Streetwise Professor

March 20, 2023

The Termite Years: Ideologues Eating the American Military From the Inside

Filed under: Climate Change,Military,Politics — cpirrong @ 6:09 pm

Progressivism is destroying the United States military and putting the nation’s security at a grave risk.

I could probably write a book on the subject–a long book–but two examples provide chilling illustrations of the general thesis.

The first is the military’s obsession with climate change:

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro said he sees fighting climate change as a top priority for the Navy as the Biden administration proposes shrinking the fleet by two ships and worries grow about how the U.S. Navy stacks up to China’s.

“As the Secretary of the Navy, I can tell you that I have made climate one of my top priorities since the first day I came into office,” Del Toro said March 1 in remarks at the University of the Bahamas.

And this:

“We view the climate crisis much the same way as damage control efforts on a stricken ship. This is an all-hands-on-deck moment,” he added.

An all-hands-on-deck moment? Well, that’s exactly the problem. At the rate of decline in the ship count in the United States Navy, there won’t be any decks for the hands to stand on.

The Navy’s job is not to save the world environment, let alone save it from a highly speculative (and arguably chimerical) danger–as if it can do anything about it anyways. The Navy’s job is to secure control of the seas, and deny that control to its enemies. That requires ships and trained sailors and officers and logistical support and munitions.

All of those things have been eroding relentlessly in recent years, and the Biden administration wants to accelerate the decline:

This year, the Biden budget called for the decommissioning of 11 ships and the construction of just nine ships, for a net loss of two vessels. That budget proposal was met with skepticism from members of Congress, which has acted in the last two years to spare the Navy from cuts to the fleet proposed by the Biden administration.

All hands should be on deck to stop and reverse those troubling and extremely dangerous trends.

But no, we have a gasbag SecNav blathering about greenhouse gasses:

“There is not a trade-off between addressing climate security and our core mission of being the most capable and ready Navy-Marine Corps team,” he said. “The exact opposite is true. Embracing climate-focused technologies and adopting a climate-informed posture strengthens our capability to stand by our partners and allies.”

Del Toro said worrying about climate change would lead to new technologies that the Navy can use to create a “virtuous cycle of energy efficiency, cost savings, maritime dominance and climate security.”

This are merely unsupported assertions–and wildly implausible ones to boot. Just how does “embracing climate-focused technologies and adopting a climate-informed posture strengthens our capability to stand by our partners and allies”? Just how will “embracing climate-focused technologies and adopting a climate-informed posture” improve our ability to win a naval conflict against China in the western Pacific?

And anyone who says “there is not a trade-off” is either a liar or an idiot–or more likely both. There is always a trade-off. Every dollar spent on climate unicorns is a dollar that doesn’t go to a ship or a sailor or a missile.

The other example is DEI in the military, especially at the academies.

It’s bad–really bad–at all the academies. When I attended the Superintendent’s call at my USNA reunion a few years ago it was diversity this and diversity that. That was clearly the Supe’s overriding concern (other than bragging about managing COVID, especially the issue of disposing of all the extra trash from packaging of the meals that Mids were forced to eat in their rooms–Bravo Zulu, dude!).

Navy is bad, but I think Air Force is the worst. USAFA has embraced CRT and is all in on the trans agenda.

A diversity and inclusion training by the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado instructs cadets to use words that “include all genders” and to refrain from saying things like “mom” and “dad.”

The slide presentation titled, “Diversity & Inclusion: What it is, why we care, & what we can do,” advises cadets to use “person-centered” and gender-neutral language when describing individuals.

“Some families are headed by single parents, grandparents, foster parents, two moms, two dads, etc.: consider ‘parent or caregiver’ instead of ‘mom and dad,'” the presentation states. “Use words that include all genders​: ‘Folks’ or ‘Y’all’ instead of ‘guys’; ‘partner’ vs. ‘boyfriend or girlfriend.’”

When confronted about this, Superintendent LG Richard Clark executed a classic motte-and-bailey maneuver:

“The recent briefing on diversity and inclusion is being taken out of context and misrepresented; the slide in question was not intended to stand alone,” Clark said. “First and foremost, the briefing centered on respect for others and the warfighting imperative of leveraging diverse perspectives to solve our nation’s most difficult national security problems. Our strategic competitors are doing the opposite. Our American diversity is a strategic advantage and opens the door to creative solutions, providing a competitive edge in air, space, and cyberspace.”

“The slide on ‘inclusive language’ was intended to demonstrate how respect for others should be used to build inclusive teams, producing more effective warfighting units,” Clark continued. “Understanding a person’s context shows respect. Until you know a person’s situation, we should not make assumptions about them.”

Clark smoothly retreats from the bailey (don’t say “mom or dad”) to take refuge in the motte of vacuous blather that asserts rather than proves the warfighting utility of these endeavors: “The slide on ‘inclusive language’ was intended to demonstrate how respect for others should be used to build inclusive teams, producing more effective warfighting units.”

These assertions–del Toro’s and Clark’s–unsupported by any evidence are characteristic of justifications of these progressive policies. Clark is especially prone to asserting things like “diversity is a strategic advantage and opens the door to creative solutions” but alas he is not alone. And saying it doesn’t make it true.

If diversity–as used by Clark and others–is so effective at creating “strategic advantages,” why was the really, really “diverse” Austro-Hungarian army the worst (by far) among major combatants in WWI, rather than the best? Why was the decidedly and almost uniformly pallid United States Navy able to wage the most stupendous and victorious naval campaign in history 1942-1945?

