“US military is now a sanctuary for racists, gang members and the chronically unfit” – Book excerpt from “Irregular Army” [Guardian]

Excerpt from Irregular Army: How the US Military Recruited Neo-Nazis, Gang Members, and Criminals to Fight the War on Terror by Matt Kennard

“…The neo-Nazi movement has had a long and tense relationship with the US military. Since its inception, the leaders of the white supremacist movement have encouraged their members to enlist. They see it as a way for their followers to receive combat and weapons training, courtesy of the US government, and then to bring what they learn home to undertake a domestic race war…a large portion see themselves as insurrectionary forces. To that end, professional training in warfare is a must…”

“…Many of the wars’ worst atrocities are linked directly to the loosening of enlistment regulations on criminals, racist extremists, and gang members, among others. Then there are the effects on the troops themselves. Lowering standards on intelligence and body weight, for example, compromised the military’s operational readiness and undoubtedly endangered the lives of US and allied troops. Hundreds of soldiers may have paid with their lives for this folly…”

…A report, Soldiers Of Misfortune, by the American Civil Liberties Union, found that the US government was actually in contravention of an international protocol prohibiting the recruitment of children into military service when they are under 18 years old. It also noted that the US military disproportionately targets poor and minority public school students, but its findings were dutifully ignored…

…information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act that found the number of convicted criminals enlisting in the US military had nearly doubled in two years, from 824 in 2004 to 1,605 in 2006. In that period, a total of 4,230 convicted felons were enlisted, including those guilty of rape and murder.  On top of this, 43,977 soldiers signed up who had been found guilty of a serious misdemeanour, which includes assault.  Another 58,561 had drug-related convictions, but all were handed a gun and sent off to the Middle East. " The fact that the military has allowed more than 100,000 people with such troubled pasts to join its ranks over the past three years illustrates the problem…

One of the most horrific of the reported atrocities by the US military in Iraq, the murder of the al-Janabi family in Yusufiyah, involved a convicted criminal, Steven D Green, whose enlistment required special dispensation because of his criminal record. But research has shown that these recruitment practices engender breakdown within the ranks as well. During the "war on terror", one in three female soldiers reported being victims of some form of sexual assault while in service. In fact, US women service members are today more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than to be killed by enemy fire. No one knows how many Iraqi or Afghan women and girls have been subjected to similar atrocities, although cases such as the rapes and murders in Yusufiyah suggest it was equally endemic, and went equally unpunished…

Guardian excerpt excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article link here


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