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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is going to war against “extremism.”
On Wednesday, Austin decreed that over the next sixty days, the entire U.S. Armed forces must go through a stand-down period in order to address the supposed shadow army of fascists and racists who fill its ranks.
In the military, “stand down” orders are commands to every unit in the armed forces to temporarily suspend normal operations and hold assemblies in order to address and discuss a specific issue. In 2013, for instance, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered stand-downs across the globe in order to address sexual assault within the military.
What can we expect this time around? A relevant comparison is the time Starbucks closed all its stores for one day to hold propaganda workshops on racism. Because make no mistake: Propaganda is exactly what will come out of this. The reporting by the press is precisely backwards. Austin is not “removing” extremism from the military’s ranks. He is imposing it.
As Revolver recently explained, the U.S. military has changed dramatically in the past few years, and most of the biggest shifts involve the DOD imposing left-wing ideology on the military. Promotion up the ranks now requires hitting racial diversity quotas. The new military welcomes with open arms mentally unwell transgender troops, and fast-tracks women into demanding combat roles.
Doubtless many soldiers see all this unfolding and are baffled, horrified, or angry. Some may channel those opinions into politics, which is their right as Americans. They are all still perfectly loyal to the United States, but that won’t be enough for the new administration. During his confirmation hearings, Austin vowed to purge “racists and extremists” from the military.
What might that look like? An exclusive report from Breitbart on Thursday described how special forces were threatened with consequences for embracing “extremist” symbols like…Pepe the Frog:
Henry “told us that if anyone gets caught wearing, buying, selling, affiliated with in any way, any of those things on those list, that the first thing he’s going to do is chapter us out of the Army. The second thing is, he’s going to handle the investigation by sending it over to the DHS,” the source said. “He didn’t quite outright say that we would be arrested, he used the word ‘detained.’”
Some of the imagery on the slides clearly refer to hate symbols, such as a swastika or other Nazi-related symbols. However, also included is “Pepe the Frog” — an internet meme frequently posted by members of the political right to troll the political left. [Breitbart]
The same article reveals that military leadership also warned soldiers against the “OK” sign, based on the hysterical liberal belief it is a “white nationalist” symbol.
This isn’t a crusade against “extremism.” It’s a witch hunt for the slightest sign of public dissent from the radical ideological experiment the left is running on the military and the entire country. Defense press secretary John Kirby was inadvertently revealing whenhe recently remarked that “There may be cultural issues we have to deal with here.”
That is exactly what is going on. There is a proud conservative, nationalist, and traditional culture that has been a part of the U.S. military for its entire history. And that culture represents a threat to the ideological project that is the military of 2021, so it must be marginalized and then stamped out. The impact this will have on military effectiveness is irrelevant; actually winning wars barely matters to the military of 2021.
There is a frightening precedent for all of this: The darkest days of Mao’s China.
After the Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War, Marshal Peng Dehuai was the country’s first defense minister. Although a committed Communist, Peng was also a professional soldier committed to building a strong People’s Liberation Army. Peng introduced a proper rank system, promoted skilled commanders rather than Communist political apparatchiks, emphasized discipline and proper training, and opposed the growing personality cult centered on Mao Zedong.
But Peng’s professionalism and independence were his downfall. In 1959, Peng was politically isolated and then removed by Mao, who replaced him with the more firmly loyal Lin Biao. Where Peng was committed to the PLA’s professionalism, Lin was the exact opposite. He undid many of Peng’s useful reforms, solely for political reasons. Rank was abolished as a capitalist artifact. Commanders seen as too friendly to the USSR or insufficiently loyal to Mao were purged. Instead of focusing on military matters, about forty percent of a soldier’s time was spent on political matters, being indoctrinated in the arcana of Maoism. Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, the infamous Little Red Book that became the world’s best-selling non-religious book, began as a text Lin issued for PLA personnel. Eventually, the PLA’s indoctrination efforts led to it being labeled the “great school of Mao Zedong Thought,” and its methods were promoted within the civilian bureaucracy and wider Chinese society.
A 1964 recruitment guide illustrated how decisively politics governed Lin’s management of the army:
The selection of grass-roots cadres must guarantee that those born to the families of workers, poor peasants and lower-middle peasants form the majority. It should be guaranteed that about 90 per cent of soldiers selected for promotion to cadres [who] are to be sent to schools come from these three categories of families. No one from the exploiting classes may be selected. In two or three years, those from these three categories of families should make up more than 80 per cent of all grass-roots cadres. When enrolling young students from society to train (as cadres), no one from the exploiting classes can be admitted. When accepting graduates from the civilian universities and colleges, about 90 per cent must come from the laboring classes. Those top secret units are not allowed to accept a single individual from the exploiting classes. [Kondapalli 1999]
Swap out “laboring classes” and “exploiting classes” for the modern left’s obsessive racial divisions, and Lin’s policies bear remarkable resemblance to the new racial quotas that permeate the armed forces.
None of this made the PLA a better force for defending China or defeating its enemies. What it did do is make the army more cohesive as a tool for suppressing internal political enemies, which it has done more than once.
The U.S. government already exhibits a disturbing proclivity for the same methods Lin relied on. When the National Guard was deployed in Washington, D.C. prior to Biden’s inauguration, the FBI helped vet 25,000 soldiers for alleged “extremism” (eventually, at least 12 soldiers were dismissed for unspecified reasons), while a Democratic Congressman went on TV to warn that any Trump voters in the Guard’s ranks were suspect:
.@RepCohen on his concerns w/ the National Guard securing the Inauguration: “The [National] Guard is 90 some-odd percent male; and only about 20 percent of white males voted for Biden … there are probably not more than 25% of the people there protecting us that voted for Biden” pic.twitter.com/ofQfLuCw8I
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 18, 2021
The U.S. military is being politicized more every day, and with the Democratic Party holding total control of the levers of power, any vestigial conservatism will be stamped out, in the same way rogue conservatives are already targeted for harassment and humiliation in academia and business.
Of course, what is happening with the military is also happening through the entire United States government. Since public institutions can’t go out of business and never have to worry about turning a profit or sustaining a loss, they can behave in an unfathomably ridiculous and self-destructive manners without consequence. When an organization can exist forever thanks to politics rather than for achieving any kind of measurable success, then politics is all it has to worry about.
There is one small reason for optimism, though, pointed out on Twitter by Richard Hanania:
Exciting stuff. Hopefully discredit the military in the eyes of the demographic that tends to join. Best hope of American withdrawal from the world. https://t.co/OiXxvU5A9X
— Richard Hanania (@RichardHanania) February 4, 2021
Hanania is right. If the U.S. military can be thoroughly humiliated and discredited, then it may at least stop tricking brave, patriotic Americans from throwing their lives away on never-ending wars on the other side of Earth, on behalf of a regime that has declared them and their families “domestic terrorists” for supporting free speech, free markets, and free elections. As heartbreaking as it is to see a full consolidation of the U.S. military under the direction of the Globalist American Empire, it could just be a blessing in disguise. Every tragedy is an opportunity for those sharp enough to see it and strong enough to seize it.