The Senate had removed the text “white nationalists” when it came to discussing military issues. Part of the National Defense Authorization Act is aimed to keep out white nationalist groups from enlisting in the United States Military. The bill passed the House of Representatives, and when it got to the Senate, the words were not even allowed to be spoken. The Act is meant to address the growing threat of white nationalist groups who have been in the news recently for hate crimes both within the military and in civilian life.
The bill was sugar-coated by the time it reached the president’s desk for his signature. Originally, “white nationalist” groups were spelled out. Due to the Department of Defense policies, it was rewritten to say, “extremist and gang-related activity.” When soldiers enlist in the military, they have to go through a screening process where their beliefs on white nationalists will be reviewed before they are accepted.
The changing of the words was alarming to Democrats and Republicans alike, primarily the Democrat Representative Pete Aguilar from California, who introduced the amendment after hate crimes were becoming more widespread. Some of those recently was a Coast Guard Lieutenant who stockpiled weapons for a planned terror attack. Eleven other service members were linked to Identity Evropa, which is a white nationalist group that organized the deadly 2017 “Unite The Rally” in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Lawmakers in the House on both sides feel that failing to mention “white nationalists” in the signed bill will draw confusion and allow them to join the military. They also feel the U.S. military will not screen enlistees properly when it comes to their stance on white nationalist beliefs.
It is not hard to understand the reasoning why Senate Republicans replaced the words in the bill. It enhances the meaning and covers all hate and terrorist groups. Aguilar felt differently and stated, “White nationalists have successfully enlisted in our military in order to gain access to combat training and weaponry.
We cannot turn a blind eye to this growing problem which puts our national security and the safety of the brave men and women serving our country in jeopardy. It’s disappointing that Senate Republicans disagree.” Senators on the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, including Chairman Jim Inhofe, who is a Republican from Oklahoma, would not respond to reporters.
The bill will go in effect either way, but Democrats should not make a fuss over this measure, which was reworded. It not only covers white supremacist groups but everyone with hate in their hearts. The U.S. military used to accept all stances, and the Department of Defense allowed even the Ku Klux Klan members to join the military in the 1970s.
This was not always a problem until the 1990s where hate groups learned combat training and inflicted their hatred toward civilians. It also gave them access to stockpile the weapons used in the attacks. In 2017, a military poll showed there was 25 percent, which was white nationalists in different ranks.
Recently, within the Army football team, ESPN released an article where two cadets gave a hand signal, which is known as a white power symbol while on live television. To us, it is known as the “OK” hand signal. Before too long, Democrats may try to outlaw citizens from using this hand gesture also, even though we mean it as “OK.” Those involved with sporting these gestures were part of the neo-Nazi gang called the Aryan Brotherhood. It was also confirmed these incidents were tied together with the recent posting of a Nazi war criminal from World War II’s Battle of the Bulge.
Last month, three members of the online neo-Nazi forum Iron March slipped in through the cracks and were able to join the U.S. military. Documentaries such as “Frontline” and reports from ProPublica, which were aired and covered in 2018, showed how these white supremacists terror groups get into the military. Hopefully, this bill which President Trump will sign will be active and require the Secretary of Defense to “study the feasibility of screening for “individuals with ties to white nationalist organizations during initial background investigations of enlistees.”
Another part of the amendment requires the Department of Defense to work with two other FBI resources, The National Gang Intelligence Center and the Tattoo and Graffiti Identification Program, as they may be a valuable asset to the United States Military in solving this problem. Democrats did something right except for the blame game.