Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Street fighting thugs
For years now my friend David Neiwert has been following some of the uglier trends on the far right. Since he began blogging three years ago, he has been documenting a trend toward eliminationist rhetoric on the right. Here's one more for his collection. This one, however is more serious than a fat, drug-addict radio host mouthing off.
The American Legion, which has 2.7 million members, has declared war on antiwar protestors, and the media could be next. Speaking at its national convention in Honolulu, the group's national commander called for an end to all “public protests” and “media events” against the war, constitutional protections be damned.

"The American Legion will stand against anyone and any group that would demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom-loving peoples," Thomas Cadmus, national commander, told delegates at the group's national convention in Honolulu.

The delegates vowed to use whatever means necessary to "ensure the united backing of the American people to support our troops and the global war on terrorism."

I don't have a lot of use for the American Legion. The Legion was founded in 1919 as a brownshirt, street-fighting organization. They were the exact American parallel to the Freikorps in Germany and the Fascists in Italy. In 1923 the leader of the legion openly embraced Mussolini as a brother in arms saying, "Do not forget that the Fascisti are to Italy what the American Legion is to the United States." The American Legion regularly served as violent strike-breakers in the 20's. The leadership of the Legion was also involved in the Butler coup plot against Roosevelt in 1933. In recent years, the Legion has been one of the defenders of the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII.

Why this group survived WWII is beyond me. They should have collapsed in disgrace sixty years ago. I think they often a bit of a free ride because people confuse them with the VFW (a group that I do respect).

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