Joe Biden was elected as a moderate who was going to stay the course and return this country to normalcy. As it turns out, Biden is changing this country faster than any president ever has. Our job is to pay attention to how exactly Joe Biden is changing it. The New York Times isn’t going to tell you, and we think you have a right to know.
Now, not every change that Joe Biden makes will matter over time. Despite all the huffing and puffing, a lot of things that presidents do are quickly forgotten. Some of the things he promises won’t happen; others are just symbolic ring-kissing, designed to appease the interest groups that got him elected. But some of Biden’s changes are very real, and they matter very much. Nothing matters more than what Joe Biden does to the U.S. military.
Our military is the last functional institution of any size in this country. It’s the last institution most people trust and respect. It is by far the most important. A weak military means no country. Period.
So on Monday, when we saw Joe Biden pledge to bring an "intensity of purpose and mission to really change the culture and habits" of the U.S. military, we paid attention.
JOE BIDEN: Some of it’s relatively straightforward work where we’re making good progress. Designing body armor that fits women properly, tailoring combat uniforms for women, creating maternity flight suits, updating requirements for their hairstyles.
Perhaps maternity flight suits have been around for a while. We’ve never heard of them. But here was the President of the United States promoting them at a press conference. That phrase stuck out not because we have some hateful bias against pregnant women flying military jets. We’re pro-pregnancy, as we often say. We’re also open-minded. Maybe pregnant women make the best pilots. The Department of Defense measures everything, so there has to be extensive research on this question. If the Pentagon can show that pregnant pilots are the best, we will be the first to demand an entire Air Force of pregnant pilots.
The problem is, we’re pretty confident that Joe Biden hasn’t asked to see those numbers. We’d bet money he never even thought to ask.
The rest of us depend on the U.S. military to protect our families and to protect the country itself. Joe Biden doesn’t see it that way. Finding the most effective military pilots — or infantry officers, or SEAL teams — is not his priority. It’s not even close to his priority. Identity politics is Joe Biden’s priority. It’s all that matters.
You see this attitude throughout the U.S. government, as well as in the corporate world. Key positions filled on the basis of physical appearance, without any reference to ability or experience. Now, you can get by with that if you’re Citibank, which now cares more about wokeness than about banking. (They can explain the results to their shareholders ten years from now.) But it is not fine if your only job is to protect the United States from people who want to kill the rest of us. That is the worst kind of dereliction of duty.
Yet it’s happening right now on an enormous scale. Just this week, the Biden administration announced that the Pentagon will pay for gender reassignment surgery for active duty personnel. How do sex changes in the military make this country safer? That’s not a trick question, it’s another volley in the culture war. It’s the only question that matters — literally. But no one bothered to ask it, probably because no one can remember why the U.S. military exists.
Here’s a reminder: the U.S. military exists to fight and win wars. That is its only purpose. The U.S. military is not an NGO. It is not a vehicle for achieving equity. It is not a social experiment. It’s definitely not an employment agency; nobody has a God-given right to work in the military. If you ever hear this show whine that Delta Force is discriminating against paunchy, 51-year-old cable news hosts, you’ll know we’ve lost the thread. It’s not about us, it’s about the country. Making people feel valued and included is a good thing, but it is not the point of the U.S. military. It cannot be the point of the U.S. military, or else we’re done.
This used to be obvious. The military was the purest meritocracy we had. If you get a minute, go back and listen to some of the speeches that Colin Powell used to give about his experience in the U.S. Army. The military was willing to judge Powell purely on his talents, something that few would do at the time. Powell was smart and capable, and for that reason, he became chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was justly proud of that, and so was the country he served. Would Colin Powell’s story be possible today? It would not.
Joe Biden has put a man called Lloyd Austin in charge of the Pentagon. Biden plucked Austin from the cynical world of private equity, but you’re not supposed to notice that. You’re supposed to notice only that Lloyd Austin is Black. The real headline, however, is that Lloyd Austin is the second defense secretary in a row to have been on the payroll of Raytheon, the massive defense contractor. If you saw something like this happen in a Central American country, you would call it corruption, and you would be right.
