Wanted: More Orwell, less Dr. Spock
Following the Vietnam War, the U.S. Military shook off the damage done to its ethos and morale under Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and President Johnson, to reemerge better than ever in time for Gulf War I in 1990. Post-9/11, 2001, our military and the CIA made quick work of Osama bin Ladens training camps in Afghanistan. Then, in 2003, our armed forces rolled over Saddam Husseins elite Republican Guard.
Perfect hindsight reveals we should have gotten out of Afghanistan by 2004 and probably never have gone into Iraq at all, leaving Saddam Hussein as a physical block against Iran. But despite being short-handed and worn down by too-often repeated deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, our Armed Forces continued to show the kind of zeal for battle that would have made Admiral Horatio Nelson or General George Patton proud.
But then, in 2009, came President Obama and Valerie Jarrett and their desire to "fundamentally transform" America, to include the U.S. Military. Step 1. Was to force the retirement of over 200 admirals and generals and other senior officers and NCOs who had rescued our armed forces from the doldrums of Vietnam and Cambodia.
Step 2. Was to instruct the Service Secretaries to replace what was left of the warrior class, most of whom had served in the fox holes or the in the skies over North Vietnam, with mostly staff officers who showed a willingness to treat the military as a venue for experiments in social justice.
Apparently, for the next seven years, promotion boards screened for admirals and generals who were likely to behave less like Admiral Nelson or General Patton and more like disarmament advocate, Dr. Benjamin Spock. The Obama Administration accelerated the feminization of the military, lowering the physical standards for Airborne and Ranger training. (The Biden* Pentagon just announced a separate, less demanding PT test for women.)
The Trump Administration made considerable progress toward restoring our armed forces to pre-Gulf War I standards; however, President Trump made the mistake of retaining the admirals and generals promoted under Obama and Jarrett.
Moreover, he initially appointed secretaries of Defense, State, Service Secretaries, and Service Chiefs who did not consider him their commander-in-chief and were covertly and, toward the end, overtly insubordinate. All of them were part of the Deep States military-industrial complex. President Trump would be well-advised to recall the names of those who advised him to make those counterproductive nominations.
Now, the Biden* Pentagon is going all out to further degrade combat readiness in favor of, not just more Obama-Jarrett social justice experimentation, but to identify and weed out those officers or other ranks who might not embrace the Progressive-Democrat agenda.
In his classic study, The Soldier and the State, Harvard professor Samuel P. Huntington found the overwhelming majority of military officers do not concern themselves with partisan politics. They train for combat readiness and follow the orders of their Commander-in-Chief.
To turn our military into the operating arm of either political party is to court disaster. Moreover, it will undermine our militarys tradition of non-partisanship. Instead, we should be promoting George Orwells "rough men who stand ready to do violence on our behalf."
* Election disputed.
Suggested reading: The Soldier and the State by Samuel P. Huntington, 1957. Seize The Fire: Heroism, Duty, and Nelsons Battle of Trafalgar, by Adam Nicholson, 2005. Dr. Spocks Baby and Child Care, 1946. Formula for Failure in Vietnam: The Folly of Limited Warfare, 2019.
©2021. William Hamilton.