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U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Menendez wants Defense Department to investigate racism in the military

By Nikita Biryukov, January 14 2021 4:30 pm

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and 14 other Senate Democrats called on the Defense Department to investigate white supremacy and extremism among military ranks Thursday.

“The issue of white supremacy and extremist ideology within the ranks of our military is not new, but the attack on the Capitol makes clear this alarming trend must be immediately addressed,” they wrote to acting Defense Inspector General Sean O’Donnell. “The spread of white supremacist ideology is dangerous for the military and threatens to rupture civil-military safeguards that our democracy requires.”

A Military Times poll released in September found 31% of troops personally saw white nationalism or racism in military ranks. That number was nearly double, jumping to 57%, among non-white service members.

“Although some recruits with extremist views attempt to join the military, it is also common for this destructive ideology to take hold during military service,” the senators said. “The spread of white supremacist ideology is dangerous for the military and threatens to rupture civil-military safeguards that our democracy requires”

Some veterans were among the group of Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol last week, including one who was arrested after storming Congress with a spear in hand.

“The Department must make every effort to identify servicemembers involved with violent extremist groups to curtail future misconduct and to ensure the maintenance of good order and discipline within the ranks,” the lawmakers said.

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