White supremacists in the military are (not) just the beginning

Griffin Perrault, Senior Writer

A series of leaked chat logs– whose contents linked seven members of the American Armed Forces to the white supremacist group, Identity Evropa – appeared in the Huffington Post on March 17. The logs, derived from the group’s channel on the voice-over IP and instant messaging app Discord, revealed strongly-held anti-semitic and racist views and intense dedication to the group, with several members offering to post flyers and engage in poster propaganda campaigns. The revelation is only the latest in a series of findings connecting top members of the American military to white supremacist and hate groups, including in February, when army lieutenant Christopher Hasson’s massive stockpile of weaponry revealed a plot to establish a “white homeland” through domestic terrorism.

 

Quite unambiguously, it is safe to say that the United States and greater global community has an issue with white supremacy. Yet U.S. President Donald Trump flatly refuses to acknowledge this; when asked if he perceived white nationalism as a growing threat, the president boldly responded, “I don’t really,” further intoning, “I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess.” It is difficult to be surprised, considering the President’s craven, diffident response to the 2017 Charlottesville attacks and his incomprehensible disregard for the internal strife facilitated by his supporters and adherents. Trump either clearly does not have his hand on the pulse of the international climate or is actively aiding and abetting the advancement of doctrinaire segregation. But this hardly covers the totality of Trump and his contemporaries’ responsibility for the proliferation of white supremacist rhetoric, jingoist national policy, and advocacy of exceptionalism, which promotes an environment whereby members of far-right extremist groups are received into the American military.

 

Now to the group itself. It is worth noting that, less than a week after the publication of members’ chat logs, current Identity Evropa leader Patrick Casey announced that the original IE name “has been retired,” to be rebranded as the American Identity Movement (the continuity of the central “identity” theme here being, of course, a deliberately abstruse means to dodge accusations of neo-Nazism lodged at the organization from particularly perceptive critics). This is one of several instances of the group subtly attempting to inject white nationalist talking points into the mainstream. Utilizing crypto-fascist expressions like “ethno-pluralist” and “nativist” to dilute their essentially apartheid ideology, the ultimate goal of the group lies in providing a more palatable Nazism to the mainstream conservative populace – particularly Trump supporters. Yet it more soundly serves the pursuits of the group to have high-ranking members of the Armed Forces share their views, rather than merely Trump voters, due to the former’s influence over the might of the American state in domestic and international conflict.

 

The culmination of this expanding influence, naturally, is the jurisdiction of the monopolized force of the state by parochial xenophobes whose racist convictions can be executed via genuine military muscle. And once that immense power has been utilized on a domestic, “ethno-national” scale, it will begin to work its way into the levers of international conflict, manifesting in wars in the Middle East and any other corner of the globe where “inferior” cultures or peoples persist. For this to happen would cause an almost irreversible commitment of the American military to societal chauvinism and Western cultural primacy. Or, has it already happened?

 

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