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So one book we are supposed to disregard but another book claiming that the US military is overrun by Neo Nazis and gang members is gospel.

I'm presuming it is this book featured in a DailyBreast article.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/12/13/how-neo-nazis-and-gangs-infiltrated-the-u-s-military-matt-kennard-s-irregular-army.html

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No, you're supposed to look at the supporting evidence. That book you linked? Its thesis was already featured comprehensively in a pretty good article from 2009.     http://www.salon.com/2009/06/15

Again. I'm not going to defend or attack Chris Kyle. The umbrage I take is this comment. "When you go "volunteer" military, you actually get the dregs for the most part" which is rather demonstrably u

Posted on the WOT forums, our very own Zinegata weighs in on the issue:       I wish that the US presidency were a sham institution, concealing a king.  Tell me when elections are suspended and w

 

 

So one book we are supposed to disregard but another book claiming that the US military is overrun by Neo Nazis and gang members is gospel.

I'm presuming it is this book featured in a DailyBreast article.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/12/13/how-neo-nazis-and-gangs-infiltrated-the-u-s-military-matt-kennard-s-irregular-army.html

 

 

No, you're supposed to look at the supporting evidence. That book you linked? Its thesis was already featured comprehensively in a pretty good article from 2009.

 

 

http://www.salon.com/2009/06/15/neo_nazis_army/

 

And before you go "biased liberal media" the article quotes DoD documents from 2005/6:

 

 

 

A 2005 Department of Defense report states, “Effectively, the military has a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy pertaining to extremism. If individuals can perform satisfactorily, without making their extremist opinions overt … they are likely to be able to complete their contracts.”

 

 

 

 

In fact, a 2006 report by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command shows that military brass consistently ignored evidence of extremism. One case, at Fort Hood, reveals that a soldier was making Internet postings on the white supremacist site Stormfront.org. But the investigator was unable to locate the soldier in question. In a brief summary of the case, an investigator writes that due to “poor documentation,” “attempts to locate with minimal information met with negative results.” “I’m not doing my job here,” the investigator notes. “Needs to get fixed.”
 

 

So really, Walter's anecdote is no mere anecdote. There was in fact a Neo Nazi problem by the 2000s - as filed by reports from the US Army itself, which wasn't resolved and was being even consistently ignored by the brass.

 

====

 

Meanwhile, here are the facts of Kyle's book.

 

First of all, it is a biography, written primarily from his own experiences and recollections. Why we've turned Belton Cooper into a punching bag and haven't done the same to Kyle, I'm not sure, but I'm not too busy hero-worshipping to apply the same level of exacting fact-checking that we've applied to SS fanfiction.

 

And really, it's not a pretty picture.

 

The first and most important thing to realize is that Kyle was found to be lying about multiple statements. He in fact was found guilty of libel against Jesse Ventura - not a man known for his credibility - because his fellow SEALs testified against Kyle. 

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2014/07/29/jesse-ventura-wins-1-8-million-in-damages-against-chris-kyle-slain-navy-seal-sniper/

 

This is before we consider the fact that he also claims to have murdered two people in cold blood in Texas (in "self defense") and said he was shooting looters during Katrina. Those who say the latter is just a joke or a tall tale would be well reminded that America just went through a couple of riots because of the possibility that police may have shot unarmed black men. Here we have a US Army sniper claiming the government authorized him to murder looters in cold blood. 

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/07/30/the-complicated-but-unveriable-legacy-of-chris-kyle-the-deadliest-sniper-in-american-history/

 

But really, all that really pales in comparison to the real problem of Kyle's record: His supposed 160 "official" kill score.

 

The problem is, I have found zero US Navy sources corroborating these claims, both the official tally of 160 nor his own guesstimate of 220+. In fact, US Special Forces command said this:

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/film/american-sniper/facts/

 

 

 

 

Ken McGraw, a spokesman for the US Special Operations Command, who said: “If anything, we shy away from reporting numbers like that. It's so difficult to prove. And what does it mean?”

 

The article then goes on to say that Kyle's co-author claims he had to verify the claims with command, but let's be frank here - we don't accept self-reported SS kill claims. Neither should we accept self-reported claims from US snipers.

