Flat White

Winning the war on woke in the armed forces

24 May 2021

5:11 PM

24 May 2021

5:11 PM

The American military is increasingly facing future armed with the attitude “If we’re going to lose a major war, at least we’ll do it with the most diverse armed forces ever. Take that, our enemies!” All armies – and navies and air forces, and now also space forces – have one task and one task only: to kill as effectively and efficiently as possible, whether in defence or in offence, in the pursuit of the country’s national interest. Anything else is a distraction. The military is different to all other institutions for that simple reason: the price of its failure is greater than any other’s.

Traditionally the domain of hardheadedness and rationality, armed forces have been in the past largely immune from left-wing ideas and politics. But the ideological poison is now spreading through the ranks too, sadly from the very top down. A few items in the news lately:

Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier gets fired from the Space Force for having written and self-published Irresistible Revolution: Marxism’s Goal of Conquest & the Unmaking of the American Military, a book criticising the growing impact of cultural Marxism and Critical Race Theory on the armed forces. While the serving personnel are prohibited from engaging in “partisan political activities”, if criticising Marxism is considered to be a partisan political activity, this seems to be a backhanded acknowledgment that it’s now the guiding ideology of the Democratic Party, at least in cultural matters. Who would have thought that being anti-communist would ever be considered extremism and a firing offence in US military. Lohmeier’s book, by the way, has by now topped the Amazon charts.

A controversy erupts over a viral comparison of two recent army recruitment ads. The one from the United States has its narrator, Cpl. Emma Malonelord recounting her story in an animated cartoon: “It begins in California with a little girl raised by two moms… Although I had a fairly typical childhood, took ballet, played violin, I also marched for equality. I like to think I’ve been defending freedom from an early age.” The one from Russia doesn’t:

The comments section on YouTube has now been disabled for the American ad, reflecting the largely negative public reaction. CNN’s Jack Tapper, meanwhile, is accusing one of the ad’s most prominent critics, Sen Ted Cruz, of pushing Russian propaganda. But of course.

Meanwhile, in the words of the Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the Defense Department “will immediately take appropriate policy actions to prioritize climate change considerations in our activities and risk assessments, to mitigate this driver of insecurity. As directed by the President, we will include the security implications of climate change in our risk analyses, strategy development, and planning guidance.  As a leader in the interagency, the Department of Defense will also support incorporating climate risk analysis into modeling, simulation, wargaming, analysis, and the next National Defense Strategy. And by changing how we approach our own carbon footprint, the Department can also be a platform for positive change, spurring the development of climate-friendly technologies at scale… There is little about what the Department does to defend the American people that is not affected by climate change… It is a national security issue, and we must treat it as such.” The impact of climate change is of course a planning contingency, but climate change is not a military threat; it’s not going to invade the United States from Mexico or rain missiles on Hawaii. If it really was a national security issue, perhaps the US armed forces should start bombing Chinese coal-fired power plants, seeing that China now emits more CO2 than the entire developed world combined.

Compare and contrast with Australia, where the new Defence Minister, Peter Dutton, has ordered Defence Department to focus on its core business and ditch events like the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia morning teas, where staff are encouraged to wear rainbow clothing.  “I’ve been very clear to the chiefs that I will not tolerate discrimination. But we are not pursuing a woke agenda… Our task is to build up the morale in the Australian Defence Force and these woke agendas don’t help,” said the Minister, and the note circulated within the Department reminded the staff:

Defence represents the people of Australia and must at all times be focused on our primary mission to protect Australia’s national security interests. We must not be putting effort into matters that distract from this… We have made it clear to all Service Chiefs and Group Heads that combat and organisational capability is to be delivered through our well-developed training and education programs, exercises and operational experience, with respectful behaviours, underpinned by Defence values.

For that, Dutton has been called a “warmonger” by Labor’s Kristina Keneally, who added that “Some of our best defence ministers – think of [Labor’s] Kim Beazley – have understood that a defence minister is not about starting wars, it is about finding peace.” Actually, everyone else, including a Prime Minister and a Foreign Minister, is about finding peace; a Defence Minister is about preparing the armed forces, and the country as a whole if necessary, for when those other fail.

There is hope out there, but it seems to rely on a handful of courageous individuals standing athwart a stampede of sheep. And that’s a precarious position for any nation’s defence to rest.

Arthur Chrenkoff blogs at The Daily Chrenk, where a version of this piece also appears.

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