Task Force Butler Vets are Patriots.
Mike Flynn, The Patriot Front, The Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, 3%ers etc... are NOT
I grew up in the Midwest in a somewhat, Norman Rockwell existence where actual American values were not up for reinterpretation. Left and Right held nearly synonymous views of what patriotism looked like and collectively agreed on what wasn’t. America wasn’t perfect but was working towards a “more perfect union,” albeit slower than many liked. Still, outside of the deep South, we didn’t tolerate extremism publicly, especially not within law enforcement and the military. Things have changed and it represents regression, not forward progress.
An exclusive today from NBC News, is about a movement of far-right extremists, like most of the crowd on Jan 6th, which has taken to parading around in public, demonstrating all manner of anti-American, violent extremism.
More importantly, this piece from NBC, is about what true patriots are doing in their attempt to fight back collectively, the way our nation used to, before power-hungry political parties embraced hyper-partisanship and enlisted anti-American, violent extremists in their war against America. This organization, like other veterans, true to their oath of service, are not advocating for a political party, they are doing what true patriots do, when the nation is threatened. They honor their oath by defending the nation and our Constitution, “from all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Bravo to Task Force Butler! The following is who they are and their mission:
“Task Force Butler is a group of American veterans specializing in the detection and disruption of today’s greatest threats against democracy: disinformation campaigns and domestic extremism.”
There is a great deal of sub-context to this article for folks in my profession, intimately familiar with violent extremist groups. Though this topic will be a long future post, here are the salient points about this type of extremism and its threat to our national security. Today, I’ll just hit the highlights. For full transparency, I retired from the US Army, serving 18 years in the Special Operations command, more than a decade of that with exceptional, special-operations units in their deployed missions against violent extremists. I’ve had the great fortune to know and learn from some of the world’s best terrorism experts and even further to teach, research, mentor and consult on terrorism topics, including for NATO’s COE, Centre of Excellence for addressing Terrorism.
First and foremost, all extremism is a threat, regardless of ideology. Still, there aren’t enough resources to go around to combat every type of extremist group in the US. This means, extremist threats must be prioritized. All ideologues are rigid in their respective ideology whether it is, AQ, ISIS, Right-Wing causes or otherwise, like anti-abortion, animal rights, INCELs, etc.
All threats though, are not equal in their potential harm to the nation. For my entire military career, the nation and much of the world focused exclusively on Islamist, violent extremism instead of adding the other primary threats to the threat radar. This allowed those other potent threats to grow, regrow or develop their own new threats, like INCELs. Now there are even very serious threats that operate collectively, albeit somewhat at arm’s length, like the Boogaloo Bois and Accelerationists. On January 6th, we saw a virtual cornucopia of right-wing violent extremist groups work together to assault our Capital and attempt to replace our government in a violent, armed insurrection.
We cannot allow the January 6th crowd to operate simply because they call themselves “conservatives.” These people have zero idea about what true conservatism is and wish to be treated as a political party in order to avoid being treated by law enforcement, As the violent extremists they are. Party doesn’t matter in this discussion simply because these groups and their members are not conservatives or Republicans, but violent extremists. They are not theoretical threats to our government but clear and present dangers to our republic. They call themselves, anti-government in many cases. They have defined themselves as against our constitution. Even their name makes their threat, overtly clear.
Opposing national security threats is every American’s responsibility, even if they are part of our voting bloc. This is what Task Force Butler is doing. They have banded together to help honest law enforcement with legal strategies to help contain this imminent threat before there is another Jan 6th type event. I say “honest law enforcement” because of the large number of anti-American, “Constitutional Sheriffs.” Who openly refuse to support the constitution are proud to be anti-government. I loudly approve of and applaud Task Force Butler’s efforts. My weapon of choice these days, to protect our nation from these extremists, is my keyboard. I seek to explain things plainly. I seek to empower those who put country over party. I encourage Americans to be honest with themselves about the threat posed by the political party who wields these extremist groups as a weapon to slay our democracy and replace it with fascism.
I like to say that, “if you think your side is always right… you’re wrong.” Americans who value their true constitutional values, owe it to the nation to oppose legitimate, anti-American threats. Too many politicians these days, feed American voters a steady diet of conspiracy theories and fear-mongering. Here in Texas, we get bushels of these conspiracy theories and our Republican party platform includes “election-denial.” If politicians can’t express truth and live in reality, there’s no hope that they will ever do anything of value for their constituents.
Frankly, I don’t give a damn if you’re a principled conservative or a principled liberal. We are guaranteed our right to our beliefs by the very constitution that the Jan 6th crowd tried to destroy. By adding that word, “principled,” you also incur a solemn obligation to prove it with your actions. If you are supporting a party of conspiracy theorists and anti-constitutional beliefs, you are not entitled to “principled.” At the end of the day, I believe that most Americans have integrity. Here’s an important life lesson though, people and groups are NOT what they say, but what they do. From where I sit, I am hoping to see all who claim integrity, to act on it.
Task Force Butler and countless other Americans from both sides of the aisle, are setting a fine example with their actions. I side with them. Who will join us?
Below, I’ve added some links for further reading. They will all, and them some be part of a future, far deeper look into American extremism.
All my best for your week,
The Military, Police, and the Rise of Terrorism in the United States | Center for Strategic and International Studies (csis.org)
Pushed to Extremes: Domestic Terrorism amid Polarization and Protest | Center for Strategic and International Studies (csis.org)
Examining Extremism: U.S. Militant Anarchists | Center for Strategic and International Studies (csis.org)
The Rise of Far-Right Extremism in the United States | Center for Strategic and International Studies (csis.org)
Examining Extremism: QAnon | Center for Strategic and International Studies (csis.org)
Examining Extremism: The Oath Keepers | Center for Strategic and International Studies (csis.org)
Examining Extremism: The Boogaloo Movement | Center for Strategic and International Studies (csis.org)
Examining Extremism: The Militia Movement | Center for Strategic and International Studies (csis.org)
National Security Council, The White House U.S. Department of State Office of the Secretary of Defense Office of the Director of National Intelligence U.S. Department of Homeland Security Homeland Security Today Magazine United States Department of Defense Asia-Pacific Security Innovation Forum and COE NATO NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency) UK Ministry of Defence The Associated Press Reuters BBC News The New York Times The Wall Street Journal The Washington Post San Antonio Express-News Houston Chronicle The Dallas Morning News Austin American-Statesman El Paso Times Columbus Dispatch The Kansas City Star Chicago Tribune Media Group The Denver Post
The Seattle Times Los Angeles Times
The San Diego Union-Tribune Narrative Strategies
Information Professionals Association
Doowan Lee USSOCOM Joint Special Operations University Alan Malcher MA The Texas Tribune The Lincoln Project