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Heil, Liberator!

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Message Jayne Stahl
"Light infantry is your branch of choice because the coming race war and the ethnic cleansing to follow will be very much an infantryman's war. It will be house-to-house, neighborhood-by-neighborhood until your town or city is cleared and the alien races are driven into the countryside where they can be hunted down and 'cleansed." Thus spake Steven Barry, in the neo-Nazi National Alliance magazine "Resistance," as cited recently in an article by John Kifner.

Mr. Barry, a Neo-Nazi and a member of this nation's military, only one of what could be thousands who, according to a recent Defense Department inquiry, openly espouse racism, anti-semitism, and belong to group whose founder, William Pierce, wrote what was later to become Timothy McVeigh's bible for the massacre in Oklahoma City. Back in 1996, Mr. McVeigh himself revealed he used his service in the Army to advocate his far-right ideology while, at the same time, being housed, fed, and clothed by our tax dollars. Notably, our tax dollars then went on housing, and feeding him in prison, as well as his subsequent execution. McVeigh was not a model soldier and, regrettably, it seems that despite a "zero tolerance" policy for hate crimes, we have many, many more where he came from.

"We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, as Mr. Kifner also reports. Why so many born-again Nazis in our military? Reportedly, recruiters are hard up for warm bodies to fill combat boots in a most unpopular war. The SPLC reports a Defense Department investigator, Scott Barsfield, saying that not only is the Army recruiting white supramacists, "commanders don't remove them from the military even after we positively identify them as extremists or gang members." Lovely, doncha think? We're sending skinheads, and gang bangers, into Iraq to "liberate" Baghdad and, all the while, they consider themselves in training for a "coming race war," and "ethnic cleansing" when they come home.

So, we now have hundreds of storm troopers in training, in our military, who even have their own Web site "Stormfront" where, as Kifner reports, one participant writes: "There are others among you in the forces. You are not alone." How reassuring. How patently, and unapologetically, absurd that we deposed one dictator, Saddam Hussein, and supported war crime charges against another, Milosevic,in Bosnia, for ethnic cleansing when many of our own infantrymen, in Iraq, are now star spangled terrorists in training, planning acts at least as heinous as anything Al Qaeda or any other group of card carrying barbarians can conceive. These are our sons and daughters, mind you, just as the young "ex-soldier,"the Iraqi vet (at 21, no less), Steven Green, who was charged last week with the rape, and murder of a young woman and her family, to which he pleaded an emphatic Not Guilty.

Oh, yes, and these National Alliance members, as well as other skinheads who have infiltrated our military can exclaim, with equal fervor, that they, too, are "not guilty" in light of the ever growing social acceptance of antisemitism among their parents, and in the community at large, an acceptance which has become resoundingly clear with repetition of key phrases like "Israel lobby" coming not from mouths of Army reservists, or Marines, but Harvard professors.

Mind you, lobbies, on the whole, tend to be a perverse bunch witness the tobacco lobby, the gun lobby, Jack Abramoff, the king of lobbies, but where the Israel Lobby is concerned, one is left only with a handful of challenging questions, such as, if this lobby is so effective, and American Jews are so powerful, why have we yet to see a Jewish president? Why is it that the heads of most Fortune 500 companies, in this country, aren't Jewish? How come there are still private, members-only clubs that won't admit Jews? Yes, there are those who say "the Jews own Hollywood," but can it be that this is one of the only industries from which Jews have not been excluded? Hollywood, and the garment industry! Make no mistake, those who hide behind rhetorical phrases, and decked-out theories are really, at their core, not that godawfully different from a few 20 year old boys in foxholes who, in desperate moments, cry out "Sig Heil!"

While the intent of those who theorize that defense of Israel, as an ally, and the interests of rich American Jews may not be garden variety antisemitism, it is a creeping, and insidious, kind of hatred that was notably, and memorably, present in the days of the Weimar Republic, in Germany, back in the late 1920's. After all, it was members of the Academy, in Germany, who turned against the Jews; it was the ideologues, not the soldiers, who caused the wholesale slaughter of 6 million in the Holocaust.

And, alarmingly, what we're now witnessing among hundreds of recruits to the Army who articulate hate, and are still allowed to remain in uniform, is an acceptance of the simple, heinous fact that war is, after all, the ultimate hate crime, and that theirs is the same kind of conceptual contagion that was instrumental in the most brutal, and barbarous crimes ever committed by this race. If there is any good news to come of this whole mess, in Iraq, it is that more and more youngsters, in this country, are learning to "just say no" to battle which is now, as it has always been, not about honor, but about doing the rich man's dirty work.
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Widely published, poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter; member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA. Jayne Lyn Stahl is a Huffington Post blogger.
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