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OPINION

The Pentagon’s Latest Leadership Failure

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Denis Poroy

Let’s sum up the state of America’s military brass with one appalling comparison between how the admirals, generals, and civilian leaders chose to treat two different service members. One is a young naval officer, Lieutenant Ridge Alkonis, a family man who fell unconscious due to a medical condition while driving and accidentally killed two people in a tragic crash and was railroaded into a Japanese prison for three years. The other one is a creepy pervert who was an Army full colonel who put on puppy sex gear – yeah, that’s a thing – over his uniform in social media pics, and who maintained a litter of similarly bizarre subordinate soldiers/degenerate weirdos. 

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Now, which one of these do you think our current military leadership is still paying?

You get a medal if you guessed Colonel Kink. Or a Milkbone, as the case may be.

Yes, the young Navy lieutenant caught up in this outrageous injustice is not only going to miss out on three years of his little kids’ lives because the United States government was unable to convince the nation that our blood and treasure lets remain free to indulge in Pokémon, Godzilla movies, and anime tentacle porn, to have some compassion over this awful accident. No, our military leadership has decided to cut off his pay, leaving his family not only bereft of their father but in absolute poverty. They had to start a GoFundMe. Yet COL Rin Tin Sin is still cashing his check.

What a pathetic disgrace. 

What a damn embarrassment.

What the hell are you people thinking?

You aren’t.

If you were thinking, we might have unequivocally won a major war in the last 30 years.

If you were thinking, you might not have to be scraping the bottom of the barrel for personnel by allowing in Category 4s, the class of recruit the drill sergeants need to remind to breathe.

If you were thinking, this disgusting backstab would never have happened.

And the consequences of this and similar misjudgments that tell our troops that they don’t matter are manifesting more and more in more and more screw-ups. Our military is a mess and getting worse. Do not fall for the brass’s sunny-day hype and hack clichés about how we are still “The Greatest Military Ever Was.” It’s crap, and they know it’s crap – or worse, they don’t know it.

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It’s almost impossible to explain to a civilian just how horrible this betrayal is, how corrosive this kind of REMF policy is. The military is based on trust, trust of the leaders that their troops will follow their commands, and trust of the subordinates that their leaders will support them. This stunning decision undermines that essential dynamic. It is a disgraceful sell-out of an American warrior caught in a situation beyond his control. It’s bad enough that the US government was so impotent that it couldn’t turn to Japan and say “Let this guy out!” and have Japan say “Roger, here he is and we’ve also shined his shoes.” This is not some scumbag who raped a local – let that scuzz enjoy the fun that is Japan’s penal system. This is a guy caught up in a situation outside his control and our military is announcing “Hey troops if you need us to help, forget it. We’re screwing you and your family. So, how about re-upping for another hitch? Hello? Hey, where are you going?”

They not only let our guy be shafted but doubled down on their ineptitude by cutting off his family. It’s mind-boggling. You look at that choice and it’s crystal clear. You take care of your guy. But not this Administration. Not this Pentagon. Not these generals and admirals.

Too bad LT Alkonis isn’t Brittany Griner, an America-hating celebrity pronoun person whose great-grandfather came from an approved continent – something that should have been irrelevant but that Biden’s spokeshack made sure we knew was important. They left the Marines behind in the deal that sprung an international arms dealer. What a shock. The Pentagon’s priorities are clear to our troops, and they are not one of them.

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Message to the Troops: You don’t matter. Trust us and you put not only yourself but your family at risk.

And the troops are receiving that transmission, Lima Charlie.

Right now, the military is unable to fill its ranks because it has completely alienated the traditional Americans who used to fill those ranks and were the backbone of the military. Why the hell would anyone join today’s military? To be taught that you are evil because of your skin color? To be told your traditional values are insurrectionist? To suffer prejudice in promotions, assignments, and everything else if you don’t check the right boxes? To serve under a commander who is living his adult-only version of “Pound Puppies?” 

Our troops see that when they need the leadership behind them, it will be there to stick the knife in. And right now, military veterans are refusing to recommend that young people join. I will not recommend enlisting. None of my retired colleagues will. Why should we? The Pentagon can’t win a war, is obsessed with college faculty lounge woke nonsense, and tops it all off by letting troops in trouble twist in the wind. That’s a tragedy because we loved serving, but this situation has been brought on entirely by a military leadership that pulls this kind of bonehead maneuver.

Somewhere in the bowels of the Pentagon, somebody made this decision and no leader in the chain had the stones to say “Wait a minute, what the hell is this?” I get delegating responsibility. I get supporting subordinate leaders. I was a junior officer about the same time most of the current crop of flag officers was, so we learned the same things in the same places, only I didn’t forget. You back your subordinate leaders until you see them screwing the troops, and then you step in. There’s no deference for decisions like that. You have the stars. Act like it.

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Let me tell you how it would’ve gone with Secretary of Defense Kurt Schlichter. One of my myriad minions would have seen this, known to come to my palatial office, and said, “Sir, we got a problem. Some dipsmack down the chain denied this guy his pay and benefits.” And then that dipsmack would have gotten a call along the lines of “SecDef says you are going to have the order reinstating his pay and your letter apologizing to the family for this misunderstanding on his desk by the time he gets back from the coffee bar with his latte or you’ll be handing out volleyballs at the Ft. Polk rec center before sundown.” And it would have been fixed. And the message would have gone out – don’t do stupid things that screw our troops.

The betrayal of LT Alkonis and his family is not just one mistake. This is yet another in an endless series of bad calls that are killing what was once, when I was serving back in the day, the greatest fighting force on Earth. From ships catching fire to ships running into each other, to having to recruit from the paste-eating set to perverts in camo, and to getting run out of Afghanistan on a rail with 13 troops killed because of gross incompetence at the top, our military is in trouble. We are going to lose the next war, badly. Ask the troops – they know. And this is a symptom. But it can be fixed in a second – and whether it is or is not is a test.

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