 

Moreover, I have in fact tried to look for other sources to maybe try and corroborate the claims. The problem is that they all lead to even more fantastical stories and blatant inconsistencies. For instance:

 

http://projects.militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=307606

 

One of the first things I looked at was Kyle's Silver Star citation. At first glance, looks good - 90 confirmed kills over 5 months. "Plausible". But then there's also the rough edges - only 32 overwatch missions, implying 3 kills per overwatch? Only five "snipers with scoped weapons" specifically identified? Sounds like someone is just taking Chris' words at face value and applying the loose standards for kills - which is "as long as the spotter and sniper saw someone go down, it's a kill".

 

So I took a look at the involvement of the SEALs in the above battle - Ramadi 2006 - and found this book:

 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Sheriff-Ramadi-Winning-al-Anbar/dp/1591141389

 

Which claims, on the flap cover, this:

 

 

 

 Of the 1,100+ insurgents killed in the Battle, Navy SEALs accounted for a third of them.

 

At which point any sane SS fanfiction hunter goes "hold it, the SEALs claimed a total of 300-400 kills in Ramadi, stretching to a period beyond Chris Kyle's tour" (Kyle's tour ended in August 2006. The book and the battle stretches to Nov 2007). Is Kyle seriously someone so superhuman that he accounted for 1/3 of all SEAL kills at Ramadi despite participating only in 5 of its 24 months?! Something's fishy here.

 

And guess what? I managed to get a partial copy of the book (more specifically Google Books) and found Chris Kyle's name wasn't even in the index or in the entire damn book. You have Michael Monsoor, who won the MoH by falling on a grenade and a few other SEALs mentioned, but not Chris Kyle.

 

http://books.google.com.ph/books?id=C7rbAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA83&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false

 

At which point, I really just have to call bullshit. How the hell can the sniper who supposedly accounted for 1/3 of all SEAL kills in just 5 months of operations be not included or mentioned at all in a book about SEALs in that very battle? 

 

It just doesn't come together. Worse, when I look at USMC accounts of the battle, there's hardly any mention of SEALs, so even the "Sheriff of Ramadi" version may already be overglorifying the SEAL's overall achievements as it stands.
 

Hence, there really is serious doubts about Kyle's kill count or supposed heroic status. Nobody just has the courage to actually look and call it out. And really, given his public record it looks like he made it up. Or worse, if you transplant his Katrina fantasy to Ramadi, you have Kyle acting like a terrorist sniper gunning down people as it pleased him; which the Navy then papered over with a Silver Star that none of his colleagues ever thought was deserved (again, his own fellow SEALs testified against him over Jesse Ventura). The latter is a particularly disturbing possibility when one considers April '06 coincides with the Marines deciding to loosen the rules of engagement around Ramadi with predictably bad results for the civilians - something that was realized to be a mistake.

 

So, yeah, sure, let those families with Iraq War vets try and pretend that this "American Sniper" movie is some kind of catharsis. Me, I would find it supremely ironic if the film which they thought "honored" their families was in fact featuring a protagonist who was ultimately a gun-nut fraud that in fact dishonored all of the actual serving members of the military. Life can be real cruel like that; which is why people keep buying lies in the first place.

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Reading through the articles Zin posted, I found this.  

 

7. Did Kyle’s father invent the ‘sheep, sheepdogs and wolves’ speech?

 

No. The motivational dinner table chat in which Kyle’s father tells him “there are three types of people in the world: wolves, sheep and sheepdogs” has a far longer history - although not in Kyle’s memoir. As Slate point out, Hall made up the scene, but the analogy comes from Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman’s 2004 book On Combat. Grossman claims he borrowed it from an “old war veteran”, and uses the phrase in relation to the 9/11 attacks and the Iraq war. It’s since been picked up by gun rights groups, military and police circles.

 

"If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath—a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path."  

 

         

 

Is it just me or does this sound suspiciously like the Dicks, Pussies and Assholes speech from team America?

