[Vision2020] Racism?

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Tue May 1 05:47:40 PDT 2007

In my opinion, racial profiling is racism, regardless of what your day job
is.  We don't tolerate it in civilian life.  We demand, and expect, better
from those in uniform.

>From the May 6, 2007 edition of the Army Times -


Strip search for gang tattoos spurs cries of profiling

The commander of New Mexico's National Guard demanded an apology from Army
leadership after dozens of his soldiers in a mostly Hispanic unit were
ordered to strip to their gym shorts and then were searched for gang tattoos
while on duty in Kuwait.

Army officials said the searches of 58 guardsmen in a unit called Task Force
Cobra last May were proper and legal.

But Brig. Gen. Kenny Montoya, head of the state Guard, said he believes
ethnicity played a role in the episode - the unit is 55 percent Hispanic.

"I said something wrong was done there, and it was because of race, and I
want to make sure it will not happen again," Montoya said.

The search was prompted by an unsubstantiated allegation from a soldier in
another unit who complained about gang activity among soldiers in Kuwait.
The soldier claimed to have seen gang tattoos among members of Task Force
Cobra's parent unit.

The search, conducted by a Criminal Investigation Command agent, turned up
no gang tattoos. The Army forbids extremist, racist, sexist or vulgar
tattoos and prohibits membership in any extremist group, though rules do not
specifically mention gangs.

The Army recommended discipline against three soldiers who objected to the
searches. Maj. Kenneth Nava, a spokesman for the New Mexico Guard, said
those three were counseled but not otherwise punished.

After the Albuquerque Journal reported the incident this week, New Mexico's
congressional delegation demanded a full investigation from the Army. Gov.
Bill Richardson, the nation's only Hispanic governor and a Democratic
presidential hopeful, said he supports an investigation into the "degrading

The New Mexico chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens also
expressed outrage.

Maj. Anne Edgecomb, an Army spokeswoman at the Pentagon, said in an e-mail
Wednesday to The Associated Press that the Army had just received the call
for a full investigation and had yet to respond.

The task force is made up of nearly 190 soldiers and deployed in November
2005 to provide convoy security in Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar. The unit returned
last November.


Seeya round town, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

"Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil
and steady dedication of a lifetime." 

--Adlai E. Stevenson, Jr.

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