Social Justice is Weakening the US Military: Does That Matter? (EP. 321)
The United States has the most powerful military the world has ever seen–no other country comes close. At least for now.
That is the subject of today’s 10 minute episode.
Let’s start by looking at what we want from our military. At one end of the spectrum we can have a military that is like a huge corporation, but with ranks and uniforms. At the other end, our military can be all Navy SEALS with the ability to handle paperwork in their spare time. Those are two very different visions of what our military should be.
A wit once said that the job of the military is to kill people and break things. That’s not all they do, but if our military cannot do that, and do that better than any opposing military, it does not matter what else they may do well. Let’s look at the missions for the different branches:
- Air Force. “Fly, fight, win.”
- Army, “To deploy, fight, and win our nation’s wars by providing ready, prompt, and sustained land dominance by Army forces across the full spectrum of conflict as part of the Joint Force.”
- Navy, “The Department of the Navy will recruit, train, equip, and organize to deliver combat ready Naval forces to win conflicts and wars while maintaining security and deterrence through sustained forward presence.”
- Marines. “To fight through anything—with everything.”
- Coast Guard. “Ensure our Nation’s maritime safety, security and stewardship.”
When I was in the Army, the mission was to, “Take ground and keep it.” A mission the Army forgot in Vietnam, with dreadful consequences.
The phrase “Every Marine is a rifleman,” was coined by Gen. Alfred Gray, the 29th Marine commandant, during his post-Vietnam transformation of the Marine Corps. He saw the force take on its expeditionary mission as America’s ready-to-deploy force, able to head to combat on a moment’s notice. His point was that when push comes to shove, that his Marines need to be able to put down their pencils, stethoscopes and electronics, and be able to act, instantly, as effective rifle-carrying infantry. And be at least as effective as the threatening trained enemy infantry.
Two examples of this need come immediately to mind. Chronologically, the first was during the Battle of the bulge near the end of WWII. Most of the world, including the US military, believed that in December of 1944,
Germany was near total collapse, with some thinking that the war would be over by Christmas. When elite German infantry and Panzer forces suddenly attacked, Army cooks and other rear echelon troops suddenly needed to pick up rifles and face the enemy. Quite fortunately, Lieutenant General George Patton was cut from the same cloth as Marine General Gray and had been preparing his 3rd Army for just such an attack. The surprised Army held off the onslaught just long enough for Patton’s prepared troops to meet and defeat the last German push in the war. But not before the US suffered its greatest losses of the entire conflict with 75,000 casualties. In the movie, The Battle of the Bulge, Charles Bronson, playing Major Wolenski, an Army officer, is telling a group of cooks to grab their rifles and rush to the nearby front to meet the attack. “But we are cooks,” one of them said. Wolenski replied, “Lunch is over.”
Another example came when North Korea attacked South Korea to start the Korean War. This surprise attack in massive numbers forced Army office personnel to take up arms and face the well trained attackers. As with the Battle of the Bulge, these troops were forced to retreat, but held off the enemy long enough for trained infantry, artillery and other units to come up and reverse the course of the war. History is replete with such examples, with our military and others, but you get the idea.
It is unproductive and intellectually dishonest to have conversations about women in combat units, pregnancy outfits, and LGBTQ and transgender personnel in the military until we have decided what kind of a military we want. Is our military a huge organization, kinda like a big Amazon with uniforms and a different mission, and subject to various social justice changes? Or is it a tough, gritty outfit like the Army units that landed on Normandy on D-Day, and the fierce Marines that landed on Japanese held islands in the Pacific, including Iwo Jima and Okinawa? BTW, if we want the latter, are we afraid to say it out loud for fear of the backlash from social justice advocates? Remember, we would have to make the case that implementing many of the popular forms of social justice would make our military less gritty, less formidable, and less lethal. Are we ready to make that case?
I have long maintained that if I was involved in a lawsuit, I want the reasonable, compromising attorney to represent the other side. I want the facebiter, the attorney who will do whatever is required–and legal–to win for my side. If I was not comfortable going all out to win, then my case has little moral merit in my mind, entirely aside from its legal merit. In that case, I would not engage in legal action in the first place. Shifting from the courtroom to the battlefield, if a nation is not willing to do whatever it takes for its military to win, including having the best personnel, the right training and equipment, and using those resources with a dedication to winning, then the cause is not worthy of risking precious blood and treasure.
Does that tell you where I am on this issue?
We’ll close with a quote. “People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” Most often attributed to George Orwell, occasionally credited to either Rudyard Kipling or Winston Churchill.
Did today’s episode stir up any new thoughts for you? If so, what might you be doing differently?
Tell me what you believe. I and many others want to know.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty. 1 Corinthians 16:1.
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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.