Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a cryptic, ambiguous, and ultimately dangerous order on February 5th: an ultimatum to root out “extremism” in the United States military. Austin wrote:
“We will not tolerate actions that go against the fundamental principles of the oath we share, including actions associated with extremist or dissident ideologies. Service members, DoD civilian employees, and all those who support our mission, deserve an environment free of discrimination, hate, and harassment. It is incumbent upon each of us to ensure that actions associated with these corrosive behaviors are prevented. Commanders, supervisors, and all those who hold a leadership position within the Department have a special responsibility to guard against these behaviors and set the example for those they lead.”
Then came the directive: “To that end, I am directing commanding officers and supervisors at all levels to select a date within the next 60 days to conduct a one-day “stand-down” on this issue with their personnel.”
Now for anyone who has ever served in the military, an order to stand-down is quite clear. When issued to troops in the field, it means you can put down your rifle and relax because the threat has passed. When issued to the entire armed forces of the United States, it means to cease internal operations. Given the context, it is a profoundly stupid dictate and could well be a singular act of martial suicide.
What is most troubling about Austin’s order is that it fails to define “extremism” when that word can mean just about anything the person wielding it wants it to mean. In the wake of the January 6th Capitol riot, when a handful of Trump supporters initiated one of the sorriest and most ineffective “insurrections” in history, the labels “extremism,” “white supremacist,” and “domestic” terrorist are being falsely and maliciously applied to everyone who voted for former President Donald Trump or supported the Republican Party during the last four years.
In a previous article, I dealt extensively with how the Democrats and their allies in Big Tech, woke corporations, and the mainstream media have worked in tandem to discredit, destroy, and define conservatives and Republicans as dangers to the Republic. That process has since continued, unabated, executing a vision best captured by former CIA Director and chief Trump critic John Brennan:
“I know looking forward that the members of the Biden team who have been nominated or have been appointed, are now moving in laser-like fashion to try to uncover as much as they can about what looks very similar to insurgency movements that we’ve seen overseas, where they germinate in different parts of a country, and they gain strength, and it brings together an unholy alliance, frequently, of religious extremists, authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, nativists, even libertarians.”
Austin appears to be one of those Biden-appointees whom Brennan identified as moving in “laser-like” fashion to begin looking under every military bunk for evidence of a white supremacist. His order is not only a foolish and knee-jerk answer to the current phobias of and vendettas of Democratic leaders; it is an order to root out conservatives, libertarians, evangelical Christians (and God knows who else) from the military because they have allegedly demonstrated “extremism” by failing to align themselves with the progressive left.
“EXTREMISM” FOR THEE, BUT NOT FOR THEE
President Biden’s new Defense Secretary was already a contentious selection. Austin is a former general, the commander of Central Command, and has only been out of the military for four years—not the required seven years that intended to distance the retired military official from his previous life before stepping into his new political appointment. As such, his nomination required a waiver and approval from both the House and Senate. (Although it’s true that Congress waived the same law for retired Marine Gen. Jim Mattis four years ago, in recent days, lawmakers and experts have been reticent to issue another waiver so soon for fear it undermined the principle of civilian control of the military.)
[I]t’s unlikely that Austin would not have initiated this witch hunt in more temperate times.
Then, there was the question of Austin’s activities at Central Command (which oversees U.S. military operations in the Middle East), particularly his role in defining (and minimizing) the threat posed by ISIS. Austin apparently didn’t think ISIS was anything near the threat it was, and may have even told former President Barack Obama that it was “a flash in the pan.” (Though his office later denied this comment, this analysis led Obama, in an interview with The New Yorker, to describe the constellation of jihadist groups in Iraq and Syria as terrorism’s “jayvee team” the Atlantic reports).
It’s obvious that Austin does not believe other brands of “extremism” should be subject to such brevity, having gone as far as to declare war on his own personnel.
Yet even as he is swept up in the toxic political climate of the moment, as an executive-order-obsessed President Joe Biden continues to flush the Trump legacy from the nation’s consciousness, it’s unlikely that Austin would not have initiated this witch hunt in more temperate times. The American military has been hell-bent on exorcising itself of imagined white supremacist demons for quite some time and has become enamored of left-wing ideology.
POLITICIZING THE AMERICAN MILITARY
As every conservative should know (but somehow seems to forget when their party is in power), bureaucracies not only survive the previous administration, they continue to promote its policies and show a remarkable reluctance to stop doing so—even when ordered to. While Donald Trump held the presidency, the U.S. Army initiated a massive diversity program that was designed to fix alleged racial bias. The news release indicated, “The Army Equity and Inclusion Agency and the Inspector General will conduct listening sessions with Soldiers and civilians worldwide to converse on race, diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
As anyone who has ever served in the military will tell you, it is probably the most diverse and inclusive organization in America…
And you thought the troops were training to defend the nation! Well, when you can navel-gaze and discuss buzzwords like “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” topics like “white privilege” are not far behind, turning this into just another not so cleverly camouflaged exercise in critical race theory.
Trump’s own defense secretary, Mark Esper, was also a diversity cheerleader, announcing a military-wide program last June: DOD Diversity and Inclusiveness that promised: “A diverse and inclusive DoD draws out and builds upon the best in each of us; it builds esprit de corps, forges teamwork, and brings out the best between us. In short, it brings out the best in America.”