 

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I decided to dig a bit into the Chris Kyle thing myself.  I found this rather interesting review of his book on Amazon:

 

I embedded twice with Seal Team 3 in Ramadi and frankly this is just a BS novel. There were no signs advertising a bounty on his head. I saw none and nobody else I know who was there whom I've contacted ever saw one. I never even heard of Kyle until I read his book, yet I'm to believe I was sharing Metropolis with Superman or Gotham City with Batman! Hah! The fake punch-out with Ventura cost his estate a fortune. The alleged attempted carjacking somehow slipped past both the police and sheriff in the town where he claims it took place and where he killed the two carjackers. The shootings in New Orleans? No witnesses. The 160 "confirmed kills?" NOBODY confirms kills except the Air Force with pilots. Therefore he had zero confirmed kills. We have no idea how many people he sniped, but based on the rest of the book it may well have been just a handful. My first firefight was with ST3, and included heroes such as Marc Allen Lee and Mike Monsoor. (Ryan Job was in the other platoon and I never saw him until the Monsoor MOH ceremony in the White House.) I have incredible respect for them, and they showed their respect for me after the ceremony. But they have a few losers, too, and Kyle was one of them. Weaving tale after tale until finally he got the attention of a publisher and then Clint Eastwood, whose movie itself has almost nothing to do with Kyle's book. Fiction layered atop fiction like a wedding cake.

 

Normally I would not put much faith into an Amazon book review.  However, this one is by someone who used their real name and is a public figure.  The authors name is Michael Fumento, his wikipedia page backs up his claim of having been embedded in Ramadi.  Assuming this is all legit, it's rather interesting.   

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Reading through the articles Zin posted, I found this.  

 

7. Did Kyle’s father invent the ‘sheep, sheepdogs and wolves’ speech?

 

No. The motivational dinner table chat in which Kyle’s father tells him “there are three types of people in the world: wolves, sheep and sheepdogs” has a far longer history - although not in Kyle’s memoir. As Slate point out, Hall made up the scene, but the analogy comes from Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman’s 2004 book On Combat. Grossman claims he borrowed it from an “old war veteran”, and uses the phrase in relation to the 9/11 attacks and the Iraq war. It’s since been picked up by gun rights groups, military and police circles.

 

         

 

Is it just me or does this sound suspiciously like the Dicks, Pussies and Assholes speech from team America?

 

 

What makes that scene so funny is how multi-dimensional the humor is. Everyone is focused on the guy talking about pussies and dicks or the twangy country music song that is being reprised. What really goes unnoticed is the hammer sitting on the bar next to Gary. And that's because Gary has hit rock bottom and is considering ending it all and that hammer was given to him earlier in the movie in case he needed to commit suicide if he ever got captured by the terrorists.

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Again. I'm not going to defend or attack Chris Kyle. The umbrage I take is this comment. "When you go "volunteer" military, you actually get the dregs for the most part" which is rather demonstrably untrue considering that most recruits are high school graduates who come from suburban and rural locales who then use their GI Bill to go on and get a college education, learn a trade or settle down to raise a family after their enlistment is up.

 

Nor do I disagree that there are individuals in the military who are "neo-Nazis". In a governmental bureaucracy that employs hundreds of thousands of individuals, there are bound to be some bad apples that slip through. Hell, they let a damn radical Muslim shoot up Fort Hood, for Christ's sake. So how many neo-Nazis are in the military? One? Four? A dozen? A hundred? Statistically that number falls rather well below the "Dregs for the most part" number. 

 

I also keep track of hate groups on the Southern Poverty Center website and "for the most part", these are organizations that are marginalized and irrelevant and who are lucky if they are able to scrape together a dozen guys to hold a "parade" or hand out flyers. That these groups somehow then have the wherewithal to infiltrate the U.S. military in a Hydra-like plot where "most" of those who serve are secretly neo-Nazis who are one order away from staging a military revolt stretches the imagination.

 

But who knows? Maybe this is actually the case. But given the absurdity of the claim, it behooves the person making that assertion to back it up. And I'm talking more than just a a book whose sole source seems to be a dude who has some pictures of a bunch of guys in their early 20s acting stupid.

