Kathleen Belew’s “Veterans and White Supremacy” from the New York Times

Kathleen Belew is a Doctoral Candidate at Yale, and she recently wrote a scathing Op-Ed in the New York Times. Entitled “Veterans and White Supremacy,” the article seems to indict the military as a training ground for white supremacist groups. She cites the recent case of Frazier Glen Miller, who shot and killed three people in Overland Park, Kansas on Sunday. She goes on to state that violence among veterans is rare, but the title of her post seems to point the opposite direction.

In fact, Miller was discharged from the Army in 1979 for distributing racist literature. Ms. Belew seems to indict the military for training white supremacists—when the real issue is in fact the opposite: white supremacist groups actively send members into the military in order to gather information and tactics that they can use for their own purposes. In fact, Kathleen reached the same conclusion through her research, that “Mr. Miller received large sums of money from The Order, a white power group in the Pacific Northwest, to buy land and weapons to put his followers through paramilitary training. Mr. Miller’s group paid $50,000 for weapons and matériel stolen from the armory at Fort Bragg, N.C., including anti-tank rockets, mines and plastic explosives. He targeted active-duty troops for recruitment and hired them to conduct training exercises.”

Miller was entirely at fault, and yet your title seems to say that all veterans are a stone’s throw away from the being the next Timothy McVeigh or Frazier Glen Miller. A bold move, but because web traffic is web traffic, and the more insensitive and inflammatory your titles are, the more hits you’re going to get.

Of course veterans are incensed, and we should be. We are largely looked down upon as a broken portion of the population. Just yesterday I attended a Veterans Resource Fair at the University of Colorado at Denver, and the Colorado Workforce representative I spoke to about translating military service into a civilian job had this to say: “And if you have PTSD, we wouldn’t, like, put you in a noisy job.” As if every veteran has post-traumatic stress. The last time I checked, roughly 20% of veterans suffer from some kind of combat stress reaction. Is that enough to approach every veteran like they are somehow wounded, like a ticking time bomb, just waiting for a white supremacy group to recruit them so they can shoot and kill again? Like we need some sort of special treatment because we’re somehow more sensitive to loud noises?

It’s this kind of attitude that diminishes the service of our veterans community. By and large, veterans build more small businesses than their civilian counterparts, and have a much higher success rate than other startups. Additionally, veterans are incarcerated at less than half the rate of civilians, according the the Bureau of Justice Statistics. But just as the sheep fear the sheepdog when the wolf is not around, so do many people who don’t understand the nature of military service.

Why, Kathleen, are you painting veterans as so dangerous? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to title your Op-Ed Civilians and White Supremacy? More civilians are white supremacists than veterans. But that’s not inflammatory enough to send traffic to your piece. Veterans in general tend to take on more leadership roles, whether that’s within the context of a business, school, or even a white supremacist group. The real issue here is that we as a culture have a long way to go with racism, bigotry, and ignorance in this country. Blaming veterans is NOT helping.

It’s an uncomfortable truth in this world that violence solves problems. That makes no one as uncomfortable as those who have elected by virtue of their humanity and by solemn oath to conduct violence on your behalf. Most veterans I served in combat with have returned home to a richer view of life, of humanity, and of what service means. They have started businesses, non-profit organizations, helped flood victims, become police officers, they are the people that keep this country running, and they are what put a smile on my face every morning. Knowing that even in times of strife, there is a class of people willing to get things done.

I visited Kathleen’s bio on Northwestern University’s website. Her book, under contract with the university press, is titled Bring the War Home: Vigilantism, Race, and Violence from Vietnam to Oklahoma City. I hope it doesn’t get nearly the amount of attention of your Op-Ed.

6 Comments

  1. The fact that authorities had knowldege of Frazier Miller’s unlawful activities for years, yet made no move against him, indicates they wanted him to get violent so they could roll out the “white man is evil” mantra again. It does seem that the liberal response is well orchestrated and planned.

  2. Interesting article. though I do not downplay the plight of veterans of this country with PTSD I believe that what people ignore as well is the prevalence of PTSD in our nation’s civilian emergency workers- many- like one of my Ambulance Partners and I, quit because of it. I do not blame the military for white supremacist attitudes or Black supremacist attitudes- that is all in the way they were raised. I do not think that people with PTSD are inherently unstable, nor are they unhirable. veterans are one of this countries’ greatest assets. One thing to keep in mind, just because something is said in the media or in an academic environment, does not make it true. the truth is in the proof of real lives and people. Often I thank veteran’s and active duty soldiers/marines/airmen/wounded warriors for their service in protecting my family. There are still a great many people who I know who would agree with me. Thank you.

  3. It is a good thing she was not talking about Muslims because they would be calling for her head i.e. her head to be chopped off
    But of course it is perfectly normal to talk about united states veterans and Christianity without worrying about being beheaded

    • So right John Slater. People don’t realize the truth of whats outside of our borders. The woman who wrote this piece is obsessed with her own research; believing it’s the answer to some serious social problems.

  4. we the vet’s have all taken a oath to protect the USA from all enemies weather they are over seas or right here in the US. we have broken no laws yet time after time we get get set on as unfit and undesirables in this grate country. we have a great love for this country but it is rarely returned to us. what have we as vets done so wrong that people think all we know how to do is kill. all we have ever done is what our country has asked us to do. truly yours SGT Phelps USMC

  5. It is so disgusting to me as a retired Navy veteran of the Vietnam era,that someone like this woman can say things like this and get away with it.Each day we see the things that have made America the great free country that it is,being torn away.Christianity,regardless of the left’s move to change the real history of this country,was much of the founder’s basis for the construction of our laws,and our rights,which come from our Creator not the oppressive government we are now seeing taking our rights away.Millions have given their lives for that freedom and now that honorable group,the American military,are being classed as threats to this country as the white house,DOJ,and the leftist media promotes the one group that has proven its hatred for this country,Islam.I feel broken hearted as a veteran that all I can do is write comments which will be read by the others on this site,but basically I have no rights anymore and it is sad.America is finished,as people like Cummings,Lerner,Rangel and others in government get away with their crimes,and a man that simplylt his cattle graze on land that was empty,is called a terrorist right along with us vets.The one person who has his hand on the nuclear trigger,but is determined to bring our military down as he has purged top ranking officers that oppose him,has his personal records sealed,and if he had gone through the security background checks that I and many others had to go through,he could not even get a clearance,but his history that is known reveals that communism has influenced him along with Islam.Those facts clearly reveal where he intends to take this country and its demise.God have mercy on us.

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