With the post-Capitol riot, partisan-fueled witch-hunt for so-called ‘extremists’ in full swing across America, the Pentagon is struggling to define a term, and a problem, that many believe doesn’t truly exist. Recently, as I wrote here, two top U.S. military commanders testified to the Senate that they had ‘zero’ extremists in their ranks, and by that they meant none had been found, and they were still looking.
But the message from these two commanders was clear – the ‘extremist’ label is ill-defined and over used. It either means nothing, or it can mean anything.
As I have written before, this issue is being politicized and weaponized by the Left and Democrats to potentially smear and demonize large swaths of the U.S. military, including Guard and Reserves. Almost anyone with conservative views can be targeted.
Jason Beardsley, the executive director of the Association of the United States Navy, recently penned an opinion piece for Fox News titled: Pentagon’s ‘extremism’ blunder – could make US military even more political. He notes that the term ‘extremist’ was gratuitously added to existing rules for military members prohibiting certain activities.
He stated how in 2012, the Pentagon amended DOD Instruction 1325.06, which outlines activities from which military personnel are prohibited, and added the word “extremist” into the rule. He notes that:
The rule was reasonably clear before – it said active-duty personnel cannot “actively advocate supremacist doctrine, ideology or causes, including those that advance, encourage or advocate illegal discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, religion, ethnicity or national origin…” It also said military personnel can’t actively participate in any groups that advocate this discrimination.
So, already since 2012 military personnel have been prohibited from advocating racially “extremist” doctrine or actively participating in groups that advocate “extremist” doctrine. Yet, a few weeks ago – nine years after the rule change – DOD admitted it has no idea how adding “extremist” to the rule made any difference.
Beardsley explains that on April 9, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said officials “want better guidance about what extremist activity really is,” and that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin heard a “hunger for more information and context about what we’re talking about here.”
The fact that no one at DoD has a clue about what the hell ‘extremism’ means should be the first red flag. But rather than taking this opportunity to ditch the useless and potentially politicized term, Biden’s Department of Defense (DoD) is doubling down.
According to Beardsley:
DOD appears to be ready to take two new steps. The first is to define ‘extremism,’ something DOD said it will do in the next version of the rule. The second, we suspect, is to move closer to outright prohibiting military personnel from being members of “extremist” groups – DOD appears to recognize how bad it would look to state this goal explicitly, so we expect word games that offer more confusing hints in this direction.
In my next piece I will outline Beardsley’s ‘Five reasons why defining “extremism” is another move in the wrong direction.’ And why the term ‘extremist’ should be expunged from DOD Instruction 1325.06 as redundant and dangerously political.
Current Pentagon instructions and prohibitions are more than adequate to handle any dangers posed by a small number of bad actors inside the military. ADN