 

I hate using the term Occam's Razor but in this case it seems rather more likely that there are a group of folks with a political leaning opposite that of the majority of troops who enlist and who have little actual real contact with military culture. And given that the majority of those who enlist come from congressional districts that are conservative or at least lean Republican, it's no wonder that a large number of (rich) liberals in New York or San Francisco have a loathing of the military and its culture. At any rate, is far easier to throw around terms like "racist" when confronted with someone who has a different opinion.

 

I suppose the real question is why more liberals don't enlist in the military? 

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Reading through the articles Zin posted, I found this.  

 

7. Did Kyle’s father invent the ‘sheep, sheepdogs and wolves’ speech?

 

No. The motivational dinner table chat in which Kyle’s father tells him “there are three types of people in the world: wolves, sheep and sheepdogs” has a far longer history - although not in Kyle’s memoir. As Slate point out, Hall made up the scene, but the analogy comes from Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman’s 2004 book On Combat. Grossman claims he borrowed it from an “old war veteran”, and uses the phrase in relation to the 9/11 attacks and the Iraq war. It’s since been picked up by gun rights groups, military and police circles.

 

         

 

Is it just me or does this sound suspiciously like the Dicks, Pussies and Assholes speech from team America?

 

 

I've actually heard it before then but that is not a parallel I thought of.

 

 

Again. I'm not going to defend or attack Chris Kyle. The umbrage I take is this comment. "When you go "volunteer" military, you actually get the dregs for the most part" which is rather demonstrably untrue considering that most recruits are high school graduates who come from suburban and rural locales who then use their GI Bill to go on and get a college education, learn a trade or settle down to raise a family after their enlistment is up.

 

Nor do I disagree that there are individuals in the military who are "neo-Nazis". In a governmental bureaucracy that employs hundreds of thousands of individuals, there are bound to be some bad apples that slip through. Hell, they let a damn radical Muslim shoot up Fort Hood, for Christ's sake. So how many neo-Nazis are in the military? One? Four? A dozen? A hundred? Statistically that number falls rather well below the "Dregs for the most part" number. 

 

I also keep track of hate groups on the Southern Poverty Center website and "for the most part", these are organizations that are marginalized and irrelevant and who are lucky if they are able to scrape together a dozen guys to hold a "parade" or hand out flyers. That these groups somehow then have the wherewithal to infiltrate the U.S. military in a Hydra-like plot where "most" of those who serve are secretly neo-Nazis who are one order away from staging a military revolt stretches the imagination.

 

But who knows? Maybe this is actually the case. But given the absurdity of the claim, it behooves the person making that assertion to back it up. And I'm talking more than just a a book whose sole source seems to be a dude who has some pictures of a bunch of guys in their early 20s acting stupid.

 

I hate using the term Occam's Razor but in this case it seems rather more likely that there are a group of folks with a political leaning opposite that of the majority of troops who enlist and who have little actual real contact with military culture. And given that the majority of those who enlist come from congressional districts that are conservative or at least lean Republican, it's no wonder that a large number of (rich) liberals in New York or San Francisco have a loathing of the military and its culture. At any rate, is far easier to throw around terms like "racist" when confronted with someone who has a different opinion.

 

I suppose the real question is why more liberals don't enlist in the military? 

 

This is pretty fair. I'd bring up that whole "totally stands for scout snipers guys" flag scandal regarding seriously sketchy behavior regarding Nazism, but there's a real difference between recruiting for a peacetime military and recruiting for a wartime military. Warning, a decent fraction of this post is going to be drawing on the experiences from Vietnam through the eighties or so, because I'm pulling in large part from the excellent book Prodigal Soldiers (and I was having problems paying attention during the Iraq and A'stan bit of class so I don't remember them as well. Sorry). The wartime stuff isn't going to map cleanly at all and I'm not even going to try other than to make a point or two about volunteer vs. conscript and a little remark about what having to scrounge up manpower can do. On the other hand, I'd say there's a pretty significant difference in recruiting outlook for a peacetime military for genital waving versus regional contenders for hegemony and the military during a war lasting over a decade that has no meaningful impact on the population of the nation unless they know somebody who's in and is getting to the point where stop-loss orders are becoming problematic, with serious increases before Gates ordered a reduction.

