Sen. Shelby Asks Rumsfeld to Oust Racist Extremists from Military

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby has written to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld expressing concern about racist extremists serving in the military and urging him to adopt a zero tolerance policy.

Shelby cited a recent Center investigation that found the Department of Defense, in order to meet wartime manpower goals, has relaxed standards designed to weed out radical white supremacists.

"I am concerned that efforts to take action against extremists serving in our armed forces appear to be hindered by ambiguous Department of Defense guidelines and regulations on the issue," Shelby wrote in the July 20 letter (PDF).

"Military extremists present an elevated threat both to their fellow servicemembers and the public. We witnessed with Timothy McVeigh that today's racist extremist may become tomorrow's domestic terrorist. Of all the institutions in our society, the U.S. military is the absolute last place extremists can be permitted to exist."

Two House members, Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama and Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, also have circulated letters to all 435 members of the House calling upon Rumsfeld "to implement the recommendations of the Southern Poverty Law Center to adopt a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to white supremacy and other forms of racial or religious extremism in the military."