In my previous piece, ‘Extremism Means Nothing, or Anything, I explained how the Pentagon is struggling to define a term, and a problem, that many believe doesn’t truly exist. All as part of the post-Capitol riot, partisan-fueled, witch-hunt for so-called ‘extremists’ in the American military.
I earlier wrote how two top U.S. military commanders testified to the Senate that they had ‘zero’ extremists in their ranks, and how the ‘extremist’ label is ill-defined and over used. It either means nothing, or it can mean anything. I also referred to an excellent article by Jason Beardsley, the executive director of the Association of the United States Navy, titled: Pentagon’s ‘extremism’ blunder – could make US military even more political.
He notes that the Department of Defense (DoD) already prohibits racial and other ‘extremist’ activities, without the need for the term, which was gratuitously added in 2012 to existing rules, but serves no real purpose. However, as the Pentagon strives now – nine years later – to actually define the term ‘extremism,’ it is in danger of being highly politicized by this and future administrations – but starting with Biden.
He goes on to provide five solid reasons for why the term ‘extremism’ should not be defined, but instead purged by DoD. And reason number one Beardsley notes is how it will be politicized:
A DoD definition of “extremism” will be a political definition, one that fits the Biden administration’s political point of view. Will it say anyone involved in the Jan. 6 protest at the Capitol is an extremist because some of those protesters were violent? We shouldn’t want either party to write a definition of “extremism” for the military, and given broad Republican opposition to this effort, DoD appears likely to hand down a partisan definition.
Beardsley continues with reason two which follows from reason one:
Once DoD defines “extremism,” it will be compelled to decide which groups fit that definition and ban membership in them… The list of “extremist” groups will swing wildly as DOD changes hands from Republican to Democratic control, or Democratic to Republican control. Americans who wish to serve will face a permanently changing DOD preference on who can serve, and who cannot.
Beardsley’s third reason is:
Morale, as usual, will suffer. By making this a priority, DoD is wandering further away from the military’s core mission, which is to defeat the enemy in combat. Rather than focusing on the outside threats to America, DoD runs the risk of making an enemy of millions of Americans who pledged to defend the country.
The fourth reason Beardsley cites is:
DoD’s new definition will almost certainly create more confusion. Think about it – the Pentagon lived for nine years with a definition that it now admits is completely unclear. It’s quite possible that DoD hands down another soft rule that confuses everyone up and down the chain of command. The department has shown a past willingness to placate the crowd with unclear dictates. It won’t be a surprise if the new rule leads to new uncertainty.
Finally, defining this term is simply not necessary:
If the Biden administration is looking for a way to expel military personnel who participated in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, it already has that authority. Members of the U.S. armed forces are banned from taking place in rallies in uniform and can’t engage in activities with a group that seeks to “deprive individuals of their civil rights” if those activities are “detrimental to good order, discipline or mission accomplishment or are incompatible with military service.”
Beardsley concludes by recommending that the Pentagon stop trying to define a highly politicized term that has no business being in the DoD lexicon, and purge the word ‘extremism’ from all DoD instructions:
The department [DoD] can already toss out service members for a range of bad behavior. Making constantly changing lists of good guys and bad guys will only further politicize a department that is already dangerously politicized. The Pentagon should be strategizing on how to insulate us from bad actors who threaten America. Instead, it’s being snookered into thinking its real job is to target Americans who dare to even question the woke fascism that is pervading this country.