 

First, a conscription system isn't going to get recruits evenly from across the nation's demographics. You start giving draft deferments for things like education and so on and the richer parts of society start becoming progressively (or should I say regressively) less involved in the war. There's also the fact that it's a goal to keep the population insulated from feeling the effects and costs of the war. In Vietnam they tried to shift this to people who wouldn't get as much media attention or make as many problems when drafted. Calling up the reserve would cause serious problems, and there was a serious battle to avoid calling them up but still come up with the manpower to expand involvement. The draft was very unpopular but they needed soldiers. This culminated in the utterly reprehensible and totally indefensible Project 100,000, which brought us such lovely things as soldiers who ranged between uneducated and straight up mentally ill and thus took much greater casualties (I want to say twice the rate but it's been a while) and folks like a certain Lieutenant William Calley Jr. of My Lai fame (and incidentally is the answer to my childhood question of why the local homeless all had Vietnam Vet caps). This is the extreme worst case of what happens when the war puts people are under pressure to get more soldiers. The US military during the end of and after Vietnam until roughly 1980 was a disgraceful trainwreck. For example they damned near lost the Kitty Hawk to a fire caused by some seriously problematic training and maintenance issues (the same ship had earlier seen a race riot because 1970s America was a mess). The postwar reaction to the problems and deep unpopularity of conscription led to some fun times as the politicians started trying to deal with the problem of fighting a war the population didn't want to fight, and the military tried to deal with the problem of potentially getting sent to fight without the nation behind it. The latter led to things like Total force trying to ensure that the reserves would be called up in case of war by putting all kinds of key support elements into the reserves. The former and the needs for the higher tech, more capable force of the 1980s led to the modern peacetime American volunteer army.

 

There's a different cast to the real peacetime military once the problems really got dealt with to some degree and the military started repairing itself from the damage suffered during Vietnam. People like General Creech did a great job of making the military competent, proud and appealing again, and the recruiting focus shifted from poor people in inner cities who desperately needed money to educated people with the technical skills to be part of the very impressive 80s military set up against the USSR that eventually made Desert Storm look easy. The peacetime military built to be able to take on a technological foe is the "Be All You Can Be" military of opportunity for people trying to make something of themselves and find real opportunity. The difference between a military truly focused on being able to fight a near-peer competitor with bleeding edge technology and one that's desperately trying to come up with enough infantry to secure everything is massive. I would frankly be surprised if a military trying to make ends meet and come up with bodies to go be infantry didn't go looking for people who desperately needed money and start loosening standards. The overriding motivations for people in the peacetime military are likely not close to the people who joined in late 2001 are likely not close to those joining in the middle of an interminable war, and the people being targeted for recruitment are likely not the same.

 

For the most part American soldiers are trying to make something of themselves, but most isn't all, and wearing the uniform doesn't render you immune to criticism. When discussing lovely sorts like Chris Kyle, it's important to remember that most doesn't mean all.

 

And as far as liberals not enlisting in the military (warning: personal subjective opinion), I think there's a pretty significant disconnect on the axiom that being a soldier is de facto defending the country and fighting in any war anywhere is protecting America, its freedoms and its values. I don't fancy the idea of being on the hook the next time we decide to spend huge amounts of other peoples' blood and everybody's money on destroying things and acting surprised when building turns out to be harder than destroying.

 

Food for thought: If we thank soldiers for risking their lives for us, why don't we thank firefighters as such a major cultural thing as thanking soldiers is?

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This is pretty fair. I'd bring up that whole "totally stands for scout snipers guys" flag scandal regarding seriously sketchy behavior regarding Nazism, but there's a real difference between recruiting for a peacetime military and recruiting for a wartime military.

 

Have you ever considered that the folks with the SS flag did it deliberately to be titillating, rather than that they were serious, actual Nazis?

I've met a few folks in that line of work, and I can say that sort of behavior is totally in-character for them. It's like making the devil your mascot. Not "the devil is seriously awesome and we are definitely Satan-worshippers", but "oogey boogey boo!"

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First of all, folks really need to stop thinking I care about "liberal" or "conservative" labels when I don't come from a country which has decided a real life parody of Team Fortress' Red Team vs Blue Team is the way to do politics. I merely comment on "liberal media" and such because that's part and parcel of the standard knee jerk reaction to any criticism of "the troops".

