For many years, the U.S. military has been among the most trusted of American institutions, certainly the most trusted part of the U.S. government. It has maintained that status despite its failure to achieve success in the post-9/11 wars. Americans seem to have accepted the argument that this failure has more to do with the political constraints placed on the military than on the military’s doctrine, planning, and execution. They have continued to accept the military’s self-image as a profession rather than a self-interested bureaucracy, and have supported its professional ethos understood as duty, honor, and sacrifice.
But attitudes toward the military seem to be changing. According to a recent survey conducted by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, the number of Americans who express a great deal of confidence and trust in the military has dropped from 70 percent to 45 percent in just the past three years, including an 11 percent drop since February.
On Monday, the Department of Defense, in an effort to further crack down on political dissent, is revising its previous definitions of “extremist behavior” in order to deter uniformed members from certain political affiliations, CNN reports.
The Countering Extremism Working Group, a panel that was created for the purpose of ostensibly investigating “extremism” within military ranks, issued a report outlining its findings, claiming that there are indeed some “extremists” in the military. The report alleges that there were roughly 100 instances of uniformed members who either had “extremist” beliefs or joined “extremist” groups in 2021, which the report claims is an increase from previous years.
When 13 U.S. service members were killed by suicide bombers as American citizens were abandoned in Afghanistan last August—in perhaps the most ill planned military operation since our efforts in Somalia which resulted in naked U.S. servicemen being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu—it should have given us a clue about the Biden Administration’s priorities. Much as the Somalian disaster led to a massive influx of Somali immigrants, which is changing the makeup of the Midwest, we can soon expect a surge in Afghan immigration.
In retaliation for the Kabul airport bombings, the United States conducted a drone strike on what the world was told were ISIS-K members. When confronted about the irregularities of the operation, General Mark Milley described the air attack as a “righteous strike.” We later learned this “righteous strike” killed an innocent aid worker and nine members of his family. No one has been held accountable for this tragic political slaughter.