concern me are the groups yelling "Kill him" referring to Obama at Sarah Palin's rallies and her doing nothing to stop it. That's over the line in politics in my world.

I also worry about racist hate groups in this country that are said to be on the rise.

I'm concerned about religious hate groups and hate crimes across the country.

I believe the right-wing's prominent presence on radio, and the very popular FOX cable news network contribue a lot to the atmosphere of hate in this country.

Veterans, I'm not worried about them.

Anonymous said...

Margie, it under his direction that the Homeland Security issued this degrading edict. It is under his direction that the most bloated budget in our history has been passed. This budget is so loaded with pork that it beggars comment. This budget will burden children yet unborn. It is under his direction that the unsupportable bailouts were granted. It is under his direction that there are more bailouts to come. It was under his direction that the AIG bonuses were paid. It was under his direction that the GM CEO was fired. It is under his direction that we are well on the road to socialism and nationalisation of private business. Exactly whom else am I to blame? Yes the national deficit under Bush was enlarged...but I would remind you that was a Democratic congress. CU

Anonymous said...

Good points Linda. Certainly yelling "kill him" is appalling. There will always be hate groups. These are usually made up of very insignificant people with no self esteem. They indulge in this behavior to build themselves up in their own eyes. As unacceptable as this is, it will probably never stop. And extremism is equally unacceptable, whether it is on the right or the left. That too will always be with us. We are a huge nation comprised of all kinds of people. Every barrel has its bad apples as well as the mushy apples. We contend with diversity. But neither racism nor extremism excuse budgets that burden future generations. It does not excuse socialism or nationalising private industry. In my very long lifetime, I have never seen such a cross section of the population, country wide, raise up to object to the out of control taxes and where this money is being spent. This is very serious and should send a very strong message to the administration. Definitely time to adjust the course this ship of state is taking. CU