 

Secondly, folks really need to read the whole thing instead of just going "you get the dregs for the most part":

 

 


The giant elephant in the room here really is the reality that America is becoming more and more militarist and nobody seems to care or notice. This is why you have a movie on Chris Kyle end up earning $100M despite the fact the man's autobiography has more in common with SS fanfiction and he actually bragged about supposedly murdering several dozen American citizens during Hurrican Katrina to help restore order.

 

When you go "volunteer" military, you actually get the dregs for the most part - the rebel wannabes and the gun nuts - simply because most people are smart enough not to take a military job in the first place. Being in the military doesn't turn these dregs into outstanding citizens automatically no matter how much the military pretends otherwise; and then holding these people up automatically as heroes whose "heroism" is unquestioned due to a culture of impunity (with such arguments as "you weren't there!" or "you didn't risk your life!" even though Alaska fishermen probably had higher casualty rates than most services in the Iraq War) is how we ended up with the Republic falling to Caesar in the first place.

 

So yeah, that's not only appropriate, that's what the future of the US leadership is going to look like - suicidal teens further damaged by war, whose silly and stupid ideas aren't shot down because of vet-worship.

 

Because really, this is the sort of thing I can show to my friends in the military and they'd just go "Yeah, good thing Zine is calling out the psychos and the blowhards".

 

What's being addressed by the above rant isn't that the US military is some murder machine churning out drug-addled veterans. The rant instead is a commentary on how the American public has allowed a culture of impunity to surround veterans. Every "veteran" from the wonderful all-volunteer army is a Chris Kyle who saw the 9/11 attacks and wanted to sign up and serve their country. That is an extreme exception to the rule (Pat Tillman being one example), possibly even less common the the gun nuts and rebel wannabes. We only don't have exact stats because the articles we posted show that the US Army is deliberately trying not to track these stats, but given that the Army instituted rules to try and keep Neo Nazis out since the 90s or before 9/11 then it's pretty damn clear they've been trying to get in longer.

 

Yes, most soldiers signed up because they wanted a college education. Literally all my military friends signed up for that reason. The problem which Downward fails to realize is that it means that these soldiers are in fact not as "volunteer" as the Army makes them out to be. They signed up because they didn't have money or the resources to avoid military service in the first place. This is why the Army recruits disproportionately from African Americans (due to poverty issues) and immigrants (who want citizenship), and not necessarily because they love America. Even the trope of "immigrants fight harder for U-S-A" is hard to sell to someone who knows the Filipino contingent of the US Navy basically runs its quartermaster portion as a sideline business.

 

Worse, nobody wants to look into it, and every time someone tries to bring it up you just have bashing that "the troops are under fire from evil liberals who don't understand war" or "it's just harmless fun". I just call bullshit on this. The Army simply has a problem and it doesn't want to confront it. This is why its poster boy Pat Tillman ended up killed in a friendly fire incident where his fellow "elite" rangers gunned him down because he was sitting beside allied Afghan troops. This is why Chris Kyle's questionable record is not being brought to light. This is why Abu Gharaib happened. There is a culture of impunity, and again when you stop questioning your military you open the door to your military ruling you.

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Have you ever considered that the folks with the SS flag did it deliberately to be titillating, rather than that they were serious, actual Nazis?

I've met a few folks in that line of work, and I can say that sort of behavior is totally in-character for them. It's like making the devil your mascot. Not "the devil is seriously awesome and we are definitely Satan-worshippers", but "oogey boogey boo!"

 

Oh yeah, I'm pretty sure they did. There's also the fact that the people I knew who did stuff like that held some pretty heinous views and often hid some nasty prejudices under "ironic" stuff like that, and considering at least one wound up going to the Citadel I wouldn't be endlessly surprised if that were reflected in the military.

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Oh yeah, I'm pretty sure they did. There's also the fact that the people I knew who did stuff like that held some pretty heinous views and often hid some nasty prejudices under "ironic" stuff like that, and considering at least one wound up going to the Citadel I wouldn't be endlessly surprised if that were reflected in the military.

