The Left will reform our military until it breaks

Summary: James Hasson’s new book, Stand Down, shows how the Left is implementing its theories on the US military. It is a pitiful tale entertainingly told. Perhaps it will motivate help Americans to stop the Left before they wreck the military. Either way, we will see the results during the next generation – for good or ill.

A Leftist experiments with the military to build a new society for America.

Mad Scientist - Dreamstime-99011265
ID 99011265 © Igor Mojzes | Dreamstime.

This is a story I have long wanted to tell. I lacked, however, the resources for the necessary research. Even with my extensive contacts among veterans, I found many interested in telling this story – but none willing to risk a firestorm by writing it. Hasson has done so.

During the 1990s the Left realized that they could change the military to better meet its vision of what American society should be. As America’s largest and (by most measures) most-trusted institution, they had to move slowly. But their growing power gained critical mass during the Obama years, and they struck decisively. This is a look at our future, because the government’s almost unlimited power over the military community allows Leftists to do in years what will take them decades to do to the nation.

Whether or not they agree with the wisdom of the changes described, readers must respect the thorough documentation and fairness of Hasson’s reporting. Much of what he shows will shock most readers, as centuries of military practice – based on hard-won experience – is being ripped up and thrown away. We will see the results during the next generation, for good or ill.

Stand Down: How Social Justice Warriors Are Sabotaging America's Military
Available at Amazon.


Stand Down:
How Social Justice Warriors Are
Sabotaging America’s Military.

By James Hasson (2019).

Hasson provides a thoroughly documented account of a program to radically change the culture of the US military. It has been mostly successful so far. He describes how basic training, the service academies, promotion machinery, and a score of other key military systems have been affected. There is little evidence of anything that might stop the Left’s continued success.

“This is not a rant about the glory days. I offer a comprehensive discussion of purposeful, monumental changes to the military’s culture. I examine policies set by persons who had no business setting military policy and had no idea what damage they were inflicting.

“Certainly, progressive social policies are not the only contributors to the readiness crisis. A broken acquisition system and rigid promotion timelines, for instance, play a role. So do cultural and demographical changes …It is important, however, to keep these other issues in mind as you read those discussed in this book, as they are the backdrop against which changes to the military’s culture and policies are being made. …

“And as you will see in the chapters to come, the social engineering of the hard left is incompatible with the military’s sole mission of winning wars.”

He shows, not tells, the story with many fun but sad anecdotes like this.

“For example, at the United States Naval Academy …“safe space” placards now proliferate outside the offices of civilian and military instructors alike. If the signs were stripped of identifying features, you would be hard pressed to distinguish them from those marking the offices of Yale gender studies professors. …

“The absurd uniform changes demonstrate the senselessness of a “genderless” military. Male and female uniforms are shaped differently for the same reason many other military policies differentiate between males and females – the male and female physiques are different in important ways. Indeed, while Mabus was trying to eliminate the differences between men’s and women’s uniforms, Democrats on Capitol Hill, complaining that standard-issue body armor unfairly burdened the female physique, were pushing for distinct male and female versions.”

He gives some fascinating quotes from the April 2015 “Gender Integration Study” by the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command. It concluded that …

“The Army faces the challenge of changing combat arms unit culture. A balance is required to retain high morale while removing the culture’s less desirable aspects.”

This also expresses the Left’s goal for America: using government power to change our culture. The problem is that they believe their ideology is sufficient, so there is no need for experimentation. No matter how estimable the Left’s goals, we need not be their lab rats.

Hasson shares many of the Left’s goals (e.g., he expresses considerable respect for women warriors). But he believes combat effectiveness is a higher goal, both to minimize casualties and better achieve victory. Diverting scarce training time to things like this does not help: “Soldiers don fake belly, breasts to better understand pregnant troops’ exercise concerns” by Seth Robson in Stars and Stripes. Then there are male ROTC cadets required to parade in high heels. And the training about micro-aggressions. What is the significance of these incidents?

“A casual observer might assume that this emphasis on implicit bias, equal opportunity training, and other progressive fixations amounts to a minor annoyance. They are anything but. These misplaced priorities take a serious toll on training and readiness. Hours spent teaching soldiers and sailors about their subconscious biases or instructing them about the respectful use of pronouns are hours that cannot be dedicated to preparing them for their essential tasks – jobs that our nation, which is sending that unit into harm’s way, expects and relies on them to accomplish.”

Also, the effect on morale and pride can easily be imagined (expect no studies by DoD about this).

