What Is Happening to Our Military?

The highest echelon of the U.S. military is becoming dysfunctional. 

There are too many admirals and generals for the size of the current U.S. military. It now boasts three times the number of four-star admirals and generals than we had during World War II—when the country was in an existential war for survival and when, by 1945, our active military personnel was almost nine times larger than the current armed forces. 

Somehow a gradual drift in the agendas of our military leadership has resulted in too many various emphases on domestic cultural, social, and political issues. And naturally, as a result, there is less attention given to winning wars and leveraging such victories to our nation’s strategic advantage.

The consequences of these failures are downright scary for a world superpower upon which millions at home and billions worldwide depend. 

There are too many concurrent Pentagon crises. Any one of them would be dangerous to our national security. Together they imperil our very freedoms and security. 

Reform? 

What is to be done? The Uniform Code of Military Justice must be enforced, and not selectively applied on the basis of rank: officers below the rank of general and admiral now face severe penalties for disparaging in personal terms the current administration, while one stars and above are given de facto exemptions for comments about the previous administration. If the code is not considered law but merely a recommendation, then it should be scrapped. 

The Department of Defense Office of Inspector General and the inspector generals of the various branches of the military must enforce existing laws that carefully define the limits of the Joint Chiefs of Staff activity. And they must punish those officers who violate such statues to interrupt the legal chain of command. 

There must be a cooling off period to prevent retiring military officers from rotating onto the boards and lobbying teams of corporate defense contractors, with the presumption that their knowledge of the operation of the Pentagon can be monetized to the advantage of particular corporations. Five years seems a reasonable period in which our top brass should refrain from joining firms that are seeking lucrative contracts from the Pentagon. 

Any former high-ranking retired officer who is paid to provide military commentary on news channels should not enjoy security clearances. The practice is currently much abused. A good example was the case of retired General James Clapper. For months, he went on television, with presumptions of superior wisdom, supposedly based on his access to confidential intelligence, and flat out deceived the American people about the so-called Russian collusion hoax and the supposed treasonous nature of the president.  

We are currently witnessing several scandals in the Department of Justice, the IRS, the CIA, and the FBI by careerist, unelected employees. But far more chilling is the crisis in the U.S. military upon which we all must depend. Its revered history and accomplishment must somehow remain a source of pride and inspiration to guide all of us in these frightening times ahead. 

These types of politicization and violation of a variety of laws do come at a price, either in distracting the military command from its primary mission of defeating the enemy and securing victory in American conflicts or contextualizing such failure through embrace of social activism. 

Since the Korean War, and with the exception of the first Gulf War, the military’s record has not been especially stellar, given a chronic inability to achieve a military victory in a cost-benefit sense acceptable to the American people: optional interventions in Lebanon, Somalia, and Libya, the defeat in and retreat from the Afghanistan war, and strategic stalemate and withdrawal from Iraq. 

Many of these setbacks were due to political loss of will, but the military might have prevented such fickle and fluid civilian policies had it been able to present a strategy for victory, one that justified to the American people the resulting costs in blood and treasure. 

The above pessimistic appraisal is not mine nor conservatives. It is now likely the consensus of our enemies from Afghanistan to Russia to Iran and other parts of the Middle East to North Korea. Our enemies hope that the once most powerful military in the history of civilization is going through a sort of people’s liberation army internal revolution, one in which ideological purity, not battlefield competence, is deemed the better measurement of today’s high-ranking officer corps. 

How strange that in the midst of a humiliating defeat and withdrawal from Afghanistan our military still assured us that culturally sensitive food was awaiting refugees upon landing in the United States—a group, we were told, flown out with acceptable gender ratios and unvaccinated, but shepherded by soldiers who will shortly be discharged if they likewise remain unvaccinated. 

V. Hanson

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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