- - Sunday, March 14, 2021

Last week, Tucker Carlson noted on his eponymous show that the U.S. military seemed to be excessively concerned with retention of the women in military, right down to the creation of a maternity flight suit. He counterposed that to China, whose Dear Leader recently emphasized the necessity of having masculine males to better serve the Middle Kingdom.

In response, the next day the military rolled out a batch of senior leaders to carpet bomb Mr. Carlson.

That was remarkable for a couple of reasons.

First, it is the only time in recent memory that the Pentagon decided to engage in political back and forth with a television show host. The overkill suggests a band of warriors that may be compensating about the extent to which the military is accommodating those who identify as women.

Second, it opens up a larger question. Why should anyone trust the officer corps and the careerists of the U.S. military, especially when they are reduced to political grandstanding?

The simple fact is that the United States has not won a shooting war in more than 75 years. No one in charge of the Pentagon right now has ever won a war; why should we rely on them when they assure us that the force they have constructed is capable of prevailing in any conflict?

To be sure, a great deal of the military’s inability to win a war can be laid at the feet of incompetent and indifferent civilian leadership. But it is also a result of the officer corps’ willingness to look the other way as we have wandered into conflicts that we had no intention of winning.

For many officers, wars result in career advancement. As a practical matter, that means that officers have built-in conflicts of interest.

Even now, after 20 years of war, the officer corps steadfastly resists efforts to reduce our pointless and maybe even damaging military presence in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East. Generals are always fighting the last war. That doesn’t mean the rest of us should.

We take a back seat to no one in our admiration for the fighting spirit and bravery of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and guardians. But it is a disservice to them and to all of us to pretend that the Department of Defense has done its job well over the last 75 years. It is a disservice to them to imagine that the armed forces haven’t become compromised by politics.

The fearless assault on an American television show host shows that DoD can still attack when provoked. We’re happy to see that. We’d be happier to see them focus on winning wars with our actual adversaries.

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