Who is a Danger to U.S. Military? A Gay Man or a Neo-Nazi?

| by Reason Foundation

According a new report to be released today by the watchdogs at the Southern Poverty Law Center, dozens of members of the neo-Nazi networking website "New Saxon" (go find the link yourself) describe themselves as active-duty members of the U.S. armed services in their online profiles.

In other words: Some of those in armed forces are also those who burn crosses—at least on the Internet. (Zack de la Rocha almost nailed it, I guess.)

The Stars and Stripes reports:

On Friday, the [Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)] will present its findings to key members of Congress who chair the House and Senate committees overseeing the armed forces and urge them to pressure the Pentagon to crack down.

“In the wake of several high-profile murders by extremists of the radical right, we urge your committees to investigate the threat posed by racial extremists who may be serving in the military to ensure that our armed forces are not inadvertently training future domestic terrorists,” Morris Dees, SPLC co-founder and chief trial counsel, wrote to the legislators. “Evidence continues to mount that current Pentagon policies are inadequate to prevent racial extremists from joining and serving in the armed forces.”

One servicemember on the site announced that he had been in the Army for five years, and that he "will do anything to keep our master race marching." Comments like these suggest more than just casual racism—a lot of the content seems like the expression of deeply-held beliefs by committed white supremacists. The whole thing is disturbing even if it's probably not very widespread.

The U.S. military's policy against racial extremism in the ranks is similar to its policy regarding homosexuality. Both policies are framed as safeguards against forces—racism and sexual tension—that could undermine unit cohesion.

Since "don't ask, don't tell" was implemented in 1993, about 12,000 servicemen have been discharged for revealing their homosexuality. The lackadaisical enforcement of the ban on white supremacism means that few, if any, white supremacists have gotten the boot. Which is more dangerous to unit cohesion: a gay man, or a neo-Nazi?

Mike Riggs told Reasoners what's wrong with "don't ask, don't tell" a year ago.