For centuries, our military has been self-consciously non-partisan. In a democracy, it has to be that way. No country can survive if its armed forces become the tool of a specific political party. We know that because it happens all the time, all over the world, and the consequences are always horrifying. It has never happened here.
However, Lloyd Austin is openly political. In his first days on the job, Austin made the entire armed services submit to a kind of political purity test. Anyone with views that he found "extreme" had to leave. The rest of us watched as this happened, and once again, no one said anything. The left approved, the right felt hamstrung because they support the troops. Of course, if you support the troops, you should probably speak up when they’re being abused.
Then Austin set about accelerating poisonous trends already in progress at the Pentagon, the worst of these being the use of irrelevant criteria in hiring and promotion. In order to meet the demands of various Democratic interest groups, the Pentagon has dramatically lowered standards in the services. They officially deny this, but it’s true. Ask anyone who works there. If you press the spokesmen, they’ll tell you that it’s not a big deal because traditional standards don’t really measure anything. Well, then why have them in the first place? Why have standards at all? It doesn’t make sense. They’re lying. And they’re lying because they have to lie. Politicians have demanded it.
Now, if you dare to point any of this out, they become hysterical because they can’t defend their own policies. When people can’t defend what they’ve done, they yell. They can’t even clearly explain what those policies are, at least publicly. So they attack.
You hear politicians like Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill. say that it’s unpatriotic to question the Pentagon unless you’ve served in the military yourself. You haven’t earned that right. Really? Can only cops talk about police brutality? If you haven’t been elected to office, can you criticize Congress? They’re not making a real argument. They’re trying to silence dissent.
We’re not playing along, sorry. Every American citizen has a right, maybe an obligation, to know what the military they pay for is doing because our lives may depend on it.
Thursday, the Department of Defense launched a large and coordinated public relations offensive against this show. Pentagon brass issued hostile statements. People in uniform sent out videos on social media. The DOD even issued a news release attacking us: "Press Secretary Smites Fox Host". (Smites! Like we’re a hostile foreign power.) We suspect this is one war they might actually win. They’ve got a manpower advantage.
We could play you a lot of the tape from this today -- it took up most of their day -- and we could marvel over it. Since when does the Pentagon declare war on a domestic news operation? We can’t remember that ever happening. But we’re going to pass on that, because this is bigger than a feud with some flack at the Pentagon. This is genuinely worrisome.
The Department of Defense has never been more aggressively or openly political. There are, at present, 2,500 American troops stationed in Afghanistan. They remain there to prevent the fall of Kabul to extremists. Simultaneously, there are 5,000 troops in our own Capitol, also as protection against "extremists," meaning people who voted for the losing candidate in the last election. Judging by those numbers, the Pentagon is twice as focused on controlling our own citizens as it is on controlling the Taliban.
Meanwhile, as Lloyd Austin hyperventilates about White supremacy, there are real threats out there, and the biggest ones continue to be ignored. Those threats aren’t in Syria or suburban Virginia, and they’re not domestic extremism, at least not right now.
The main threat we face, as everyone who is honest knows, is the government of China. China is ascendant. Their economy will soon outpace ours. China now has the largest navy on the planet. Why do they have that? Why did they feel the need to build it? Does that have potential consequences for us? Yes.
If China moved against Taiwan, how would we respond? More likely, if the Chinese decided to close international shipping lanes, it would cripple our economy. If they decided to shut down our internet, it would bring our life to a halt. If they decided to occupy Malaysia, that would be a grave concern to the world. If any of these things, or 100 other things that might take place, actually happen, what exactly would our Pentagon do about it? Can the U.S. military still win a real war?
Those are the questions that matter. Those are the only questions that matter, which may be why Joe Biden wants to talk about maternity flight suits.
This article is adapted from Tucker Carlson's commentary on the March 11, 2021 edition of "Tucker Carlson Tonight"