 

I don't really find this convincing. The guys using the "SS" flag must be closet Nazis because you once knew some folks who were probably Nazis because they held distasteful views and one of them ended up going to the Citadel? That's pretty thin.

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So's they totally aren't nazis despite posing with Nazi iconography because black humor and ironic nazism but totally not the awful views we'd say anybody else pulling that sort of stuff hold because they're our troops and I know what all of them are like?

 

I've yet to see a place where ironic racism or nazism was common and there weren't a few people who really meant it. Even in the best case it's some serious bad decisions and a wild disregard for the integrity of the uniform they're wearing.

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I REALLY liked Xthetenths comment up above by the way. I don't have the time to respond to it properly.

 

Nor do I have the time to dig up more information which deflates the myth of the US military dredging up the dregs of the socioeconomic underclass as Zin is suggesting.

 

However, since he's relying on fonts of reputable journalism like Salon, I guess it's fair to use this (admittedly dated) study by the Heritage Foundation (conservative think tank alert) which came out back in 2008.

 

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2008/08/who-serves-in-the-us-military-the-demographics-of-enlisted-troops-and-officers

 

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Also Zin, I'm not trying to pile on you here. I'm having a debate with a friend as I see it. I don't really care if you're conservative or liberal and I don't think any of us are trying out calling people names based on their politics.

 

This pretty much jives with the information I was gathering for a cover story I was going to do once upon a time back when I needed to worry about writing newspaper articles (i.e. rewriting press releases that my editor kept shoving at me  :angry: )

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I REALLY liked Xthetenths comment up above by the way. I don't have the time to respond to it properly.

 

Nor do I have the time to dig up more information which deflates the myth of the US military dredging up the dregs of the socioeconomic underclass as Zin is suggesting.

 

However, since he's relying on fonts of reputable journalism like Salon, I guess it's fair to use this (admittedly dated) study by the Heritage Foundation (conservative think tank alert) which came out back in 2008.

 

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2008/08/who-serves-in-the-us-military-the-demographics-of-enlisted-troops-and-officers

 

360142B8859DD8EDA9D80F008077F3B5.gif

 

Also Zin, I'm not trying to pile on you here. I'm having a debate with a friend as I see it. I don't really care if you're conservative or liberal and I don't think any of us are trying out calling people names based on their politics.

 

This pretty much jives with the information I was gathering for a cover story I was going to do once upon a time back when I needed to worry about writing newspaper articles (i.e. rewriting press releases that my editor kept shoving at me  :angry: )

 

http://www.businessinsider.com/us-military-demographics-2014-8?op=1

 

Only 20% of US enlisted personnel have college degrees, compared to 33% overall throughout the nation in 2012. Whites are underrepresented and again blacks are overrepresented. I don't need the anyone to make up my numbers for me. I can look at plain data and immediately see the real break points.

 

Moreover, you're quoting a tudy that looked at neighborhood income levels. Meaning that the study is saying that there is a disproportionate number of enlistees from neighborhoods with high income, not families or individuals with high income. This raises a ridiculous number of red flags given that it's pretty trivial to look at their income levels prior to enlistment if the study was meant to be partial.

 

It doesn't say anything about how the individual himself may or may not be lacking in cash or resources; and in fact seems to be just following the age old trend of pawning off unemployable kids from supposedly "good" neighborhoods into the military to avoid shame elsewhere.

 

And again, how does any of this change the very real fact that the US Army, in its own reports, acknowledges they are letting in Neo Nazis and nothing is being done about it? Oh let's just ignore them because we assume the other 90% are assuredly Pat Tillmans?

 

The whole reason we don't even know is because no one wants to examine the issue critically. Let's just assume they're good guys. Again, that's "culture of impunity" and you keep making my case without realizing it.

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Color me SHOCKED that an organization that relies heavily on recruiting 17, 18 and 19 year old kids out of high school has a lower overall percentage of college graduates than the population in general. That is seriously the silliest argument that I've heard all year.

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Also, so you're saying the Army should discriminate against blacks and have lower numbers of enlisted personnel of that make up? The same goes for officers, since blacks make up a higher number there too? Why do you assume they are from an economically disadvantaged background? Just because he's black, that automatically makes him a gang-banger from the hood?

