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Our Strangelove Military

Pete Souza

William Kilpatrick - published on 06/11/14 - updated on 06/07/17

Gender confusion? How about plain old conventional confusion? Valerie Jarrett, one of the president’s top advisers, once attended a reception where she mistook a four-star general for a waiter. But that’s nothing. James Clapper, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, mistook the Muslim Brotherhood for “a largely secular organization.” The Brotherhood’s creed is: “God is our objective; the Koran is our law; the Prophet is our leader; jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.” Luckily, the code-breakers at National Intelligence were able to determine the hidden message in all this — namely, “We are largely secular.” Meanwhile, John Brennan, the head of the CIA, has on at least a couple of occasions described jihad as a “holy struggle…to purify oneself or one’s community.” This is roughly equivalent to the World War II head of intelligence thinking that blitzkrieg was German for “cherry blintz.”

In an era when diversity and sensitivity trump security, such intelligence failures are to be expected. After Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan murdered fourteen people at Fort Hood, Army Chief of Staff General George Casey opined that although the massacre was a tragedy, “it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here.” That’s the kind of talk one might expect from the gung-ho General Turgidson in Dr. Strangelove. But in its own way the Fort Hood story is as strange as anything in Strangelove. When the film was produced, the idea of having the commander of a nuclear bomber wing go bonkers was considered daring. We’ve been on our guard against zealous right-wing generals ever since. But how about zealous Muslim psychiatrists? That sort of threat wasn’t even on the radar when Stanley Kubrick directed and produced the film.

Kubrick could hardly have imagined that, half a century on, our troops would have to worry about a gun-wielding Muslim psychiatrist and the politically correct protocols that enabled him. After all, the plot of Dr. Strangelove hinges on the fact that no one realizes General Ripper is unhinged until it’s too late. The crazy thing about the Fort Hood massacre is that many people knew that there was something radically wrong with Hasan long before the shooting, but they also knew that they might get sentenced to six months sensitivity training or worse if they said anything about it. As the Associated Press reported, “a fear of appearing discriminatory against a Muslim [medical] student kept officers from filing a formal written complaint.” So they held their tongues, and instead of being handed his walking papers, Hasan was given the Pentagon’s Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and various glowing recommendations. Even after the shooting, political correctness held sway. After conducting a lengthy investigation, the Department of Defense concluded that the jihad massacre was just a typical case of “workplace violence.”

What if liberals with their PC ways ran the Army? We’re beginning to find out. It’s not just that political correctness allows misfits like Bradley Manning and Nidal Hasan to fly under the radar, in effect it turns off the radar. In 2011 and 2012, at the behest of Muslim lobby groups, the FBI, the Department of Defense, and other national security agencies were ordered to purge their counterterror training materials of any references to Islam that the activist groups found offensive. In effect, Islamists now decide what America’s defenders will learn about Islam. (Hint: it’s all about peace.)

Meanwhile, as the military becomes more non-offensive in the PC sense, it’s also becoming more non-offensive in the sense of not having enough men and materials to defend our country’s interests. The Pentagon recently announced plans to scale back the U.S. Army by more than an eighth. That will bring it back to the lowest level since before World War II. This comes at a time when Russia is eyeing Ukraine, China is eyeing various Pacific islands, and Islamists are eyeing the whole planet. However, it’s not as though our own military is unconcerned with the planet. The Army has been switching to environmentally friendly lead-free “green” bullets. Reportedly they don’t have as much stopping power as the old bullets, but what the heck — they’re good for the eco-system!

Although the PCing of the military is extremely serious and possibly catastrophic in its consequences, it also has its comic side. The situation cries out for the Dr. Strangelove treatment. Will Hollywood move to exploit the comic potential inherent in an army that’s forced to play by liberal rules?

Don’t hold your breath. The same people who now run the government and military also run the media and entertainment industries. But just in case anyone should be interested, it so happens that I have written a short comic novel along those very lines. It’s titled Insecurity and it’s available on Amazon here. Check it out. That’s an order, mister!

William Kilpatrick taught for many years at Boston College. He is the author of several books about cultural and religious issues, including Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right From Wrong and, most recently, Insecurity.

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