A New York Times reporter wrote an op-ed that links veterans returning home from war to an increase in domestic terror groups. Veteran’s groups have been outraged by the link, but now a group of reporters is joining forces with the NY Times reporter stating that the threat is real and that veterans do pose a threat in joining domestic terror groups. The notion that those who return from war are inclined to join terror groups is absolutely absurd and unfounded and a completely disrespectful attack to those who have served their country. Hopefully another group of reporters surfaces that stands up for veterans.
An op-ed column published in The New York Times that linked American troops coming home from war and the growth in white supremacist groups drew sharp criticism from veterans groups.
Although writer Kathleen Belew stated in the piece that the “vast majority of veterans are neither violent nor mentally ill” and that those who turn violent are more likely to harm themselves than anyone else, veterans groups read the op-ed as an attack on military veterans.
American Legion National Commander Daniel Dellinger described the op-ed as a “poorly researched and agenda-driven piece,” and that “the New York Times should be above the slanderous stereotyping of the men and women that have defended us against the racist ideology that Ms. Belew and the NY Times no doubt oppose.”
Belew has not responded to Military.com’s request for an interview, but the authors of reports and books examining the growth of extremists and gangs emerging from the military say law enforcement is justified in its concerns.
“I respect and honor our nation’s men and women in the Armed Forces,” said Daryl Johnson, a former Army and Department of Homeland Security counterterrorism analyst who now operates DT Analytics. “That said, I think it is very important to discuss, research/investigate, and strategize better ways to detect, deter and mitigate participation or affiliation with U.S. extremist groups/movements by military members because they have unique, specialized knowledge and expertise in weapons systems, paramilitary tactics [and] access to sensitive/classified information, among other skill sets.”
Johnson was the author of the 2009 DHS report, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” which came under fire when it was leaked to the media.
Belew’s April 15 column was prompted by the recent murder of three people at Jewish community centers in Kansas by a 20-year Army veteran, a former Green Beret.
Johnson’s report was cited by Belew in her op-ed where she argued that a rise in extremist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan is tied to the return of tens of thousands of veterans from a long war to a troubled economy and significant social, political and cultural changes. Johnson warned in his 2009 report that extremist groups would look to recruit from disillusioned or disgruntled vets for the combat training and experience they would bring.
“I do not believe the information used in the analysis of the 2009 DHS report was skewed or flawed,” said Johnson, who in 2012 published “Right-Wing Resurgence: How a Domestic Terrorist Threat is Being Ignored.”