Is Our Military Woke, Broke or Both?

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

The fall of Kabul is not the end, as Joe Biden seems to think, of the Afghanistan nightmare. 

It is the beginning of a never-ending bad dream. Biden and the Pentagon have managed to birth a new terrorist haven, destroy much of U.S. strategic deterrence, and alienate our allies and much of the country.

In the hours after the horrific deaths of 13 servicemen, we have been reassured by our military that our partnership with the Taliban to provide security for our flights was wise. We were told that the terrorist victors share similar goals to ours in a hasty American retreat from Kabul. We were reminded that Afghan refugees (unlike U.S. soldiers) will not be forced to be vaccinated on arrival. Such statements are either untrue or absurd.

On the very day of the killing of Americans, the command sergeant major of the U.S. Army callously reminded us in a tweet that diversity is our strength in commemorating not the dead, but Women’s Equality Day. 

If so, then is the opposite of diversity—unity—our weakness? Will such wokeness ensure that we do not abandon the Bagram airbase in the middle of the night without opposition?

Recently the Office of Naval Intelligence, in reaction to the Kabul news, warned all its active duty and retired service members that they must not criticize their Commander-in-Chief Joe Biden. The office correctly cited prohibitions found in the Uniform Code of Military Justice barring any disrespect shown to senior government leadership. 

That is true. And indeed, the U.S. Marine Corps just relieved from active duty a lieutenant colonel who posted a video accurately blaming the military and civilian leadership for the Afghanistan nightmare.

But until January 20, retired top brass had constantly smeared their elected commander-in-chief with impunity.

Recently retired General Michael Hayden retweeted a horrific slur that unvaccinated Trump supporters should be put on planes back to Afghanistan where they presumably would be left to die. Hayden earlier had compared Trump’s border facilities to the German death camps. 

Other generals and admirals in 2020 variously called their president an emulator of Nazi tactics, a veritable Mussolini, a liar, and deserving to be removed from office sooner than later. None of these retired politicized four-stars faced the sort of repercussions that the Office of Naval Intelligence just warned about.

Fifty retired intelligence officials on the eve of the November balloting signed a letter preposterously suggesting that Hunter Biden’s missing laptop—his third to be lost—and its incriminating contents might be “Russian disinformation.” They used their stature and positions for political purposes to convince the American people that a true story was a lie. 

Recently retired General Joseph Dunford and Admiral Mike Mullen have blasted retired top brass who had questioned Biden’s cognitive ability.

Again, OK. But they should have issued that warning earlier when the violations of fellow retired officers were even more egregious in the election year 2020. 

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley apologized for doing a photo-op with President Trump, erroneously buying into the lie that Trump had ordered rioters cleared from Lafayette Square for the staged picture. 

Yet the politicized Milley never offered a correction of his first apology. Worse, Milley leaked to toady journalists that he was so angry with Trump that he “considered” resigning. 

Think of that irony. If Milley considered a politicized resignation to rebuke Trump over the false charge, then surely he could now consider a real resignation after overseeing the worst military disaster of the last half-century in Kabul. 

A busy Milley had promised to root out white supremacy from the ranks while recommending that his soldiers read Ibram X. Kendi’s racialist diatribes. 

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin likewise vowed an internal audit of military personnel to chase the phantoms of white supremacy. Does Austin also profile his targets by their being “overrepresented” in terms of the dead in Afghanistan and Iraq?

Something is terribly wrong in the ranks of America’s top commanders that reflects something wrong with the country. 

The Pentagon needs to stop virtue signaling about diversity days, culturally sensitive food for Afghan refugees, and rooting out supposed white conspiracists. 

Instead, can it just explain why the Bagram Air Base was abandoned by night? Why suddenly are the terrorist Taliban our supposed “partners” in organizing our surrender and escape?

Which general allowed over $85 billion in American weapons to fall to the Taliban—a sum equal to the price of seven new U.S. aircraft carriers? 

Who turned over to the Taliban the lists of Americans and allied Afghans to be evacuated?

Who left behind 7,000 biometric scanners that the Taliban are now using to hunt down our former Afghan friends?

Somehow our new woke Pentagon is hell-bent on losing the trust of the American people—along with the wars it fights abroad.

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12 thoughts on “Is Our Military Woke, Broke or Both?”

  1. Tocqueville dedicated significant sections of the second part of Democracy in America to the particular problems presented by professional militaries in democratic societies. These chapters are worth reviewing as they are prophetic regarding the tendency of the career soliders, i.e., those who see the higher ranks as opportunities for personal advancement, to embroil democratic nations in quagmires. Add the new religion of wokeness to the mix and you have something quite debilitating.

