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The American Legion Sticks Up for Right-Wing Extremism

Most of the criticism of the Department of Homeland Security’s guide to right-wing extremism has been along the lines of Pamela Gellar’s panic about “the fascist blueprint to create a police state and legalize gulags.” But the American Legion is jumping in to give a patina of respectability to the panic. From its letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano:

The report states, without any statistical evidence, “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.”

The American Legion is well aware and horrified at the pain inflicted during the Oklahoma City bombing, but Timothy McVeigh was only one of more than 42 million veterans who have worn this nation’s uniform during wartime. To continue to use McVeigh as an example of the stereotypical “disgruntled military veteran” is as unfair as using Osama bin Laden as the sole example of Islam.

I’m with Jonathan Chait on this one — what’s wrong with pointing out that “disgruntled” people might behave in a, well, disgruntled fashion? DHS isn’t making a blanket statement about veterans, much less comparing them to Timothy McVeigh, and it’s very odd for Commander David K. Rehbein to align all veterans with the crazy people DHS is talking about. Seriously, there are veterans and active duty officers who have joined junk lawsuits that allege President Obama is an illegal alien. If I point this out, am I insulting veterans?

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