Given the demographics of the United States, the military will inherently be “diverse,” and especially after the tumult of Vietnam, it worked assiduously to address that diversity in the proper way: to find ways to create a cohesive fighting force. But the crucial thing about this effort was that it was avowedly meritocratic in nature, and focused on reversing the non-meritocratic elements of an explicitly and then implicitly segregated military.

The progressive version of diversity is inimical to this. CRT–which the USAFA, the other academies, and other elements within the military have embraced to one degree or another–creates division, not cohesion, and therefore poisons military culture: it segregates rather than unites, and drawing invidious distinctions between people based on race, caste, or class undermines the effectiveness of military units at every level. It is avowedly anti-meritocratic, viewing any “disparities” as the result of some “systemic racism” that only the gnostics who practice it can see it.

In short, one could not think of a better way to undermine the effectiveness and lethality of a combat organization–except its lethality to itself. Cf. the Austro-Hungarian army mentioned above.

The fact is the del Toro and Clark and far too many in the civilian and uniformed hierarchy are unduly focused on progressive political agendas that not only fail to contribute to America’s war fighting capability, but are positively antithetical to it. If del Toro is so intent on going to battle stations, how about doing so to fix, say, the Navy’s utterly dysfunctional procurement process? Or the serious recruiting issues the service faces? Instead he establishes as a priority something that the Navy can’t do jack shit about–except, perhaps, by devastating the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. The capability to do so, alas, is eroding by the day.

The lapsing of the Soviet threat allowed the military and the civilians who control it to indulge their ideological fancies, and to use the military as a laboratory for social experimentation, in contravention of its real purpose. The post-Cold War reverie is clearly over. The military is insufficiently prepared for a return of peer competition, and the unmilitary priorities of the likes of del Toro and Clark will undermine the nation’s ability to restore the capabilities that have atrophied so dramatically over the past 30 years.

Churchill lamented the 1930s as the “locust years” when feckless politicians and military officials failed to recognize rising threats and consequently failed to prepare against Hitler’s Germany. Today the United States is experiencing something worse: termite years, where destructive ideologies are eating at the American military from the inside.

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  1. So, isn’t this saying the US has nothing to fight for (anymore)? Or, you can’t fight with military means what is going on in people’s heads? And is this any different from the waves of national socialism, communism, socialism that before had reached the nations the US military wanted to guard against? It’s maybe like a rats experiment (John B. Calhoun) we’re in…so Europe lost it’s culuture, Russia, India, China…did the US have any apart from the native Indian and from the one people brought who fled fascist Europe?

    Comment by Mikey — March 21, 2023 @ 1:05 am

  2. A kinder explanation would be that these commanders reckon they have to spout this nonsense to get their budgets approved by Congress.
    That would make them hypocrites not fools. Sadly I expect they are fools.

    Xi and Putin reckon the West is decadent and weak. They may wrong about the weakness but they are certainly not wrong about the decadence.

    I’ve noticed an analogy with the Calhoun experiment too. But transgenders as “the beautiful ones”? Ye gods!

    Comment by philip — March 21, 2023 @ 10:58 am

  3. It’s a wonder that some of the criminal gangs in Latin America don’t plot to conquer y’all. Maybe in due course they will. Teutoburger Wald.

    Comment by dearieme — March 21, 2023 @ 12:51 pm

  4. Teutoburger Wald? The standards have already been lost.

    Comment by philip — March 21, 2023 @ 2:37 pm

  5. All the current Navy ships need to be scrapped. They were designed and built when sea levels were lower, and every year as sea-level rises they’ll sit deeper in the water and go slower, and eventually they’ll be at risk of getting swamped. Smaller craft and submarines of course will be the first affected, and the periscopes on current US submarines barely clear the surface now. In a few years their periscopes will be utterly useless because they simply won’t reach it at all. The Navy is going to have to start from scratch and build an entirely new fleet that floats higher.

    Comment by George Turner — March 29, 2023 @ 3:28 pm

  6. Imagine China moves on Taiwan – expected – and Russia sees its chance to take back the Baltic states. Can you imagine this military doing anything about either? I can’t. The empire has already cracked – it’s just waiting for a good kick to see it tumble down. And in case you didn’t notice, the banking sector has already been nationalized. I’m old enough that I probably won’t see the catastrophe – good luck.

    Comment by jonfrum — March 29, 2023 @ 4:06 pm

  7. You and CDRSalamander seem to be reinforcing each other’s points.

    Comment by Ken Mitchell — March 29, 2023 @ 4:25 pm

  8. It’s damn near unreadable on the default view with the busy background.
    Select the printer friendly view button to make it more reader friendly.

    Comment by Clive — March 29, 2023 @ 9:12 pm

  9. Can America be brought back?

    Can the Titanic be brought back?

    It would probably be easier to bring back up the Titanic, fix it to pre-sinking condition and put it back to navigate again.

    When the Titanic sunk there were certainly people still alive inside. Not for long, though.

    The rotting remains of the late Constitutional Republic the United States of America (July 4th, 1776 – November 3rd, 2020) that ought to be called “AINO-Venezuerica” still contain humans alive. Not free. But alive. But we are already under the filthy waters of leftoxenomorph tyranny and going down. There are still compartments that contain some freedom and are livable. Not for long, though.

    What are our chances?

    Comment by FRONT_TOWARD_ENEMY — March 29, 2023 @ 9:34 pm

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