VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: There’s a problem in the upper reaches of our military
Joe Biden and the Pentagon have managed to birth a new terrorist haven.
September 4, 2021 - 9:00 pm
It is the beginning of a never-ending bad dream. Joe Biden and the Pentagon have managed to birth a new terrorist haven, destroy much of U.S. strategic deterrence and alienate our allies and much of the country.
In the hours after the horrific deaths of 13 service members, we have been reassured by our military that our partnership with the Taliban to provide security for our flights was wise. We were told that the terrorist victors share similar goals to ours in a hasty American retreat from Kabul. We were reminded that Afghan refugees (unlike U.S. soldiers) will not be forced to be vaccinated on arrival. Such statements are either untrue or absurd.
On the very day of the attack that killed American troops, the sergeant major of the U.S. Army reminded us in a tweet that diversity is our strength, commemorating not the dead but Women’s Equality Day. If so, then is the opposite of diversity — unity — our weakness? Will such wokeness ensure that we do not abandon the Bagram air base in the middle of the night without opposition?
The chief of staff at the Office of Naval Intelligence warned the ONI’s active duty and retired service members that they must not criticize Biden, their commander in chief, over the Afghanistan fiasco. The office correctly cited prohibitions found in the Uniform Code of Military Justice barring any disrespect shown to senior government leadership.
Indeed, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps was relieved of his command for posting a video accurately blaming military and civilian leadership for the Afghanistan nightmare.
Yet until Jan. 20, retired top brass had constantly smeared their elected commander in chief with impunity.
Recently retired Gen. Michael Hayden retweeted a horrific suggestion that unvaccinated Trump supporters should be put on planes back to Afghanistan, where they presumably would be left to die. Hayden earlier had compared President Donald Trump’s border facilities to Nazi death camps.
Other retired high-profile military officials variously called their president an emulator of Nazi tactics, a veritable Mussolini and a liar and deserving of removal from office sooner than later. None of these retired four-stars faced the sort of repercussions that the Office of Naval Intelligence just warned about.
More than 50 former intelligence officials on the eve of the November election signed a letter suggesting that incriminating emails found on Hunter Biden’s missing laptop might be “Russian disinformation.” They used their stature for political purposes to convince the American people that the story was a lie.
Retired Gen. Joseph Dunford and retired Adm. Mike Mullen recently blasted retired brass who had questioned Biden’s cognitive ability. OK. But they should have issued a similar warning earlier, when the violations of fellow retired officers were even more egregious in election year 2020.
Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, apologized for doing a photo op with Trump, erroneously buying into the narrative that Trump had ordered rioters cleared from Lafayette Square for the staged picture. Worse, he leaked to journalists that he was so angry with Trump that he “considered” resigning.
Think of the irony. If Milley considered a politicized resignation to rebuke Trump over the false charge, then surely he could consider a real resignation after overseeing the worst military disaster of the last half-century in Kabul.
Milley had promised to root out white supremacy from the ranks while recommending that his soldiers read Ibram X. Kendi’s racialist diatribes.
Something is terribly wrong in the ranks of America’s top commanders that reflects something wrong with the country.
The Pentagon needs to stop virtue-signaling about diversity days and culturally sensitive food for Afghan refugees. Instead, can it just explain why the Bagram air base was abandoned by night or why Taliban terrorists are our supposed “partners” in organizing our surrender and escape?
Which general allowed more than $85 billion in American weapons to fall to the Taliban — a sum equal to the price of seven new U.S. aircraft carriers?
Who turned over to the Taliban the lists of Americans and allied Afghans to be evacuated?
Who left behind biometric devices that the Taliban are using to hunt down our former Afghan friends?
Somehow our new woke Pentagon is hell-bent on losing the trust of the American people — along with the wars it fights abroad.
Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author of “The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won,” from Basic Books. You can reach him by e-mailing authorvdh@ gmail.com.