There has been a lot of outrage over the Department of Homeland Security's leaked summary report on "Rightwing Extremism," but by far its most odious aspects are its implications that military veterans are fertile targets for radical, violent groups and that right-wingers are inclined toward racism.
Information from this April 7 report was provided to law enforcement officials to help them prevent terrorist attacks against the United States.
The "Key Findings" are way light on objective facts but heavy on subjective opinion -- opinion clearly colored by the worldviews and biases of those issuing the report. Right off the bat, DHS admits it "has no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence, but rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues. The economic downturn and election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment."
There's more. "The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks."
At the risk of incurring the scrutiny of the DHS, I must say that these gratuitous sentences are outrageous. In the first place, I don't know anyone playing on "fears about several emergent issues" more than the current administration, of which the DHS is a part. Even when President Barack Obama is delivering a speech on the economy purportedly geared toward reassuring Americans that things will be all right, he has to stoke their fears and anxieties about other financial shoes he expects to drop in the near future. He and his aides are the ones who have signaled they have something to gain from keeping the public in crisis mode, that "something" being the opportunity to make foundational changes to our economy and the relationship between government and the private sector.
I know I'm naive, but the only violent right-wing extremist groups I've ever seen are those played in Hollywood by uninformed, whacked-out leftist actors. I've always wondered where all these Hitler throwbacks live. I've also never seen any of their recruiting signs posted at the local supermarket trolling for right-wing nut jobs prone to "Clockwork Orange" ultra-violence.
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