James Hasson, a former captain in the U.S Army, is a graduate of Notre Dame, the University of Virginia School of Law and the Army Ranger School. A decorated veteran of the war in Afghanistan, he is proud of his service and believes it’s his duty to speak out against the ongoing campaign, gaining momentum during the eight years of the Obama administration, to remake our military according to the most radical — and often the most absurd — dictates of political correctness.
The Obama administration, he writes, “was packed with far-left ideologues who neither understood nor cared to understand the military now under their control. In their minds, it was a blunt-force tool for driving broader change within society as a whole.”
As Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s senior adviser with unlimited access, put it, “Our military has the power to lead the way … driving change not only within the armed forces, but within American society as a whole. … So we are meeting frequently with the Pentagon’s senior civilian and military leaders to generate bold initiatives that will make a real difference.”
And that, she might have added, despite the nearly unanimous objections of senior military leaders to those “bold initiatives.” But those senior military leaders serve at the pleasure of the president, and Ms. Jarrett had little time for them. As Mr. Hasson reports, at a reception she mistook the uniformed Army vice chief of staff, Gen. Peter Chiarelli, for a waiter, tapping him on the shoulder and asking him to get her glass of wine.
“Indeed, Jarrett generally viewed men and women in uniform as personal staff.” Nor did her boss have a more informed view. His “preconceived notions about the military were similar to what one might hear at an anti-war conference in Berkeley.” During his first presidential campaign, Mr. Obama told his supporters that the military needed to have enough resources because otherwise it would just be “‘air-raiding villages and killing civilians.’”
Unsurprisingly, the new commander in chief, deeply infected with that old new-left gene, appointed similar ideologically infected “and equally inexperienced politicos to oversee the military.”
And the results, writes Mr. Hasson, with evidence drawn from government documents and in-depth interviews, show that those “social justice warriors” and, despite the election, their successors in the bureaucracy, have continued to pursue a radical social agenda, threatening to undermine the effectiveness of our military, which should have just one primary objective — to keep our country safe by fighting wars and winning them. All other activities should be designed to support that objective.
Mr. Hasson quotes from a speech given by Gen. Douglas MacArthur in 1962 to the Corps of Cadets at West Point: “‘[T]hrough] all this welter of change and development, your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable. It is to win our wars. Everything else in your professional career is but corollary to this vital dedication.’”
That was the message pounded into our heads during Marine Corps basic training at Parris Island by our drill instructors, hard combat-tested men. It’s almost impossible to imagine how those men would react to having their platoons turned into kinky social labs, with men and women and strange others all sharing heads and beds and showers — and eventually, perhaps, foxholes.
Or what they would think of this vignette Mr. Hasson offers in a chapter titled “The Transgender Mandate,” taken from an Army training presentation “teaching commanding officers how to deal with ‘male pregnancy?’”
“‘A soldier has completed Army gender transition from female to male. The soldier did not have sex reassignment surgery and recently stopped taking male hormones in order to start a family. Today, the soldier approached his commanding officer to discuss his newly-confirmed pregnancy.’”
It’s not difficult to predict how those drill instructors, and all our nation’s veterans, both men and women, would react, and how those serving today, as Mr. Hasson shows us, are reacting. It’s well past time for this administration to command the social justice warriors to stand down. Great damage has already been done to morale and the good order of military training, and if continued will inevitably affect combat readiness and ultimately, national defense.
As Mr. Hasson puts it, “Our nation’s military should not be a plaything of progressive ideologues, or of politically-motivated activists of any type for that matter, but an imposing and finely honed armed force for winning our nation’s wars.”
• John R. Coyne Jr., a former White House speechwriter, is co-author of “Strictly Right: William F. Buckley Jr. and the American Conservative Movement” (Wiley).
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STAND DOWN: HOW SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIORS ARE SABOTAGING AMERICA’S MILITARY
By James Hasson
Regnery Gateway, $28.99, 226 pages