As BushCo claims its turf in Iraq, a serious threat preoccupies those whose job it is to defend civilization:
The Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings and Vice Lords were born decades ago in Chicago's most violent neighborhoods. Now, their gang graffiti is showing up 6,400 miles away in one of the world's most dangerous neighborhoods -- Iraq. Armored vehicles, concrete barricades and bathroom walls all have served as canvasses for their spray-painted gang art....And why not? This is very neat economic logic: Send black and Latino criminals to wage war in Iraq, and you dispense with several figures of racial menace at once. Gang members are desperate, angry, violent, and uneducated enough to be ideal recruits for today's volunteer army; to borrow a stock phrase from an intimately related current issue, they do the work that most Americans don't want to do.
Of paramount concern is whether gang-affiliated soldiers' training will make them deadly urban warriors when they return to civilian life and if some are using their access to military equipment to supply gangs at home, said Barfield and other experts....
Barfield said Army recruiters eager to meet their goals have been overlooking applicants' gang tattoos and getting waivers for criminal backgrounds.
But as the war turns sour, we're increasingly prone to worry (an all-consuming habit that is to our culture what prayer was to that of the Puritans). What if these soldiers blame America for what they saw and suffered in Iraq? What if they turn the killing techniques they've learned against us? What if they convert to Islam while they're over there, and form sleeper cells? What if they channel weapons to our enemies?
A black or Latino gang member who gets gunned down in Iraq can safely be designated a hero, and forgotten. The same soldier, if he comes back to America, will be an eternal suspect:
"They're not here for the red, white and blue. They're here for the black and gold," he said, referring to the gang colors of the Latin Kings.Meanwhile, Shelby Steele frets that "white guilt" has tied our hands when it comes to fighting our enemies. As he sees it, when we gave up "white supremacy as a source of moral authority" (we never really did, of course, but let's pretend), we compromised our ability to mow down "mud people" (like Shelby himself) with the calm detachment proper to the Übermensch.
The fact that feelings of guilt often provide the perfect psychological impetus for "preemptive" violence against the wronged party doesn't seem to have occurred to Steele, even though it explains seemingly disparate GOP policies quite nicely.
There are other gangs in the U.S. military, by the way.
Barfield...has linked white soldiers to racist groups such as the Aryan Nations.But for some reason, they aren't quite as worrisome as the black and Latino gangs. As always, white criminality and fanaticism is individualized, and seen as an exception. What blacks do, however, reflects badly on all of them; either they're loose cannons themselves, or they're in secret sympathy with the criminals. You just can't trust them...not even when they're fighting to "protect" you.
That said, the way in which gang leaders cynically exploit the human need for a tribalist sense of belonging, in order to seize and claim "turf" that will advance their own economic interests, is certainly reprehensible. God only knows where they got the idea.