Irregular Army: How the US Military Recruited Neo-Nazis, Gang Members, and Criminals to Fight the War on Terror

Irregular Army: How the US Military Recruited Neo-Nazis, Gang Members, and Criminals to Fight the War on Terror

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by Matt Kennard
     
 

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Since the launch of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars—now the longest wars in American history—the US military has struggled to recruit troops. It has responded, as Matt Kennard’s explosive investigative report makes clear, by opening its doors to neo-Nazis, white supremacists, gang members, criminals of all stripes, the overweight, and the mentally ill.… See more details below

Overview

Since the launch of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars—now the longest wars in American history—the US military has struggled to recruit troops. It has responded, as Matt Kennard’s explosive investigative report makes clear, by opening its doors to neo-Nazis, white supremacists, gang members, criminals of all stripes, the overweight, and the mentally ill. Based on several years of reporting, Irregular Army includes extensive interviews with extremist veterans and leaders of far-right hate groups—who spoke openly of their eagerness to have their followers acquire military training for a coming domestic race war. As a report commissioned by the Department of Defense itself put it, “Effectively, the military has a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy pertaining to extremism.”

Irregular Army connects some of the War on Terror’s worst crimes to this opening-up of the US military. With millions of veterans now back in the US and domestic extremism on the rise, Kennard’s book is a stark warning about potential dangers facing Americans—from their own soldiers.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Financial Times writer Kennard highlights changes in U.S. military demographics in recent years in this chilling study. As a result of a dwindling recruitment pool, the armed forces offered "moral waivers" to former criminals; obese enlistees were given medical waivers; those with alcohol or drug addictions were able to stay in the military without layoffs or treatment; age limits were increased; and IQ standards were lowered while recruiters' contact with secondary schools was increased. The military ranks now include gang members who have access not only to weapons, but to military training that has been put to use upon their return to the U.S. "The military had become the perfect place to be a criminal simply because in it normal legal constraints didn't apply." Tracing the politics before and after the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Kennard spreads blame around evenly, from Reagan and Rumsfeld to Obama, and he closes by challenging the government to rethink its use of force around the globe, a cycle of violence he deems "self-perpetuating" on account of the "competitive advantage" of the United States military. Kennard's nonpartisan portrait of martial waywardness is foreboding, and will be illuminating for anyone interested in the modern army or contemporary public and foreign policy.
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Financial Times
Matt Kennard is a fluent, powerful and authoritative writer whose debut book will surely establish him as one of Britain’s best-known investigative journalists.— David Crouch
Time Out
“Irregular Army is an excellent piece of journalism … As a result of [Kennard’s] research and fresh angle, it stands out amid the vast sea of literature already published on the failings of the War on Terror.”
The Daily Beast
“Irregular Army makes a ... strong case that nothing good lies in the future so long as the American government continues to dissolve its standards of human decency to keep the pipeline filled with new soldiers.”
Daryl Johnson
“A startling new investigation that reveals the depths of the extremist and criminal elements that have infiltrated the US military over the past two decades. Irregular Army is a powerful investigation that exposes both the roots of defective military recruitment and its deadly aftershocks. Kennard’s book issues an urgent warning to the American public.”
Financial Times - David Crouch
“Matt Kennard is a fluent, powerful and authoritative writer whose debut book will surely establish him as one of Britain’s best-known investigative journalists.”
Hunter Glass
“An exceptional author. Matt Kennard never tries to paint a pig pretty. Thanks, Matt, for keeping it ugly.”
Esther Kaplan
“Matt Kennard is a creative and dogged investigative reporter whose probe of hidden realities inside the US military promises to be a revelation.”
From the Publisher
“Matt Kennard’s careful and judicious investigations reveal an aspect of the modern US military system that should be of deep concern to American citizens – and to everyone, given the unique scope and character of the deployment of US military force worldwide.”
—Noam Chomsky

“Irregular Army is required reading for anyone probing the true horror of modern American war. Kennard exposes an organized system of destruction that serves well the generals, the politicians, and above all the profiteering military contractors, but which exploits the poor and vulnerable, and trains and arms the most hateful and vicious in our society.”
—Amy Goodman, host and executive producer, Democracy Now!

“A startling new investigation that reveals the depths of the extremist and criminal elements that have infiltrated the US military over the past two decades. Irregular Army is a powerful investigation that exposes both the roots of defective military recruitment and its deadly aftershocks. Kennard’s book issues an urgent warning to the American public.”
—Daryl Johnson, Department of Homeland Security, 2004–2010

Irregular Army makes a ... strong case that nothing good lies in the future so long as the American government continues to dissolve its standards of human decency to keep the pipeline filled with new soldiers.”
Daily Beast

Irregular Army reveals the extent to which racist extremists have been welcomed into the nation’s armed forces despite the fact that they openly view enlistment as a means of training for a race war at home.”
—Belén Fernández, Al Jazeera

“Armies corrupt and disintegrate when they fight colonial wars. Matt Kennard's outstanding, meticulous book exposes the secret recruiting of criminals in an army whose wars are criminal. This is journalism as it should be.”
—John Pilger

“Demonstrates a serious weakness in America’s ability to recruit a long- or even medium-term occupying force.”
American Conservative

“Kennard’s book provides the first comprehensive account of the lengths the military went to maintain its numbers.”
Alternet

Irregular Army is an excellent piece of journalism ... As a result of [Kennard’s] research and fresh angle, it stands out amid the vast sea of literature already published on the failings of the War on Terror.”
Time Out

“Matt Kennard is a fluent, powerful and authoritative writer whose debut book will surely establish him as one of Britain’s best-known investigative journalists.”
—David Crouch, Financial Times

“Matt Kennard’s new book expertly exposes the effect of the American colonial capitalist war machine on poor American soldiers as well as the stricken peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan living under them. I hope it is read by many people.”
—Nawal El-Saadawi

“An exceptional author. Matt Kennard never tries to paint a pig pretty. Thanks, Matt, for keeping it ugly.”
—Hunter Glass, former gang investigator for the US military

“Matt Kennard is a creative and dogged investigative reporter whose probe of hidden realities inside the US military promises to be a revelation.”
—Esther Kaplan, editor of the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute

Irregular Army is a grim but compelling reading, a book which exposes the apparently irredeemable position the US military has created. The reader is indeed left with a deeper sense of the horrors of the last decade of futile wars, and an understanding of how far-reaching their implications have already proven themselves to be.”
Counterfire

“Chilling... Illuminating... Kennard’s nonpartisan portrait of martial waywardness is foreboding.”
Publishers Weekly

Noam Chomsky
“I have been following Matt Kennard’s work for years, with much appreciation. He is a fine journalist and political analyst, acute and perceptive, and his work is based on real insight and understanding over a broad range.”
David Crouch - Financial Times
“Matt Kennard is a fluent, powerful and authoritative writer whose debut book will surely establish him as one of Britain’s best-known investigative journalists.”
Nawal El-Saadawi
“Matt Kennard’s new book expertly exposes the effect of the American colonial capitalist war machine on poor American soldiers as well as the stricken peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan living under them. I hope it is read by many people.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781844679058
Publisher:
Verso Books
Publication date:
09/17/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
764,420
File size:
3 MB

What People are saying about this

Nawal El-Saadawi
Matt Kennard’s new book expertly exposes the effect of the American colonial capitalist war machine on poor American soldiers as well as the stricken peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan living under them. I hope it is read by many people.
Noam Chomsky
I have been following Matt Kennard’s work for years, with much appreciation. He is a fine journalist and political analyst, acute and perceptive, and his work is based on real insight and understanding over a broad range.

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