“Wake-up” issues distracted Afghan leaders, former military officials say


As the Senate Armed Services Committee prepares to question military leaders on Tuesday about the debacle in Afghanistan, several recent Defense Ministry officials told Fox News that an internal focus on left-wing cultural battles has likely sidetracked senior military planning and readiness in Afghanistan.

A former senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that under President Biden, senior officials held meetings on “crop war” issues every week, and sometimes more. The list of attendees included Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and secretaries from all military departments, the official said.

“They never met once before getting ready. But they met weekly on transgender issues, extremism, racism, sexual assault, sexual harassment, et cetera,” said a former official, adding that the focus was probably shifted from planning in Afghanistan.


“There are only 168 hours in a week. They were spending all of their time on these things, especially at the beginning. Yes, they were distracted,” one official said.

The US military was slow to adjust its withdrawal plans even as the Taliban began to take the country piece by piece throughout the summer, culminating in the fall of Kabul and the seizure of billions of dollars military equipment supplied by the United States.

“Political leaders are not focusing on the mission. They are focusing only on a cultural war against our military,” an official said.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, right, answers a question during a briefing with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, left, at the Pentagon in Washington, Wednesday, September 1, 2021 , on the end of the war in Afghanistan. (AP Photo / Susan Walsh)
(AP Photo / Susan Walsh)

Military leaders argue that they are leading an “apolitical” army and say the emphasis on cultural issues is necessary to ensure fair treatment for all servicemen.

“I want America to know that the US military is an apolitical institution,” General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in July.

But the information provided to Fox by insiders follows a host of political controversies for the military, such as the White House’s appointment of Bishop Garrison as senior adviser and head of the “Task Force Against the Army”. extremism “of the Pentagon.

Garrison tweeted in 2019 that Trump supporters were supporters of racism, misogyny and extremism. “Support [Trump], a racist, supports ALL of his beliefs, ”argued Garrison.

The Navy also came under criticism in March after slides from the Army’s “extremism” training disclosed that Sailors could not discuss “politically partisan” matters on duty, but that Black Lives Matter’s defense on serve was acceptable.

Another controversy arose when the Navy placed Ibram Kendi’s “How to Be an Anti-Racist” on its Recommended Reading List. Despite the title, critics view the book itself as racist, citing words from the book such as “the only cure for racist discrimination is anti-racist discrimination” and the book’s opposition to a color blind society.


The so-called “awakened” ideology illustrated by this book has led to formations that many also qualify as racist. Senator Tom Cotton and Representative Dan Crenshaw created a whistleblower line for soldiers to report “awake” mismanagement and received hundreds of tips.

“An aviator told us that his unit was forced into a racist exercise called the privilege march, where wing members were ordered to separate by race and gender, in order to stratify people based on their perceived privilege, ”Cotton said in hearings. year.

“A Marine told us that a military history training session has been replaced by mandatory training in police brutality, white privilege, and systemic racism,” Cotton noted.

“A member of the special operations community told us that they were told, ‘The US special operations community is racist,'” the senator added.

Cotton’s report also quoted angry servicemen, citing a Navy lieutenant who said: “Sometimes I think we care more about whether we have enough diversity officers than whether we will survive a fight. with the Chinese Navy “.

“It’s criminal. They think my only value is as a black woman. But you open our ship with a missile and we’ll all bleed the same color,” the lieutenant continued.

A senior official who spoke to Fox noted that confidence wasted by “awakened” political actions had devastating consequences, especially in light of Afghanistan.

“Disasters happen all the time, in all kinds of jurisdictions,” the official said. “This is when you need bipartisan support, right? Now is the time that military leaders need force support – they need our military to think they are credible leaders. ‘don’t have that. Our military don’t trust them. They also need the support of the American people. And a lot of the American people just looked at the past eight months and said, “These people don’t have to. in the interest of our country. “

Military leaders have often cited the need for a more inclusive military as the reason for their focus on eradicating extremism, racism and sexual harassment. But a senior official who spoke to Fox said those issues had been exaggerated beyond what the data supported.

“There are 2 million military personnel. They only saw a few dozen people hanging out on these real crazy websites saying, ‘We’re going to tear down the government. “”

“A few dozen out of 2 million are peanuts. Yet they forced the entire army to take a day off to talk about extremism,” said a senior official.

A senior official also discussed who exactly was behind the “awakened” push, suggesting Austin may be the least ideological of the top brass.

“The White House put all of these staff in as well, and it wasn’t the Austin people. Austin is surrounded – his chief of staff, the special assistant for extremism, the special assistant for change climate, the special assistant for COVID, by all these white extremists in the house. They were trying to control Austin, and they were trying to control the flow of information that came to him, “an official said.

“The Ministry of Defense is a multi-level organization with the ability to focus on various missions – from combat to humanitarian – while ensuring the readiness and readiness of our forces as well as obliging our members to uphold the highest standards of conduct, ”the Pentagon said. Secretary John Kirby told Fox News in an emailed statement.

“Secretary Austin is committed to maintaining and improving the combat readiness necessary to defend our country from foreign and domestic enemies, which means that the department places great importance on treating all personnel with dignity and respect. ”


Asked about the differences between the Trump and Biden administrations, a former senior official laughed.

“Oh my God. The last administration was so different… The leaders were thinking about war plans. Planning an audit, trying to improve efficiency,” said the former senior official.

Under Trump, officials focused on three main goals: “Increase lethality and preparedness, strengthen relations with allied partners and reform the department,” an official said.

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