by Frank Gaffney
A stunning, if absurd, indicator of the depths to which the Biden administration is taking the U.S. military was lit up on September 8th by Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas. The Army veteran and senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee wrote Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin a letter dripping with well-deserved ridicule over a “recent decision to incorporate ‘gender neutral’ language into decoration and award citations.”
The Senator expressed incredulity that, “Our military apparently will now use ‘themself’ – which is not even a word, I hasten to add – instead of “himself” or “herself” to describe heroic or distinguished actions.” He went on to lambaste the Defense Secretary:
The Department’s embrace of far-left gender ideology doesn’t merely subvert the English language in ways that would astonish George Orwell. Worse, it exemplifies a Pentagon leadership consumed by the fads of the faculty lounge at a time when the Army can’t hit its recruiting goals, the Navy can’t keep ships out of dry dock, and the Air Force can’t find spare parts for planes.
Unfortunately, what might be chalked up to the academy’s leftist foolishness is actually a symptom of something far more ominous – and very far advanced: a cultural Marxist take-down of America’s armed forces. Just how much the “fundamental transformation” of the uniformed services has metastasized was the subject of a chilling webinar conducted on September 8th by our Committee on the Present Danger: China.
Entitled “Removing the Marxists; Rebuilding the Military,” the program discussed what some mistakenly trivialize as the “woke” agenda. But a panel of five distinguished veteran warriors established that Obama-Biden policies – emphasizing, for example, Critical Race Theory indoctrination of our servicemen and women; anti-meritocratic “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” programs and their political commissar enforcement officers; “LGBTQ+” social engineering; and prioritizing “climate change” as the greatest national security threat we face – are actually elements of a toxic divide-and-conquer strategy.
Indeed, such initiatives are designed to turn our servicemen and women against one another and devastate confidence in their superiors. They predictably and catastrophically erode unit- cohesion, morale, readiness and, inevitably, deterrence. And the degree to which they are having these intended effects can no longer be denied, let alone ignored.
That is especially so in light of the webinar’s insights shared by Dr. Bradley Thayer, a former Defense Department civilian deeply expert in the historic and contemporary Chinese practice of weakening enemy militaries in furtherance of a strategy of winning without fighting. In the modern era, the Chinese Communist Party has elevated such techniques to an art form with its “elite capture” of American leaders, notably including the U.S. Commander-in-Chief, President Joe Biden.
Incredible as it may seem, a growing number of others in the senior reaches of the armed services’ chain of command are now enthusiastic champions of this cultural Marxist agenda. Prominent among them is General C.Q. Brown, currently the Air Force Chief of Staff and Biden’s nominee to become the next Joint Chiefs Chairman.
The good news is that Senator Tom Cotton and his colleagues in the U.S. Senate have an opportunity – as well as a duty – to go beyond fully justified contemptuous letter-writing in response to the outrages Gen. Brown espouses in furtherance of racist “diversity” and quotas to promote it. Thanks to his Armed Services Committee colleague, Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, Senate approval of the elevation of that general and the promotion of nearly 300 other senior officers are on hold. According to former Army Ranger Will Thibeau of the Claremont Institute’s American Military Project, at least 42% of those awaiting Senate approval are, like C.Q. Brown, publicly on record espousing what amounts to the cultural Marxist agenda.
It is rarely the case when a single vote could make a material difference in the trajectory of a major, complicated and politically fraught public policy problem. The vote on General Brown’s confirmation as a vehicle for rejecting Marxism in our armed forces could be one such time.
Clearly, what is needed now is a Senate intervention to save America’s military. Senator Cotton should join with Senator Tuberville and others on the Armed Services Committee and off to a) insist on a rigorous evaluation of the damage being done in the name of the so-called “woke” transformation that is destroying our armed forces and b) reject any senior officers who are advancing it, starting with General C.Q. Brown.
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Frank J. Gaffney acted as an Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration. He is currently the Executive Chairman of the Center for Security Policy, Vice Chairman of the Committee on the Present Danger: China and author of The Indictment.