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Irregular Army: How the US Military Recruited Neo-Nazis, Gang Members, and Criminals to Fight the War on Terror Hardcover – September 17, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1844678808 ISBN-10: 1844678806 Edition: 1st

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Irregular Army: How the US Military Recruited Neo-Nazis, Gang Members, and Criminals to Fight the War on Terror + Right-Wing Resurgence: How a Domestic Terrorist Threat is Being Ignored
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; 1 edition (September 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844678806
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844678808
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


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

"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
“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

“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.”—The Daily Beast

“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

“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

“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 U.S. 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

“In inauspicious news for foreign and domestic populations alike, investigative journalist Matt Kennard’s recent book Irregular Army: How the US Military Recruited Neo-Nazis, Gang Members, and Criminals to Fight the War on Terror 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.”—Belen Fernandez, 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

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.

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Customer Reviews

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People need to realize that the military is like any very large organization.
I could go on (there are lots of wrong "facts," but the bottom line is that the wrong facts that appear regularly undermine the credibility of the book.
Mountain Climber
If you have a family member or friend contemplating joining the US military, please give them this book to read before they make their decision.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Steve Reina VINE VOICE on February 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover
With last fall's Sikh Temple shooting in Oak Creek Wisconsin, Americans were given some additional cause for alarm about their nation's military.

The reason for that is the shooting was done by Wade Michael Page formerly of the United States military. Sadly it was also learned that Page was a Neo Nazi.

Based on mostly interviews but also some other reports and research journalist Matt Kenard has attempted to tell a very large story, just how neo Nazis like Page were able to get into the military.

As it turns out neo Nazi infilitration into the military -- according to Kennard -- is part of a larger story of what happened when the US military was forced to lower recruiting standards in maintaining troop numbers for the war on terror.

Again according to Page, lower recruiting standards have not only opened the military's enlistment rolls to neo Nazis but also gang members, those with criminal records (that were previously deemed a basis for denying enlistment), those with mental problems, those with physical issues like being overweight, individuals with lower IQs and also foreign nationals who are offered citizenship in exchange for military service.

At a scant 222 pages it would be a challenge for Page to fully develop any of these topics. However, tackling all of them is a gargantuan task and because of the limits of space in this book readers are often left with significant questions as Kennard attempts to support his thesis on one point, before he goes on to start arguing yet another point.

This is one of those books that probably should best be a part of one's investigation into the issues raised by Kennard. However it is an investigation worth doing because it only takes one Wade Page to cause great misery.
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25 of 43 people found the following review helpful By maskirovka VINE VOICE on September 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I write this as someone who served 11 years on active and reserve duty in the US Army. I know for a fact there are right wing extremists in the US military. I remember watching a movie about the 1993 Waco siege and being shocked as a fellow officer started cheering when the characters playing ATF agents were murdered by the Branch Davidians.

But this is a badly skewed book. The fact that it has an endorsement by Noam Chomsky and is published by a very left wing publishing house is very revealing in my opinion. The book harps on the fact that a very small number of US military personnel have joined up who should have never been allowed in. These include people with with gang affiliations and people with extreme white supremacist and neo-Nazi affiliations. When you see the photos in the book that show these soldiers sporting white power tattoos and Nazi regalia, you can only shake your head and wonder what on earth were the recruiters thinking when they allowed them in.

And I will credit the author for bringing up this controversial but real problem. People need to realize that the military is like any very large organization. Most people in it are good, patriotic, or at the very least harbor no ill will to their fellow man. But there are inevitably going to be people who don't belong and behave in ways that are incompatible with military service or are outright criminal.

But like I said, this book is very skewed.
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14 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Mountain Climber on December 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The title of this book caught my eye because the book purported to deal with a very serious and important topic--the recruitment of undesirable and unqualified people into the US military. But the author is sloppy and loose with his facts, and the book is not balanced but just an anti-military screed that could have used a better editor (the end of the book just dissolves into incoherent rambling about the Roman empire and random people the author met in Brownsville, Texas). The author also apparently didn't have enough material to make up a book--so he added a chapter on recruitment of Latinos and LGBT people, which is confusing (does the author think that Latinos & LGBT people are "undesirable" in the way that criminals and gang members and Neo-Nazis are undesirable?). The author doesn't have a coherent theory about who should be in the US military--apparently he thinks that nobody should be allowed to serve. He doesn't even deal with obvious issues such as whether there should be a draft, or whether a draft would eliminate some of the problems he identifies. And frequently, he just gets his facts wrong (mixing up the US Marines and the Army, for example, when he claims that Dan Choi tried to reenlist in "the marines"). More wrong facts: He says that the US military revoked the citizenship of immigrants who naturalised through military service ("this proviso was invoked widely and impacted countless immigrant families," p. 172), when in fact there are no documented cases of any US military member losing his or her citizenship after 9/11--there were immigrants who got deported, but they were people who didn't get their naturalised citizenship because they didn't bother to apply for it.Read more ›
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