Leo Shane III, Military Times
Nearly one in four troops polled say they have seen examples of white nationalism among their fellow service members, and troops rate it as a larger national security threat than Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new Military Times poll.
The troops were surveyed about one month after white supremacist groups and counter-protesters clashed in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Concerns about white nationalist groups were more pronounced among minorities in the ranks. Nearly 42 percent of non-white troops who responded to the survey said they have personally experienced examples of white nationalism in the military, versus about 18 percent of white service members.
When asked whether white nationalists pose a threat to national security, 30 percent of respondents labeled it a significant danger, more than many international hot spots, like Syria (27 percent), Pakistan (25 percent), Afghanistan (22 percent) and Iraq (17 percent).
But a notable number of poll participants also bristled at the assertion that white power ideology is a real problem.
Nearly five percent of those polled left comments complaining that groups like Black Lives Matter—whose stated goal is to raise awareness of violence and discrimination towards black people—weren’t included among the options for threats to national security.
Singling out white supremacist groups irritated some of the troops surveyed.
“White nationalism is not a terrorist organization,” wrote one Navy commander, who declined to give his name.
“You do realize white nationalists and racists are two totally different types of people?” wrote another anonymous Air Force staff sergeant.