How the US Military Recruited Neo-Nazis, Gang Members, and Criminals to Fight the War on Terror
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About the author
Matt Kennard is a journalist based in London. He has worked for the Financial Times in Washington, New York, and London, and has written for Salon, the Chicago Tribune, and the Guardian. He graduated as a Stabile Investigative Fellow from the Columbia Journalism School.
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.
; September 2012
ISBN 9781844679058Read online
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Title: Irregular Army
Author: Matt Kennard
In the press
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Demonstrates a serious weakness in America’s ability to recruit a long- or even medium-term occupying force.”
“Kennard’s book provides the first comprehensive account of the lengths the military went to maintain its numbers.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Chilling... Illuminating... Kennard’s nonpartisan portrait of martial waywardness is foreboding.”
From the Hardcover edition.