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Obama’s Politically Correct Pentagon

Our military is being destroyed by a readiness-busting political correctness…

America’s military is being destroyed by a readiness-busting political correctness (PC) because those wearing stars too often lack the courage to tell their civilian bosses “no.”  That lack of courage has led to a long string of cultural PC crises – including refusal to recognize internal threats from Islamists to sex-based absurdities and misguided rules of engagement.

Top brass should oppose PC-related corruption and remain focused on preparing for and prevailing in combat.  That mission requires a culture of principled and honest leadership that accepts contrary views.  But unchecked politics can corrode even the best military.  

After 9/11, President George Bush said the U.S. isn’t at war with Muslims.  “Our goal is to help you build a more tolerant and hopeful society that honors people of all faiths,” Bush said.  But that view morphed into a PC issue for the Pentagon.

The Pentagon launched a Muslim outreach program that gave “legitimacy” to some Islamic organizations promoting an ideology that shares the same objectives as al Qaeda.   Soon officials such as then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England cavorted with leaders from organizations like the Islamic Society of North America, a group associated with a covert plan by the Muslim Brotherhood to subvert the U.S.

That outreach program created widespread military cultural fear of being vilified as “Islamaphobic” which explains why the brass ignored important warnings like that delivered by Stephen Coughlin, a military intelligence analyst.  Coughlin was hired to “…set aside the feel-good assumptions about Islam … and take an unblinkered look at the facts.”  He warned senior officers that there were dedicated jihadists wearing the U.S. uniform.  In 2008, Coughlin was sacked as a result of a campaign undertaken by England’s Muslim aide because of Coughlin’s “Islamaphobic” views.

Hundreds of Army leaders were warned in 2008 at an Army-sponsored anti-terrorism conference that jihadism — Islamic holy war — was a serious threat to personnel in uniform and there were strategic deficiencies in the military’s comprehension of the threat.   Patrick Poole, one of the conference speakers, warned that “…ignorance and inaction keeps our troops vulnerable.”

Poole illustrated that ignorance by citing a lecture on Islam given to troops at Fort Hood by Louay Safi.  Poole said Safi was caught on FBI communications intercepts talking to a senior Palestinian Islamic jihad leader.  “Amazingly,” Poole said, “a Fort Hood spokesman claimed that Safi had been fully vetted.”

Recently, Poole reviewed his 2008 warning by citing three jihadist cases that validate them. In 2003, Army Sgt. Hasan Karim Akbar, who opposed killing of Muslims in war, killed two officers and wounded 14 in an attack in Kuwait. Second, last June, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, allegedly killed a U.S. soldier and wounded another outside a recruiting center in Little Rock, Ark.  Prosecutors say Muhammad targeted soldiers “…because of what they had done to Muslims in the past.”  Third, in November, a Muslim soldier, Maj. Nidal Hasan, shot dead 12 soldiers and a civilian at Fort Hood after shouting the Muslim expression “Allahu Akbar.”  Hasan frequently expressed radical Islamic views and associated with Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemen-based radical cleric who promotes jihad against the U.S.

The Army’s PC view of the Islamic threat continued even after the Fort Hood massacre.  General George Casey, Army Chief of Staff, never mentioned the Islamist factor but made statements expressing concern about “force protection” and the potential heightened “backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers” and the risk to Army “diversity.” 

Casey likely took his “diversity” cue from President Obama who mentioned military diversity in his Saturday radio address after the massacre.  Obama reinforced PC status for Muslims by making a goal of his presidency improving relations with the Islamic world.

Last month, the Pentagon’s official review of the Fort Hood massacre concluded the Army is ill-equipped to deal with “insider” threats.  But when asked whether PC led to the Army’s security failures, the officials said the matter is secret.

Shortly after the review became public, six officers were formally disciplined for failing to take action against Maj. Hasan. The attorney for one of those officers said the military was blaming a handful of officers for “a broader institutional [read PC cultural] failing.”

The PC view of the Islamic threat continues in the Pentagon with the publication of the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review.  That 128-page report sets out the military’s future strategy and force structure and described the country’s terrorist threat without using the words “Islam,” “Islamic” or “Islamist” a single time.

Gender integration is a deeply rooted PC issue which seldom draws attention from top brass in spite of contradictory facts.

For decades the military’s PC culture accepted without complaint the readiness-busting problems associated with gender integration: lowering of standards, sexual activity, sexual tension and declining morale.  The consequences are accepted and the military muddles along. 

Top brass understand the importance of building cohesive forces.  By now most have seen that mixing military men and women often defies the glowing political promises of equal opportunity.  The problem is male/female relationships work differently than single-sex groups, which any parent of teenage sons and daughters understands. 

Mix young men and women in close, 24/7 austere military settings and exclusive relationships rather than platonic, selfless situations emerge.  The sexes begin to pair off and develop exclusiveness instead of cohering with the larger group, which hurts the type of trust and confidence military units need.  The worst cases are often among leaders and their opposite sex subordinates because they can undermine trust in the chain of command.

But these facts are ignored by the PC Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead who feels “very comfortable” lifting the ban against women on submarines.  Apparently, he’s following the lead of Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said he’s “…an advocate for improving the diversity [read PC] of our force, I believe we should continue to broaden opportunities for women.”

Such readiness-busting sex silliness blinds all but realists and the few who speak out risk the ire of the PC police. 

Last December, Maj. Gen Anthony Cucolo III, the commander for the Third Infantry Division in northern Iraq, issued orders threatening to punish soldiers, married or single, who become pregnant while in the combat zone.   

Cucolo imposed the rule because “I need every soldier I’ve got … Anyone who leaves the fight earlier than expected … creates a burden on their teammates.”   Pregnant soldiers are immediately removed from the combat zone and not replaced.

The Pentagon’s PC police responsed to Cucolo’s problem of at-war pregnancies by forcing him to rescind the rule and then stocked war zone pharmacies with the morning-after pill, a birth control pill in super-high doses that leads to an early abortion.  Pentagon officials claim the decision to stock the pill in Iraq was not prompted by the uproar over Cucolo’s pregnancy policy.

Homosexual sex could soon gain PC status if President Obama gets his way.  Obama wants to repeal the military’s gay ban to repay the homosexual lobby for their political support.  Unfortunately, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Adm. Mullen support that decision and Mullen abandoned all pretense of objectivity to say lifting the ban is “the right thing to do” but then admitted he doesn’t know the impact of that decision.

PC also infects rules of engagement when capturing terrorists as illustrated by the Navy’s court martial case against three SEALs.  The criminal charge involves allegedly smacking a captured al Qaeda terrorist, who is accused of murdering four American security guards in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004.  This is PC because the military is well aware that al Qaeda teaches captured terrorists to “…claim they were tortured and/or maltreated.” 

Charging the SEALs on the basis of evidence given by a terrorist stifles special forces aggressiveness, injects PC into combat and ultimately makes the country less safe.
Our military brass has become dangerously PC.  It’s past time they vigorously oppose readiness-wrecking PC-inspired social engineering and turn their full  attention to honing hardened, fighting forces.

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Written By

Robert Maginnis is a retired Army lieutenant colonel, and a national security and foreign affairs analyst for radio and television.

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