Members of the military, uniformed and civilian, are strictly prohibited from engaging in overt political activities. Those rules exist to keep them focused on their mission — defending the nation.
But apparently, someone in the US Army’s Equity and Inclusion Agency has forgotten the rules. With a course titled “Operation Inclusion,” the agency is promoting the line that if you support enforcing immigration law, or say things like “all lives matter,” then you’re a white supremacist.
GOP Rep. Mo Brooks blew the lid when he learned the agency had organized two seminars to re-educate all of the uniformed and civilian personnel at Redstone Arsenal, Ala. Brooks demanded an immediate investigation into “Army personnel illegally using federal government resources to distribute racist and partisan political propaganda in direct violation” of federal law and military regulations.
Yet the two seminars at Redstone are just the first offerings of the program. Eventually, the woke agency plans to bring them to “all Army four-star commands.”
What, exactly, is Operation Inclusion bringing to the bases? Well, the agency e-mail inviting all Redstone Arsenal personnel to the seminar included a pyramid graphic that claimed certain phrases — including “Make America Great Again,” President Trump’s campaign theme — are evidence of “Covert White Supremacy” that is lamentably “social accetable [sic].”
Indeed, according to the graphic, you are a racist if you discuss any of these ideas or use any of the following phrases:
- All Lives Matter
- Denial of White Privilege
- Inequitable Health Care
- Anti-Immigration Policies
- English-Only Initiatives
- Celebration of Columbus Day
- American Exceptionalism
- Claiming Reverse Racism
- There is Only One Human Race
There are dozens of more suspect phrases and themes that cover every aspect of the liberal social, cultural and political orthodoxy. Apparently, if you fail to embrace “progressive” views on virtually all issues — if, for example, you believe in “colorblindness,” another prohibited concept — you are no better than a Klan member. The graphic even features a cartoon of a man in a T-shirt that says “White America” holding a sign saying “I Can’t See.”
Also included in the e-mail was another poster from the Assistant Secretary of Army-Manpower and Reserve Affairs, urging recipients to read five different articles, including one titled “Five Practices and Three Myths That Fuel Inequality.” What are the three “myths”? They are “efficiency,” “meritocracy” and “positive globalization” (huh?).
There is no doubt the Army’s Office of Inclusion and Equity can find ways to teach military personnel about the positive values of inclusion and equity in a nonpartisan way. Instead, it has taken a different, highly toxic approach that if anything feeds racial stereotyping.
America’s armed forces have worked for decades to promote racial equality — indeed, they are pioneers in this regard. And they have worked tirelessly to achieve a force composed of well-trained, disciplined, apolitical warriors, regardless of race or gender. Yes, there is work to do, but the military — from boot camp to officer training — strives to be a place where hard work and rule-following are rewarded.
Partisan political baggage has no place in the military, nor should it.
But now, as Rep. Brooks reports, an Army agency has distributed official Army material from an official Army e-mail account claiming that the campaign slogan of the president of the United States is racist. That’s plainly illegal. And it’s morally wrong. Brooks has a point, and the Army has some explaining to do.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, and the Army general counsel, should look into this — and then take appropriate action against those found in violation of the law.
Hans von Spakovsky is a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Charles “Cully” Stimson, also a senior legal fellow, heads Heritage’s National Security Law Program.