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You really do not want a military whose leaders are actually divorced from or in open opposition to civilian culture. That is the way of the old Kemalist Turkish military, holding itself the guarantor of a Turkish society held perpetually to Ataturk’s vision. That is a bit of colonels periodically ejecting corrupt generals and their presidents for life in Latin America. That is entirely alien to our constitutional republic. Yet, it is dangerous for that same constitutional republic when a professional military elite is corroded by critical theory. “Critical Corrosion of American Military, Pt. 1,” sketched the shifts, over time, in policies and programs addressing ethnicity, sex, and sexual identity. Now we turn to the shaping of military leaders’ outlooks relative to their civilian counterparts.
America was born with a deep suspicion of a standing army on our soil. An army, mind you, not a navy, air force, or space force. The navy depended on ports and yet could not project power by itself into the interior. True, starting with the Battle of Britain and the attack on Pearl Harbor, the long-range fires of naval and land-based airpower, including missiles, are devastating. Yet, they cannot march house to house and drag people away to prison camps. A brief review of our fundamental law, the words voted upon by the people in their several states, outlines both the feared danger and the attempt at risk management in an imperfect world.
We are hollowing out our military again, placing Americans in danger, both those in uniform and the civilian population. In the 1970s, the military was wracked by equipment, training, and personnel problems. After two decades of not-so-small wars, the American military again faces equipment, training and personnel problems, with a new twist. The latest United States Service Academy (West Point) cheating scandal is one manifestation of a 21st Century personnel problem, created by senior leaders embracing critical race theory, a leftist assault on our Constitution and institutions. This leftist assault, embraced by elites, civilian and military, weakens the foundations of integrity and trust in our military at every level.
From January 2021 onward, the American military has shown very troubling signs of accelerated politicization, with attendant concerns about weakness in the face of a resurgent threat environment. This is more than a single post, so I will start with the “so what,” with why it really matters if our military becomes like a socialist military, with political commissars enforcing party doctrine as national interest. I will then briefly outline how training and practice of the military-styled “Equal Opportunity” changed over the decades. Finally, we will take a look at the case of critical corrosion at West Point, the United States Military Academy.
POLITICAL MILITARIES UNDERPERFORM
As the City Council of Minneapolis meets to reduce the police department budget by 50% as they said they would do in the aftermath of the “George Floyd Riots”, neighborhoods are starting their own community watch groups, some of them armed. This is in response to a “surge of crime” in many neighborhoods.
As a WSJ story from Monday states:
It’s not a natural impulse for politicians or activists to highlight trade-offs. Take cutting defense spending. Some Democratic presidential candidates envision a sizable reduction to the Pentagon’s budget if they’re elected. If that should happen, one possible program on the chopping block might be R&D investment. There is a lot of it, after all. A 2018 Congressional Research Service report found that in 2016 the United States spent $78.1 billion on defense R&D, “more than seven times as much on defense R&D than the rest of the OECD countries combined.”
And what do we get for all those tens of billions? That question is partially answered by a new working paper, “The Intellectual Spoils of War? Defense R&D, Productivity and International Spillovers” from Enrico Moretti, Claudia Steinwender, and John Van Reenen. Here’s what the researchers found (bold by me):
In the US and many other OECD countries, expenditures for defense-related R&D represent a key policy channel through which governments shape innovation, and dwarf all other public subsidies for innovation. We examine the impact of government funding for R&D – and defense-related R&D in particular – on privately conducted R&D, and its ultimate effect on productivity growth. We estimate models that relate privately funded R&D to lagged government-funded R&D using industry-country level data from OECD countries and firm level data from France. To deal with the potentially endogenous allocation of government R&D funds we use changes in predicted defense R&D as an instrumental variable. In both datasets, we uncover evidence of “crowding in” rather than “crowding out,” as increases in government-funded R&D for an industry or a firm result in significant increases in private sector R&D in that industry or firm. A 10% increase in government-financed R&D generates 4.3% additional privately funded R&D. An analysis of wages and employment suggests that the increase in private R&D expenditure reflects actual increases in R&D employment, not just higher labor costs. Our estimates imply that some of the existing cross-country differences in private R&D investment are due to cross-country differences in defense R&D expenditures. We also find evidence of international spillovers, as increases in government-funded R&D in a particular industry and country raise private R&D in the same industry in other countries. Finally, we find that increases in private R&D induced by increases in defense R&D result in significant productivity gains.
I had an epiphany today which seems mundane in hindsight. Preview Open
About a year ago I wrote a post that could have been titled A Meta-Defense of Brett Kavanaugh, in that it made essentially the same argument I want to make here: allowing normal Constitutional processes to be distorted by unfounded and ambiguous accusations of wrongdoing is the same as surrendering those processes, and hence Constitutional governance, to the angriest voices in the least responsible mob.
Regardless of what one thinks of President Trump, it is a fact that he was elected President in 2016, and that no credible evidence has been presented that his election, however unexpected, was in any way irregular.
On this episode of the AEI Events Podcast, Mackenzie Eaglen sits down with Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. From cutting-edge hypersonic missiles to humble propeller-driven attack aircraft intended for counterterrorism operations, Secretary Wilson previewed experimental programs that will provide tomorrow’s airmen with the capabilities they need to fly, fight, and win. The secretary also articulated her concept of “defendable space” meant to revolutionize how the Air Force acquires and operates systems for use outside the stratosphere.
Asked to reflect on the most important lesson from her storied career, Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson noted that nothing is more critical than living by a consistent set of values.
Jon Kyl retired from the Senate in early 2013. While in the Senate, I considered him one of, if not the best at speaking/explaining things clearly. He always hit just the right note, with just the right amount of information. Kyl did a recent interview with Bill Bennett centering around national defense I thought worth […]
From TopRightNews: …. There were police everywhere in Ferguson Sunday night, and not one of those stores were protected against looters. But the two businesses above WERE spared — because they were able to arm themselves. Preview Open
The Pentagon is in the midst of reducing our armed forces to levels not seen since 1940. Thirty thousand active duty Army troops are to be eliminated in the next two years. The Obama Administration has since announced that they want 1,500 illegal aliens inducted into service. This is madness.
Just this year, since the beginning of the southern border crisis, at least 40,000 detained illegals have been released and vanished into the wider population. No one knows who they are, what their intentions are, or even their health status.