From Superpower to Paper Tiger: Part One - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
From Superpower to Paper Tiger: Part One

Former President Donald Trump is being mocked for suggesting last week that we’d lose a war with Russia. Trump, with great regularity, uses words rather carelessly. But in this case, he’s probably right. With apologies to John Kennedy Toole, President Joe Biden and the confederacy of dunces who are his top advisers have now exceeded the achievements of Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama in destroying the ability of our forces to win the next war.

In 2008, while he was serving as defense secretary to George W. Bush, Robert Gates said, “I have noticed a tendency toward what might be called ‘next-war-it is’ — the propensity of much of the defense establishment to be in favor of what might be needed in a future conflict.” When I asked a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff what he thought about Gates’s remark, he told me that he wondered what the hell Gates was thinking.

In combat — in the air, at sea, or on the ground — you have to depend on the person fighting alongside you. If you are indoctrinated to believe that person is inferior to you, how can you rely on them in combat?

Biden and his minions are implementing Gates’s logic, if you can call it that, in the extreme by ensuring that we cannot be prepared for the next fight. There should be criminal penalties for what they are doing to the force.

This column will discuss the personnel problems our military is suffering because Biden and the woke “leadership” he has imposed on the Pentagon are preventing readiness and unity among the forces. In another column, perhaps next week, I’ll discuss the other half of the problem, which is a reduction in the size and strength of the weapon systems we need to win a war with China or Russia.

As I wrote last week, Biden’s inflation — caused by reckless overspending to the tune of trillions of dollars — is a tax on those who can least afford it. Some of those people are in the lower ranks of the military.

The Army is suffering an inability to get enough people to enlist to meet its needs. So are the Air Force and the Navy. The Army issued guidance on Sept. 13 urging soldiers to apply for benefits under the food stamp welfare program, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

People should take pride in their military service. That is destroyed by telling the troops that they should sign up for welfare in order to be able to afford to serve.

According to the Army’s website, a private (E-1) with less than two years’ service earns a salary of $21,999.60 each year. A junior sergeant earns $31,323.60. Both salaries are barely above the poverty level. Yes, they get free medical care and can shop at the commissary stores where, because of government subsidies, they pay less than people living on the economy. Some get signing bonuses. But as the Army recognized by the guidance it issued, these people — especially those who are trying to support a family — are suffering because of Biden’s inflation.

What the Army and the other services should have done was to urge Biden to get a supplemental appropriations bill through Congress so that military pay would automatically rise in direct proportion to inflation. But they didn’t. They know that Biden — who has no problem subsidizing student loans, about which more in a minute — does not support the military.

By 2016, at least 500,000 of the two million civilians who work for the government earned at least $100,000 a year. They can sit in their government sinecures for a career without risking their lives in training and war.

And that’s only the beginning of the worst of it.

Biden’s student loan “buyback” program is spending between $500 billion and $1 trillion — nobody will admit how much — on paying student loans. One of the biggest benefits military members receive is, thanks to the GI Bill, payment of student loans. While on active duty, I earned a postgraduate degree that the GI Bill paid for.

Why enlist in the military if you can get free college without doing so? Biden’s student loan program is a disincentive to enlistment.

And there’s more.

The Air Force Academy, like all the other services, is demanding wokeness of cadets who will be future officers.

Last week, the Academy urged its students to avoid using non-gender-neutral words such as “mom” and “dad.”

On Sept. 14, the Academy promoted a “fellowship” program — a nine-week paid internship — open to cadets who are not “cisgender men.” (A cisgender man is a man whose identity matches his biology.)

The application for the program, according to a Fox News report, states that it is open only to those who identify as something else. It states, “If you are a cisgender woman, a transgender woman, non-binary, agender, bigender, two-spirit, demigender, genderfluid, genderqueer, or another form of gender minority, this program is for you.” It goes on to say, “If you are a cisgender man, this program isn’t for you.”

Fox News reportedly asked both Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall and Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark for comment on the program. Kendall did not respond but Clark, in a Thursday statement, said that using inclusive language (apparently excluding “cisgender men”) helped the Air Force produce “more effective warfighting units.”

If Clark believes that, he is unfit for his job. Neither Kendall nor Clark should be in any position of responsibility.

Why is any program like that offered at the Air Force Academy or any of the other academies (which I’m sure it is)?

The object of woke programs like this one is to divide people according to their gender identities. That is precisely the opposite of what should be the objective of each service academy: to promote unity among the troops and officers who serve.

The services conduct “privilege walks” to train people that they are different from one another. In a “privilege walk,” the troops are told to take a step forward each time they hear of a privilege they had when they were growing up. Were your parents married? Did they never have to go on welfare? Are you not black, Hispanic, or of another minority?

“Privilege walks” destroy unity, not increase it.

They, and programs like the fellowship offered to Air Force Academy cadets, are also the opposite of teaching how to fight. In combat — in the air, at sea, or on the ground — you have to depend on the person fighting alongside you. If you are indoctrinated to believe that person is inferior to you, how can you rely on them in combat?

The truth is that you can’t and won’t.

The Biden wokesters are doing their level best to divide the force by gender identity, race, and ethnicity. It is their primary political goal for the military and they are succeeding.

If we started now, it would take a generation to reverse the woke indoctrination that now pervades the military. And there is no sign that Biden and his military “leaders” want to start that essential retraining or are even aware of the need.

As I have written many times, the only concern military leaders should have is to increase the lethality and readiness of the forces under their command. Whatever doesn’t increase those factors detracts from them and should be opposed by the military’s leaders. They are failing the troops and officers by approving actions that reduce lethality and readiness and could easily lead to us losing a major war.

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