As anyone who has ever served in the military will tell you, it is probably the most diverse and inclusive organization in America, and has been since President Harry Truman told the services to stop segregating its members—almost 20 years before Jim Crow died in the South. But Mark Esper—the same defense secretary who was openly defiant of his President by holding a news conference to say he didn’t believe the Insurrection Act should be used to send National Guard troops to quell the looting, rioting, and violence in America’s cities—apparently thought there was a problem, one that needed to be addressed through woke programming.
Do you want even more blatant evidence of the politicized military? Look no further than Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth Wright, who also believed there was a grave racial divide in his service, and promised “an independent review of the service’s justice system after a series of scathing reports that showed it disproportionately punishes young black airmen.” Wright went as far as to announce: “I am George Floyd,” a statement that made explicit his desire to politicize the U.S. Air Force. “I am a Black man who happens to be Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. I am George Floyd… I am Philando Castile, I am Michael Brown, I am Alton Sterling, I am Tamir Rice,” Wright declared.
Who am I?
I am a Black man who happens to be the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force.
I am George Floyd…I am Philando Castile, I am Michael Brown, I am Alton Sterling, I am Tamir Rice.
— JoAnne S. Bass (@cmsaf_official) June 1, 2020
This has been going on for years. In October 2013, soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, attended a pre-deployment briefing where they were told the internal threats to the military were evangelical Christians and anyone supporting the Tea Party!
“My first concern was if I was going to be in trouble going to church,” an evangelical Christian soldier told Fox News. “Can I tithe? Can I donate to Christian charities? What if I donate to a politician who is a part of the Tea Party movement?”
In a statement eerily reminiscent of the vitriol toward the Tea Party movement’s progeny—MAGA voters and Trump supporters—the authoritarian paper-shuffler conducting this Stalinist lecture actually told the personnel that anyone donating money to Christian groups or conservative organizations would receive swift justice under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
[T]he Defense Department is more than ever a hostage to chimeric manias of insurrectionist Trump supporters…
If you cannot recall a time when Evangelicals, Tea Party advocates, or Trump supporters have created mayhem at a U.S. military base, it is because it hasn’t happened. The same cannot be said, however, of Islamic extremism: in 2009, Maj. Nidal Hasan, a former Army psychiatrist and radicalized Muslim, killed 13 people and wounded dozens more when he went on a rampage. For his crimes, Hasan received the death penalty. The Department of Defense chose not to categorize this atrocity as an act of Islamic terror or even domestic terrorism but declared it instead to be “workplace violence.”
That tragedy took place at Fort Hood—the same base that identified Christians as the domestic terror threat.
In the wake of the attack, there was no declaration by Defense Secretary Robert Gates or President Obama to investigate and root out Islamic extremists in the U.S. military—even though the FBI had identified Hasan as an Islamic terrorist two years prior, amid significant warning signs that he was an Islamic extremist bent on killing civilians. Washington agents failed to act on the intelligence, however, because it wasn’t politically correct to do so.
Former President Obama, speaking at a vigil for those killed by Hasan, noted, “No faith justifies these murderous and craven acts.” Obama—and those on the left—did not want to suggest that the actions of a few should taint the characters of all; that being a Muslim did not necessarily make you a terrorist.
That is more than the Democrats can say today about Trump supporters, however, and the Defense Secretary’s inquisition seems to be based almost entirely on the fact that “some” military members may have participated in the Capitol riot. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said during a February news conference, “No matter what it is, it is… not an insignificant problem and has to be addressed.”
There could not be a more telling statement that the Defense Department is more than ever a hostage to chimeric manias of insurrectionist Trump supporters, no matter how scanty in number, constituting a clear and present threat to America’s military.
The Department is also hanging this investigation on a 2019 poll from the Military Times that found that “36 percent of troops who responded have seen evidence of white supremacist and racist ideologies in the military.” But, as we should know by now, the definition of white supremacy is about as elastic as spandex: officials and vandals across America are removing Abraham Lincoln’s name from schools and tearing down his statue because he, too, was an alleged white supremacist. “White supremacy” can be applied to anyone who doesn’t embrace the current culture of diversity—a concept, it is worth noting, that is completely undefinable itself. (Should we normalize child molesters because they add to our diversity? How about thieves and murderers?)
All this could serve as evidence that they, too, are a potential insurrectionist.
So our men and women in uniform march on—having been warned that Joe Biden and Lloyd Austin will be watching their every move. Will they make an offhand remark about President Biden looking like a languorous old man as he stumbles through another speech and another executive order? Will they issue a tweet that sounds a little too conservative in these times? Did they vote for Donald Trump? All this could serve as evidence that they, too, are a potential insurrectionist.
It’s not that Austin has invented a military obsessed with political correctness and notions of equity, but he is more than sustaining it—he has taken it to its next level. By pledging to root out something called “extremists,” he has taken the military from a reactive left-wing path to a proactive one. The Armed Forces are not just quietly dismissing the threat of Islamic extremism and coercing traditional Christians and conservatives to keep their mouths shut; they are now about actively dismissing anyone deemed to be subversive to Joe Biden and the progressive left.
We will be left with a military that might not have a clue about firing a weapon—or may not have either the courage or inclination to fight a war—but it will certainly know how to lead a diversity workshop or host a forum on white privilege.