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How did the US military fail to prevent the spread of right-wing extremism among its members?

The Intercept said that the US military has been suffering for decades from a persistent and deadly problem, which is that some elements who serve in its ranks and soldiers who previously joined the military service have embraced the extreme right-wing ideology.

The site revealed – in a lengthy investigation prepared by investigative journalist Melissa Del Bosque, which dealt with the failure of the US military in dealing with the spread of white supremacy ideology in its ranks – that the extremist right-wing groups are systematically working to recruit members of the army and encourage their members to join the military service.

A spokesman for the US Department of Defense made a statement to reporters shortly after the mob stormed Congress on January 6, in which he said, “We know that some (extremist) groups are actively trying to recruit our (members of our army) to serve their cause, or encourage their members to join. The army (with the aim of) acquiring skills and experience, and they believe that the fact that they can say that they have ex-military elements consistent with their extremism and violent extremist views lends legitimacy to their cause. “

Lloyd Austin, the new defense secretary in the Biden administration, pledged to purge the army of racists and extremists, after it was found that dozens of those accused of storming the Congress building had military backgrounds.

The Intercept commented that Austin, who is the first black secretary of defense in the United States, will first have to deal with the military culture ingrained in the US military that has long ignored the problem.

Demonstrators raise slogans denouncing the extreme right in front of the White House (Reuters)


The investigation cited many examples and events that reveal the extent of the neglect of the US military commanders to check the backgrounds of the new recruits in their units. Although some of them spread the ideology of groups that believe in the supremacy of the white race on the Internet during recruitment and after joining the army, this did not raise The leaders worried, and did not prevent their recruitment.

Lucia Brooks, an official with the Southern Poverty Law Center, a US nonprofit, says that for decades she and other groups have pressured the Defense Department for decades to take basic measures that would uncover white supremacists during recruitment, such as looking into bases. The data, the tattoos they put on, the checking of their social media accounts.

And she adds, “They will not apply strict auditing procedures. For example, searching social media accounts can reveal a lot, as we have seen recently.”

Brooks indicates that the FBI is checking the social media accounts of thousands of US National Guard members who are guarding the Capitol building during the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

The Associated Press reported that at least 12 members of the vetted guard were returned to their homes due to security concerns. It was found that they had spread extremist views on the Internet, some of them about Biden’s installation, and some of them were found to have links with right-wing militias.

Military armored vehicles around Congress to secure it during preparation for the inauguration of Joe Biden (Al Jazeera)

The size of the shaper

The investigation indicates that one of the prominent challenges facing officials in the Ministry of Defense is that they do not know the extent of the spread of extreme right-wing ideology in the ranks of the army.

Defense Secretary Austin called in early February for a measure that applies to all army units, requiring military leaders to set aside a day to talk to their units about extremism.

John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters shortly after the announcement that one of the challenges that prompted the Secretary of Defense to take this action is that the Defense Department does not know the breadth and depth of the problem of the spread of Yemeni extremism in the ranks of the army.

White danger

The investigation indicates that the dilemma of the spread of extremism among the army’s elements is exacerbating. A poll conducted by the American Military Times newspaper, over a period of 4 years, to find out the views of the army’s members, revealed whether they personally witnessed cases whose owners adopt a racist ideology and ideas of superiority The white race in the military, 57% of those surveyed from minorities answered yes.

This is a high number compared to 42% who answered yes in 2017, when the survey was first conducted.

According to the poll, “the military personnel included in the study classified white nationalism as a national security threat comparable to that of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State organization, and more worrisome than the threat posed by North Korea, Afghanistan, or Iraq.”

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