Thursday, April 16, 2009

An absurdity on veterans and the "right wing"

Fox News interviews Janet Napolitano about the Mexican violence and the controversial memo issued to law enforcement recently, titled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment".

On the matter of the memo itself, it's suspect whether "rightwing extremism" was chosen as a label to actually help law enforcement or just to subtly bash the administration's political opponents(As an example on page 4, xenophobia and antidemocratic ideals are described as rightwing, which is utter nonsense. Are the unions who vehemently oppose illegal immigration now 'rightwing'? And does the right advocate legislation by the judiciary or the administrative agencies, probably the biggest internal threat to democracy?).

A footnote(p.2) elaborating on rightwing extremism, which has been rightly criticized:
Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and
adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups),
and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or
rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a
single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.
This definition is basically useless. The groups mentioned have nothing whatsoever in common, other than that so-called "liberals" oppose them. Sometimes. Depending on the specific race and religion of the extremist.

In the video, the most absurd statement of all from Ms. Napolitano came at the 4:46 mark, where she said that "Timothy McVeigh was a veteran, that's where he got his training." There is absolutely not one shred of evidence that any military training he had was the least bit relevant to the Oklahoma City bombing.

The only reason this idiotic statement can be made(and to be fair, Ms. Napolitano's not the only one who I've heard say it), is because there's a stereotype of veterans as being brainwashed, programmed to kill, desensitized, &c.; but it only takes one look at the hard facts to realize how untrue it is.

McVeigh, as a Bradley gunner, was probably taught good gunnery and marksmanship, use of various handheld weapons such as grenades or anti-tank rockets, basic military/outdoor skills, and Army tradition. Perhaps he even operated the Bradley. I challenge anyone to explain what aspect of this training, in the late 80s or now, or ever, has anything to do with creating a 5000 lb. ANFO with a Ryder truck, and placing it next to a building in order to demolish it.
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