It couldn't be that black soldiers have a sense of pride in being a soldier and are eager to prove themselves worthy of a heritage that has overcome prejudice while seeking to better themselves at the same time?

Also, people of the same economic background generally live in similar neighborhoods. That's how it works in the US. Poor people generally don't live in neighborhoods with waterfront views.

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Less than 1 in 5 are even in the 18 to 21 age bracket and the average age of serving soldiers is nearly 30. Only the USMC is an outlier with an ave age if 25.

http://www.statisticbrain.com/demographics-of-active-duty-u-s-military/

Again, I can read the stats on my own without needing Heritage to butcher it for me.

Pro tip. Most soldiers go to college after serving. It's difficult to get a four year degree while in. You really are being obtuse here.

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Also, so you're saying the Army should discriminate against blacks and have lower numbers of enlisted personnel of that make up? The same goes for officers, since blacks make up a higher number there too? Why do you assume they are from an economically disadvantaged background? Just because he's black, that automatically makes him a gang-banger from the hood?

It couldn't be that black soldiers have a sense of pride in being a soldier and are eager to prove themselves worthy of a heritage that has overcome prejudice while seeking to better themselves at the same time?

Also, people of the same economic background generally live in similar neighborhoods. That's how it works in the US. Poor people generally don't live in neighborhoods with waterfront views.

I am saying that blacks are statistically poorer than whites. Check their mean income.

I am not endorsing anything else about what you said; though why would blacks feel the need to better themselves if they arent disadvantaged?

And people of similar income levels living together? Maybe- that's an assertion not a stat, but why jump through that hoop instead of looking directly at preenlistment income?

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Pro tip. Most soldiers go to college after serving. It's difficult to get a four year degree while in. You really are being obtuse here.

And yet you're the one saying earlier that folks sign up to get GI Bill benefits to pay for college.

And pro tip: It doesnt escape my notice when you're claiming so many poor 17-19 year old recruits without realizing less than 1 in 5 soldiers are even under 21.

So really, who's the one being emotional here?

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Look. I've done more than my part in deconstructing your argument. And I'm tired of wasting time on it. I'm not here to convince you to change your mind. I'm here for the glory of winning the hearts and minds of the guys reading this.

 

And as a final word, I am not saying every soldier is a spotless hero. Hell, just drive around any military base and you see high crime, strip clubs, prostitution, drug activity, pawn shops and sleazy used car lots.

 

But I do object to lumping most - MOST - service members together as "Dregs". And I think that I've adequately demonstrated this to be the case. 

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So's they totally aren't nazis despite posing with Nazi iconography because black humor and ironic nazism but totally not the awful views we'd say anybody else pulling that sort of stuff hold because they're our troops and I know what all of them are like?

I've yet to see a place where ironic racism or nazism was common and there weren't a few people who really meant it. Even in the best case it's some serious bad decisions and a wild disregard for the integrity of the uniform they're wearing.

No; I've already explained the distinction, and it has nothing to do with irony.

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I'd murder for statistics on the demographics on people joining the military broken down by when. I would be relatively surprised not to see a pretty decently educated and well-off peacetime body getting supplemented by a wide demographic spread in and shortly after 2001, followed by a gradual loosening of standards as demand grew and supply fell. There have historically been changes in the makeup of the force, so lumping everyone together isn't necessarily going to get the most accurate picture, especially when one group in particular is under discussion.

 

However the peacetime force I'd say was really not the dregs by the 80s because there was a conscious effort to legitimize it as a path to opportunity. It seems like it would be especially appealing to the poorer kids in a given neighborhood whose resources aren't necessarily up to providing the college education the life they aspire to requires. That demographic chart by neighborhood chart would be a very interesting counterpart to a similar breakdown by personal/family wealth. Unfortunately I'm having a swine of a time and am not even sure I can find one (if it exists).

 

What I'm seeing does tend to show that middle class neighborhoods are providing the bulk of the recruits, which is unsurprising considering that that's tied to school district quality and the goal to get 90% high school recruits. There are however no notes about ideology of course.

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