  2. Professor Hanson you are the best farmer patriot ever!
    Chapter 7 in Mark Levin’s book says basically “ shut up and pick up a shovel “
    I took his advice and begin working as a researcher for in the state of Connecticut. No one in ct need waste time running until this is fixed . The voter roles are used to cheap , when necessary . If you are a Maga candidate you will lose , if you are a quiet Rhino you might win , if you are a pencil pushing dem you will definitely win .
    Great organization

  3. Appreciate your input. What I see on the right might be described as an over-reliance on things such as institutions and leaders – maybe we projected onto Trump some kind of messianic deliverance. And the institutions we thought would at least be reasonable have turned out otherwise. I don’t think voting will save us.
    The left has a more comprehensive approach to political dominance, with how they’ve controlled a lot of things but the good news there is most of them are optional, we don’t really need them.
    For instance, listening to a VDH podcast is way more entertaining and informative than a cable news show or pro sports match.
    Moreover, we’re not completely run aground. Think about the almost two-year-long “ammo shortage” – meaning “cheap ammo shortage.” Many factors played into it surely, but the most dominant one was probably sheer consumer demand. Ditto for the COVID toilet paper shortage.
    Are you seeing a pattern? We could disrupt local, regional, and even national economies without firing a shot.
    The point is we need more tools than voting, political donations, or entertaining political discourse. We need to be able to inflict pain, or at the very least, inconvenience.

  4. When I served, if you lost your M-16 due to ineptitude or gross indifference, not just thievery, you’d do 10 years at Ft Leavenworth. What about the (est) $80B cafeteria Joe and his generals just abandoned (to the delight of Jihadists everywhere, regardless of affiliation). Perhaps another medal proclaiming another glorious humiliation. I am a USA Ret, having served in Infantry (1971-74) and Intel (Russian) 1983-97. Interdum paratus has replaced Semper Paratus, with this latest version of the “gang that couldn’t shoot straight”, with the accent on DUM.

  5. So much truth in this article. As a former Marine it is enough to make you want to take very serious action besides the ballot box.

  6. Dr. Hanson: after judiciously reading and listening to your material during the Biden presidency, I would like to offer my take on the “Biden Doctrine.” It is a five-step process that applies to everything he has done so far.

    1. Ruin every single thing you touch.
    2. Lie about it boldly and relentlessly.
    3. Blame everyone else.
    4. Take credit for the “great success.”
    5. Rinse and repeat.

    The beauty of this doctrine is that, with the traditional media, and social media’s help, it can literally be used in every situation! The saddest thing of all is, I think this guy’s just getting warmed up.

  7. Amen Victor.
    As a retired E-9 I visit with the troops occasionally and I notice one other peculiarity…the sense of humor that characterizes good morale isn’t seen or heard much lately.

  8. Disorder, disgrace and chaos is surrounding America. Roping and hog tying liberty, and setting a blaze peaceful possession and property rights. Tech oligarchs and the corporate government alliance have enacted a propaganda machine bellowing critical race theory, Frankenstein science and woke- ness through the air. Our borders have been breached with the perpetrators hoping to end the two party system once and for all. We even flew in a Trojan horse that had its own military escort to boot. Our Republic is burning before our eyes and I don’t even see a bucket let alone a hose to put the fire out.

  9. Victor, in comparing the situation that exists in the US at present with that in France in the Fall, Winter and Spring of 1939-1940, I am struck by the absence of anyone with Maurice Gamelin’s foresight and courage in our senior leadership. The Nazi’s were aided by the Belgian determination to hang on to “neutrality” as though being declared “neutral” was worth five divisions and a month of battle. This doomed Gamelin’s efforts, but Gamelin did what he could to try and reverse this psychotic view of European politics by the Belgians. Not to say that Chamberlain was of any use either, he was equally delusional. My fear this that our “leadership” is so hopelessly inept that they are incapable of understanding that most other world leaders do not share their myopic views on diversity, equality, and inclusion. The only voices of reason and experience that can be heard today have been ostracized with little hope that their views will ever be allowed in the “safe space” that is our federal bureaucracy. This severance with reality will only magnify the cumulative affect of the violence that the progressives have unleashed on our inner cities. Who will “trust” government to do anything?

  10. I echo many of the comments here, but I want to add something; what is happening is not a mistake. The American Left always hated the USA as a nation, so what better way to subvert it than from within. Everything that has been done, with high level approval, will perhaps forever diminish us as a world power. Harmless as an enemy, feckless as an friend. The military has been forever neutered as a force that could threaten leftist control. On the contrary, look for them to be turned into Internal Security Troops, just in time to deal with the chaos (that they themselves caused) from “defund the police” and covid crisis civil unrest.

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