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OPINION

Veterans Day and the Midterm Elections

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Anja Niedringhaus

When Washington politicians decided to change the dates of holidays to give federal government employees predictable three-day weekends through the 1968 Uniform Monday Holiday Act—which moved the dates of celebration of Presidents Day (formerly Washington’s Birthday), Memorial Day, Labor Day and Columbus Day—they met such opposition from Veterans about changing the date of their holiday, Veterans Day, that they gave up. Apparently, the politicians had forgotten that Veterans Day was first known as Armistice Day, and was celebrated on November 11th because that was the day agreed upon by the Allied nations and Germany to begin a total cessation of hostilities in World War I. In fact, the guns and artillery went silent on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, after some 20 million people from both sides had given their lives in the war effort. 

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Veterans Day would not be diminished as another commercially oriented “floating” holiday but remain a sacred and fixed day tied to history and to celebrate valor and sacrifice embodied in veterans of foreign wars. 

While Veterans remain one of the most patriotic groups in America, there is great concern—even alarm—that the politization of America’s armed forces that started in the Obama years, has now again accelerated, and metastasized into nothing short of betrayal of the military by the powers behind the Biden administration. 

President Joe Biden is directly responsible for the worst, most humiliating and damaging defeat in the history of American warfare—the shocking and disgraceful U.S. departure from Afghanistan starting on August 15, 2021. The botched U.S. retreat resulted in the death of thirteen Marines, with more injured, and it left behind to enemy hands several hundred Americans and some $80 billion of military hardware (much of it state of the art) that included Black Hawk helicopters, thousands of Humvees and armored vehicles, and countless numbers of assault rifles—enough to arm dozens of terrorist groups all over the world, whose primary target is the U.S and its allies. Because these results were completely avoidable, many see Biden’s decisions that brought about this disaster calculated and deliberate—as if to help our enemies. 

The immediate effect caused longstanding allies to distrust the United States and it emboldened our enemies. Indeed, within a few months of the America’s abandonment of Afghanistan Communist China completed its takeover of Hong Kong, while Vladimir Putin accelerated his military buildup for the invasion of Ukraine. 

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The Trump administration’s accomplishment of bringing new prospects for stability and peace to the Middle East through the Abraham Accords has been completely undone by the Biden administration’s renewal of the suicidal nuclear deal with Iran that had originated with Barack Obama. Saudi Arabia, which looked to the U.S. for military security, was close to joining the Abraham Accords in the last year of the Trump administration. But that was completely undercut when Biden took power and undertook restarting the nuclear deal with Iran. Additionally, Biden’s actions have now caused Saudi Arabia to look to Russia for military protection. 

In fact, the road to humiliation in Afghanistan was paved by the Obama administration which advocated “leading from behind” and adopted policies of defeatism on the battlefield and in its institutions. For starters, Obama took the unprecedented action of firing 197 patriotic officers over five years bridging his two terms. This was followed by Obama’s memorandum, “Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in the National Security Workforce,” which required America’s military leaders to fulfill racial quotas and impose explicit bias training. And this agenda was pursued at the very time that the Taliban were capturing control of large parts of Afghanistan and ISIS was overrunning Iraq. Retired U.S. Army Major General Paul Vallely candidly assessed Obama’s policies as “intentionally weakening and gutting our military, Pentagon, and reducing us as a superpower, and anyone in the ranks who disagrees or speaks out is being purged.”

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While the U.S. military made some recovery during the Trump years, Biden, once installed, picked up where Obama left off. Instead of focusing on the military’s primary mission of training to win wars, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Joint Chief Mark Milley fully embraced the pushing of new and rebranded versions of Critical Race Theory (CRT) training on all branches of the military, saying that that they wanted to eliminate the threat of “racists” and “extremists within the U.S. military.” Many recognized this as code for the Biden-Austin-Milley goal of weeding out the patriotic from the military.

CRT is Marxist theoretical construct of indoctrination based on the premise that there are two classes of people—the oppressor majority that are most often white, and the oppressed minority that are most often black. With this supposition making all white people racist, CRT’s antiracist prescription is—fundamentally—to reverse these alleged racial attitudes and redirect them invidiously against the white supremacists. This of course creates new division, confusion and resentment, and no solutions, except to help project the view that America is a systemically racist country—an outcome desired by America’s enemies. 

Given that the Annual Review of Sociology has reported that “Sociologists now often say that the US military is a model of good race relations,” and given that any objective observer sees that racial barriers diminish through rigors of basic training and subsequent mission-oriented team building—which is the basic course in every branch—one might be dumbfounded about the reason for  imposing CRT on the Military. 

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One plausible explanation for this absurd and demoralizing development in the US military is that it is an extension of the elite capture of Joe Biden and the top brass in his administration by the CCP, who had some influence on cabinet appointments. Elite capture is more optimal and effective in the military than other bureaucracies because commanders of unified and specified commands now respond to the president and the secretary of defense through the joint chief of staff. When CRT is embraced at the top it must be embraced down the chain of command. And that is what happened in the first months of the Biden administration. 

In the Spring of 2021, the Department of Navy announced it was implementing CRT throughout the naval fleet. The Air Force also embraced CRT, with Air Force Academy Professor Lynne Chandler Garcia accusing George Washington of being a racist and acknowledging that she agreed with Joint Chief General Mark Milley who recently announced CRT “is not unpatriotic.”   Even Marine Corps Commandant General David H. Berger told the House Appropriations Committee on Defense that he was intent on identifying and holding accountable any Marine who was “…misogynistic, racist, and homophobic/transphobic,” going on to say, “We have and will continue to actively work to identify [and screen] recruits and Marines  who hold extremist views…” 

This of course begs the all-important questions:    How can anyone justify weakening the war-fighting capability of the U.S. military in a world of rising military threats, primarily from China, but also Russia, Iran, and North Korea? How and why should the American people tolerate military leadership that has impaired the security of the United States by contributing to the demoralization of the rank and file--sapping their conviction to fight and win? How can anyone not see that CRT is a wrecking ball that will destroy the military?  People cannot fight for a country in which they no longer believe.

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And this leads us to today’s stark reality that the infiltration of these CRT narratives has made the military career choice less appealing than at any prior time, except the period in the immediate aftermath of the Vietnam War. Every branch of the military is struggling to make their 2022 recruiting goals. In fact, as the fiscal year was ending on September 30, 2022, the Army had a 45% recruiting shortfall, despite lowering standards and increasing signing bonuses to $50,000—the highest ever. 

Military enlistees and veterans have traditionally been one of the most patriotic groups. And with 11% of the electorate being made up of military enlistees, veterans, and retirees, let’s hope that this mid-term election will deliver results that not only shutdown CRT, but also lead to impeachments and court martials, and prompt a patriotic cultural renaissance within our Armed Services. It cannot come too soon.

Scott Powell is senior fellow at Discovery Institute. His latest acclaimed book, Rediscovering America, has been a #1 new release in history for eight straight weeks at Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/dp/1637581599). Reach him at scottp@discovery.org


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