Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Political Correctness in the Ranks

In the wake of the massacre at Fort Hood, many have expressed shock and amazement that the shooter--Army Major Nidal Hasan--openly expressed anti-American and anti-military views. Yet, he was never punished, and the service (apparently) made no effort to discharge him.

Sadly, the case of Nidal Hasan is yet another testament to political correctness run amok in the nation's military. According to press reports, Hasan's ties with Muslim radicals date back to his days as a student in suburban Washington--at a medical school run by the armed forces. Later, as a psychiatric resident, he was suspended for proselytizing about his religion. He reportedly received a poor performance report from superiors, but Hasan was still promoted to Major in May of this year.

Indeed, Hasan's fellow officers complained about his remarks and conduct, but senior officers made no real effort to discipline him--beyond that brief suspension at Walter Reed--or document his unacceptable conduct. Never mind that the Army (like the other services) has regulations governing the removal of officers who pose a potential security threat, or perform poorly on the job. Based on what we know, it seems apparent that concerns about Major Hasan were largely ignored for two reasons, both rooted in the ugly specter of political correctness.

First, as a minority officer, Hasan would have likely filed complaints against superiors attempting to discipline him, claiming racial discrimination. In today's military, even suggestions of bigotry or racism can be career-killers, giving Hasan's superiors a reason to ignore complaints against him, no matter how valid they were. Sadly, their lack of leadership is all-too-common in a politically-correct military.

Secondly, many senior officers worship at the altar of P.C., with little regard for the potential consequences. The Army Chief of Staff, General George Casey, stunned many soldiers (and veterans alike) by declaring that it would be a greater tragedy [than the loss of life at Fort Hood] if the service's diversity became a "casualty" of Hasan's actions.

But slavish devotion to political correctness isn't limited to the Army. One of our favorite Navy bloggers, Commander Salamander, uncovered this recent example at the U.S. Naval Academy:

On 29 OCT, the USNA Color Guard made an appearance at the World Series. The day prior to their appearance, two Midshipmen were removed from the Color Guard by senior Commissioned Officers in leadership positions at Annapolis for one simple reason; they were white males. That isn't a guess on their part - that is what they were told.

Before I go further, I want to detail a couple of things. I didn't think about running this story after the first notification I received. However, I soon started to receive multiple tips from multiple contacts associated with Annapolis, alumni, and parents.

Over the last few days, working with over a half-dozen very reliable sources, the following story started to flesh itself out.

The day before their appearance, the two MIDN were notified that USNA senior leadership did not like the fact that the Color Guard was not diverse enough. As a result, they were to be removed and replaced with someone with a higher melanin content in their skin, and a female. Boom - there you go.

Ironically, one of the white midshipmen still appeared with the color guard at the World Series because his "diversity" replacement forgot his shoes and cover. As you might expect, this incident has received no attention (outside Salamander's blog), but the Navy has gone into a defensive crouch, referring all inquiries to the Annapolis public affairs office. Late last week, the PAOs released a carefully sanitized statement, excerpted below:

- Background into World Series Event/Decision:On 28 October 2009, we learned that the Color Guard had been asked to carry the colors at World Series game number 2 at Yankee Stadium. We were excited at the opportunity to represent the Naval Academy in front of our nation and looked at a number of options to ensure our color guard members were fully qualified and available to participate. Upon reviewing the different options, a preliminary option was discussed, but later modified to have a color guard composition of 8 members that would honor the proud work of our team members and highlight the tremendous talents of our many Midshipmen.

Obviously, it's a long way from the diversity decision at the USNA, to the murderous rampage at Fort Hood. But there is a clear thread linking these seemingly unrelated events--the thread of political correctness. When military leaders begin to value the appearance of their organization over its performance and adherence to standards, bad things inevitably happen. The mindset that led to the color guard change at the Naval Academy is the same thinking that allowed Nidal Hasan to forment his radical views, while wearing the nation's uniform. Political correctness helped set the stage for his terrorist attack, and the death of 13 Americans.

In that sense, maybe it's not that far from Annapolis to Fort Hood afterall.


Ed Rasimus said...

I found it fascinating that one of the textbooks which I used in a college Intro to Political Science course discussed "correlates of democracy". The chapter was describing those things to look for in determining probability of success in a society becoming democratic.

One of the principle ones was homogeneity in history, culture, religion, tradition and ethnicity. Yes, folks, the fact is that if we look at diverse societies around the world we find more unrest, violence and instability in their democracies.

The most successful of democracies is arguably Great Britain and it unquestionably achieved that success with homogeneity. Today, they celebrate diversity and as the British culture is diluted, the stability of the democracy decreases.

The mindless embrace of diversity as a goal for its own sake is counter-productive. It isn't the differences that build the team, it is the commonality of goals and beliefs. Accentuating the differences, for that matter even acknowledging the differences, is the failure.

Paul G. said...

Funny everyone's talking about Political Correctness. That's probably what it was called when women were first allowed to serve in the military. Women like the one who took down the shooter.

@Ed Rasimus - Brilliant. Homogeneity is the reason countries like Botswana and North Korea are such powerhouses. And Great Britain? What a rich democratic history....just ask the Scots or the Irish or the Indians or Catholics or Americans. So successful that the sun now sets on the British empire.

"Political correctness" is the antidote to Irish Need Not Apply and "Whites Only" water fountains.

America was created by people of different races and backgrounds. It is the hope of America that if you work hard, play by the rules, the system will treat you fairly and the streets are paved with gold. That American dream is what unifies diversity. This is not something to mock or be afraid of.

#6 said...

Homogeneity of CULTURE is essential. Rome, Britain, the USA- kiss that goodbye and kiss your ass goodbye next.

Ed Rasimus said...

I enjoy being called brilliant, but with a bit less sarcasm. Homogenity is but ONE of a range of correlates. Literacy (oops Botswana), history of democracy (oops N. Korea), traditions of cooperation/acceptance of other opinions, high economic standard, adequacy of resources, civilian control of military, independent judiciary, etc. all are on the menu.

Examples of "diverse" cultures that come unglued and can't make it work are places like the Balkans or former Soviet Union to point out obvious examples.

The US was founded by a predominantly white Anglo/
Saxon protestant population. It succeeded because of assimilation within the culture not diversification and fragmentation. See Teddy Roosevelt for comments on hyphenated Americans, et. al.

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