SecDef Lloyd Austin issued the 60 day stand down order so that the military could purge itself of all “racists and extremists.” The word “purge” is the operative one.
The stand down order
The U.S. military on Wednesday acknowledged it was unsure about how to address white nationalism and other extremism in its ranks, and announced plans for military-wide stand-downs pausing regular activity at some point in the next 60 days to tackle the issue.The decision to a hold a stand-down was made by Lloyd Austin, who made history by becoming the military’s first Black defense secretary after a long career rising in the ranks of the Army. In his confirmation hearing, Austin underscored the need to rid the military of “racists and extremists”...take our poll - story continues below
…The Pentagon did not define whether stand-downs pausing regular activity across the U.S. military might last minutes or hours, or what commanders would do during that time to express opposition to extremism.
Will this stand down order become a witch hunt?
After the January 6th riot in DC, several members of both law enforcement and the US military – active duty and veterans- were allegedly participants. Because of that, SecDef Austin is on a crusade to remove all “extremists and racists” from the military. He already purged the advisory boards of every Trump appointee, as we previously reported. He views the extremist/racist situation as a “leadership issue.”
Still, Austin said in the meeting with military leaders that while the numbers may be small, they are not as small as anyone would like. “No matter what it is, it is … not an insignificant problem and has to be addressed,” Kirby said during a press gaggle in the Pentagon...…There is much that needs to be hammered out including the details of the training that will go along with the stand down and what the secretary and all in the military want to accomplish. The stand down is similar to safety stand downs that units may have, Kirby said…
…There are questions that need to be answered, like what constitutes extremist activity? What is permissible in looking for extremists in the ranks?
In the meeting today, Austin made it clear that he is still mulling over how he wants to organize the effort to attack the problem from an institutional perspective, the press secretary said.
The secretary may establish a task force to get after the problem or perhaps another way. “He hasn’t ruled anything in or out,” Kirby said.
First a little history lesson:
Ulysses S. Grant was the Commanding general of the Union Forces during the Civil War. He was, by all accounts, a drunken, cigar puffing, asshole, and President Lincoln was approached numerous times to get rid of him. Lincoln famously told Grant’s detractors, “I can’t spare this man. He fights.” He also said, “I wish some of you would tell me the brand of whiskey that Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.”
But Grant was also a great military strategist who helped win the war for the Union, and later became President.
So we have to ask ourselves: will the definitions of “extremists and racists” be as broad as the constant narrative that Trump was racist? Will this hunt for extremists and racists cause havoc with the men and women who will fight?
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