President Joe Biden’s Pentagon has seemed more concerned about fighting its own troops and the weather than about America’s actual enemies.
But on Monday, according to Breitbart News, House Republicans were able to claim victory over two of Biden’s top woke priorities for the Defense Department.
Breitbart reported that a group of House and Senate lawmakers hammering out details of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act scrapped Biden’s “Office of Countering Extremism.”
The lawmakers also did away with a proposal that would have permitted military courts to issue so-called “red flag” orders, which are protective orders that could be cited to confiscate guns from active-duty personnel without allowing them due process.
The Office of Countering Extremism was an invention wrought from Biden’s rhetoric about alleged white supremacists in the ranks of the military.
Biden made such remarks almost from the moment he took office. And Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the Pentagon’s first black chief, has played along, although with little proof of the actual threat.
During his confirmation hearing, Austin proclaimed “The job of the Department of Defense is to keep America safe from our enemies. But we can’t do that if some of those enemies lie within our own ranks.”
In February, the Pentagon reportedly announced the results of a study of white supremacy. Despite the applause and overheated rhetoric in support of Biden and Austin, the report offered little evidence.
It admitted that there were a “low number of cases in absolute terms” of supposed white supremacists, and tried to sell that as a risk by arguing this “low number” had “extremist affiliations and military experience [that] are a concern to U.S. national security because of their proven ability to execute high-impact events.”
The next one of those events, by the way, will be the first.
Still, Democrats wanted the plan to work. Just last month, Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee released a summary of the NDAA that said the extremist-hunting office was necessary “to better protect America’s service members,” and would be “responsible for training and education about extremist activities, data collection and analysis, and countering extremism within the DoD.”
Republican lawmakers countered that Biden and Austin really wanted an avenue around the First Amendment to snoop on the political beliefs or social media posts of conservative, Trump-supporting troops, and then kick them out for being “extremists.”
The Breitbart report comes after a Free Press article on Friday that noted Florida Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott were leading a group of GOP senators who wanted Austin to explain his methodology.
“In the wake of the U.S. Department of Justice’s efforts to silence parents protesting anti-American racial indoctrination being taught in schools across the country, we are deeply concerned that this latest effort by the Biden Administration will target service members who voice opposition to woke, Leftist ideology under the guise of protecting our ‘national security interest,’” the lawmakers said in the letter.
“In today’s society,” they informed Austin, “the definition of ‘extremist’ is skewed to the person creating the definition.”
Accordingly, they added, “It is imperative that the Biden Administration and the DoD use existing resources to target legitimate threats, not use this working group as a cudgel to harass or silence conservative members of the armed forces.”
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