Right, so we're talking about the first initiative Lloyd Austin undertook as SecDef, after stepping down from the boards of Raytheon, Nucor, and Tenet Healthcare. Even before purging defense advisory boards of Trump appointees, Austin announced a 60-day stand-down to train service members to "recognize and combat" "extremism" in the military--which is the current euphemism for white conservatives. Or, to be fair, conservatives of any color, because conservativism is a simply a proxy for "whiteness", no matter what color you happen to be. Or so I hear.
Good idea, bad idea? Like so many things in life, that all depends on what you were hoping to accomplish. If the great idea was to transform the enlisted men and women into woke robots, early reports suggest that the stand-down has been a signal failure. It seems the enlisted types--the kind of people who will never be asked to join corporate boards--follow the news and--horrors!--think for themselves. And they're not buying the idea that the January 6 Event was staged by White Supremacists while the months and months of violent BLM and Antifa rioting were actually peaceful--except for a handful of opportunistic criminals, totally unconnected to Leftist ideology. The trainers are doing their best, but it seems the reeducation isn't taking hold.
So, from the standpoint of the Left, the stand-down is looking like a failure, but it may also be turning out--again, from their perspective--to be a Bad Idea to begin with.
Management types will often tell you that getting the little people--worker bee types, or enlisted people in the military--to talk about things can lead to trouble. What often happens is that an Us against Them mentality takes hold--Us being the workers or enlisted people, and Them being management. The lower level types discover that they're not just a lot of isolated individuals. In fact, they learn that many of the doubts and grievances regarding management are shared widely. An Us v. Them dynamic which equates to something like Enlisted v. Officers can lead to big trouble.
So, Zerohedge reported as follows, Defiant US Soldiers From Every Echelon of the Military Openly Questioning Why BLM Riots Weren’t Treated Like Capitol ‘Insurrection’, drawing on an article from Military.com:
Soldiers "from every echelon" of the US military have been openly questioning why last year's violent BLM and Antifa riots weren't treated like the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, a comparison which has flown sideways up the ass of the military's top enlisted leader, Chief Master Sergeant Ramón "CZ" Colón-López.
Since when did the military command decide that "soldiers from every echelon ... openly questioning" virtually anything was a good thing? And then you create a situation in which those questioning individuals learn that they're not alone, and also learn who other questioning individuals are that they can talk to? That's a genie that's never gonna get back in its bottle. If the command continues down this path, I predict reenlistment problems. And trouble recruiting qualified people to begin with.
In a Thursday briefing at the Pentagon, Colón-López (CZ) told reporters that some troops have asked "How come you're not looking at the situation that was going on in Seattle prior to that?"
"This is coming from every echelon that we're talking to," CZ added.
According to Military.com, CZ told reporters that he is "concerned about the way that some people are looking at the current environment."
You can bet your sweet ass he's concerned! And the fact that the soldiers at every echelon aren't just parrotting "Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full" is the most concerning part of all.
Colón-López said the confusion some younger troops have expressed shows why the training sessions on extremism are needed.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered the stand-down Feb. 5 and gave units across the military 60 days to discuss extremism in the ranks with troops.
The military's policies are clear, he said: Troops are not to advocate for, or participate in, supremacist, extremist or criminal gang doctrine, ideology or causes. -Military.com
Others are wondering why leadership's view is so disproportionate.
Similar that's ridiculous. The Capitol riot was 1 day. BLM had 600+ in just 90 days & they have the support of the mainstream media. Way bigger threat https://t.co/eEOubfM5Qf — Sean Fitzgerald (@IamSean90) March 20, 2021
CZ claims that the military 'remains an apolitical organization,' and that it doesn't matter if extremist groups are far left or right, adding "both are off limits."
"If it's an organization that is actually imposing harm, threat, destruction, criminal activity and so on, then we don't condone that behavior," he said, adding "We're focusing on letting people know exactly what the oath tells us to do when it comes to obeying lawful orders, remaining apolitical and basically being good stewards of society."
Who knew that the military are the "stewards of society"? You now know it. At least that's what the Left wants them to be--if they can just reeducate them. That one weird trick, that turns out to be so ... tricky.
But as the training sessions took place, some themes emerged that worried leaders.
Those conducting the sessions wanted "to make sure that military members understand the difference between Seattle and [the Jan. 6 riot in] Washington, D.C.," Colón-López said. "But some of our younger members are confused about this, so that's what we need to go ahead and talk to them about and educate them on, to make sure that they know exactly what they can and cannot do." -Military.com
According to CZ, 'younger troops need to be educated' on the difference between the broad (Marxist-organized) BLM and Antifa movement and extremists within said movements.
Three worrying themes. 1. Soldiers thinking for themselves. 2. Soldiers needing to be "educated"--except the "leaders" are coming to the realization that, in spite of all the previous "training", the soldiers don't think they need any more education. 3. In fact, it seems the soldiers think the "leaders" are the ones who need educating.
Earlier this week PJ Media had a piece--anonymous, because the author is in the military--that was specific to the "struggle sessions" being held in the Navy. And it turns out that the situation in the Navy is pretty much the same, if this anecdotal evidence holds true--Biden Admin Halts Navy Operations, Orders Sailors to Undergo 'Chilling' Stand-Down Training:
The training we received this month was rushed through in the wake of the Washington, D.C., riot. The course, which was given in a PowerPoint deck, included a slide defining “extremism.” One would expect a broad, catch-all phrase that makes it clear that any radical activity undermining our nation or promoting criminal activity would not be tolerable.
But that would be wrong. Extremism was narrowly defined as “supremacist” beliefs only. That’s it. Nothing else. Nothing about anarchism, nothing about any group that might be found on the left. Everyone in the room – of every race, incidentally – had a collective hush as the chilling effect of this clearly biased definition dawned on our team. As one person on our team put it, “Why does the DoD only care about one kind of extremism? Why do they refuse to talk about antifa? Why is it extremist to attack a Capitol police officer, but not extremist to attack a Portland police officer?”
We were further lectured that “supremacists” were seeking to join the military to gain skills and proficiency with weapons. But, of course, we know that inner-city gangs have been trying this for years, and yet there was no discussion of this. Nor was there any mention of antifa, which explicitly and often openly promotes violent activities. It seems odd that in 2020, when we saw 1,000 riots with varying levels of violence, our training would be centered on the one riot connected to the right and ignore the 999 connected to the left.
Throughout the presentation, the drumbeat was consistent, constant…and chilling. This was a shot across the bow to the right, and deafening silence for the left. As true Americans, committed to our fellow servicemen and women, we should reject all extremism unequivocally from any source. My concern is that this blatantly political training is not only bad, it’s counter-productive. Extremists feed on paranoia, and the Department of Defense just fed them a healthy dose of it.
What do they think these people will do? Quit? Because some admiral made them sit through three hours of lectures? Hardly. They’ll go underground. And they’ll continue to fester. And so too will the left. Only no one will be watching out for them, because the brass’ silence speaks volumes.
Is creating ideological divisions within the ranks a good idea? I think not, but it's been going on for over a decade. Still, the good news is that the military isn't full of extremists--just a pretty healthy number of patriotic Americans. That is reassuring for patriotic civilian Americans, who see their capital city--the Imperial City on the Potomac--under continuing military occupation.