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Irregular Army: How the US Military Recruited Neo-Nazis, Gang Members, and Criminals to Fight the War on Terror 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-1844678808
ISBN-10: 1844678806
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Editorial Reviews


“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.”

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.”

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

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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; 1 edition (September 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844678806
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844678808
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,051,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Ed on September 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I haven't even finished this book and it is very engaging and very enlightening. It appears to me that this author is giving a voice to matters that are well known but least spoken about and more covered up.

Wonderful book.
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8 of 11 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on March 10, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book explained about how the military has problems with recruitment during period of war, when they need more personnel. They accept people that they would not otherwise accept. I am very interested in military affairs, so I found this book to be a good read.
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Format: Paperback
First off, it was the helpful reviews of other folks who purchased the book that helped me decide to get it, but admittedly I did not buy it on Amazon as one critique suggested not to. I got it on loan from Ohio State University Library, which was a surprise to me given the apathy of academia today regarding anything about an institution students and professors can hardly relate to, since the government stopped "implementing" one aspect of the Selective Service System circa 1973. I believe this work is a (not good but) satisfactory first look at recruiting problems that has faced our All Volunteer Force (AVF). They are questions that in fact will continue to threaten and weaken "our government's" concept of an AVF.
Regarding the need for more research, Mr. Kennard focuses on the symptoms of the illness that will eventually invalidate (kill) the (patient), the AVF instead more work needs to be done to determine what reasons other than need to maintain recruiting quotas motivates our military to have to resort to lowering standards to get well volunteers. But the weakest part of this analysis is that Mr. Kennard does a good job in reiterating facts that have been in the media since 9/11 including Pentagon IG Reports of Military Recruiting wrong doing. Other words he regurgitates concerns that "HAVE BEEN" in the public eye for the duration of the war and most likely will continue to be. Does WE THE PEOPLE not really care who volunteers for our military or are WE apathetic?
That leads to another point. On page 9, Kennard notes that involuntary conscription had been "abolished" by Congress in 1973 at the end of the Vietnam War. I can locate no reliable sources for this.
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25 of 40 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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