Hasson provides a few set-piece examples of Leftists’ direct influence on the military. The first describes how the Army brass decided that some women would get the Army’s ranger badge – and were willing to give them every advantage necessary for them to do so – even passing them when a man would have failed. See excerpts from that chapter in the Daily Signal: “The Inside Story Of How The Army Reduced Standards To Get Women Through Ranger Training” and “How The Army Tried To Avoid Telling The Truth About Women In Ranger Training.” They are well worth reading.

The tale of our time describes the origin and execution of the integration of transgender people. Like most Leftist social engineering projects, it was skillfully executed (experience has given them tactical excellence). On 12 March, Deputy SecDef Norquist signed a directive reinstating restrictions for transgender personnel. On 28 March, the House approved by a straight-party-line vote a resolution expressing opposition to restrictions on openly transgender individuals. For details, see Wikipedia.

Hasson gives many more examples of the profound restructuring of the US military culture now in progress.

About solutions.

“{This} is a cautionary work of journalism, a warning about the state of our armed forces, and an appeal to the American people to demand changes. The stakes are too high to leave these policies unchallenged.”

Hasson did not write Stand Down as infotainment. It is, like the FM website, intended to motivate us to press for action. As with most books about military reform – and reform of America – Hasson clearly describes what should be done. Like so many conservatives, he hopes the Trump administration will take what is to him the obvious and necessary steps. This shows that he misunderstands the problem – although he is right about the larger point: public pressure is necessary for reform.

It is year three of the Trump era. Team Trump’s actions have been most decisive when helping the 1%: tax cuts, cutting regulations that depress profits, crushing unions, etc. See the Obama policies that Trump & Co. have rolled back. The only major action Trump has taken on Hasson’s list is the rollback of Obama’s regulations about transgendered soldiers – and boosting spending on the military.

There is a reason for this. It’s all about the money. Once the GOP boosted spending – especially on big-profit projects for defense corps – they were happy. Republicans do not care if the F-35 fighter or USS Gerald Ford supercarrier work, or if the Army institutes round-the-clock training on how to stop microaggressions, or if the military continues its record of not winning. Just keep the money flowing!

America is undergoing widespread institutional collapse. They are falling like dominoes. Hasson has documented one facet of decline in one of our largest and most important institutions. Hopefully, at some point this drumbeat of bad news will spark Americans into action.

Update: as usual, the action is in the reaction. Lots of fascinating reactions to this, which (inadvertently) reveal the nature of the problem. They are even more disturbing than the evidence in Hasson’s book. For another day …

More about Stand Down

James Hasson
Photo from the publisher of Stand Down.

About the author

James Hasson, a former captain in the U.S. Army, is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Virginia School of Law. He graduated from U.S. Army Ranger School and received the Bronze Star Medal in Afghanistan. He has worked with members of Congress on military issues, appeared on media programs from Tucker Carlson Tonight to National Public Radio, and is a frequent contributor to The Washington Examiner, The Federalist, and other publications. (From the publisher.)

For More Information

Ideas! For shopping ideas see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about our generals, about our officer corps, about ways to reform the military, and especially these about our officer corps …

  1. Overhauling The Officer Corps to build a military that can win wars – by David Evans (Lieutenant Colonel, USMC, retired).
  2. Reforming the US Army: can be done, must be done – by Don Vandergriff (Major, US Army, retired).
  3. Careerism and Psychopathy in the US Military – by G. I. Wilson (Colonel, USMC, retired).
  4. How the US Army decayed. Does anyone want to fix it? – by Douglas Macgregor.
  5. About the US Army’s leadership problem – by Don Vandergriff.
  6. Admiral Rickover’s gift to us: showing that we can reform America’s military.
  7. A path to desperately needed reform of the US military.

Essential reading for those who want to win, occasionally

See these books by Donald Vandergriff (Major, US Army, retired). See his Wikipedia entry. See his posts, all well-worth reading by those who want to better understand our military and our wars.

Raising the Bar: Creating and Nurturing Adaptability to Deal with the Changing Face of War
Available at Amazon.
Manning the Future Legions of the United States: Finding and Developing Tomorrow's Centurions
Available at Amazon.

2 thoughts on “The Left will reform our military until it breaks”

  1. Do a significant fraction of our elites consider the military such a threat to their rule that they wish to neuter its personnel?

    Related to your post, my neighbor left the Army after numerous tours some time during the Clinton era. One major reason he gave me was that he noticed the politically-correct rot setting in and had had enough. It’s too bad, because in my opinion he’s a standup guy and the kind of man most soldiers would willingly follow into danger. I’ll ask him more about it next time I see him.

    1. Green,

      (1) I doubt than any of our elites see the military as a threat.

      (2) I too hear stories like that. However, the Army had a much larger retention crisis in the late 1990s (see posts about that here). Perhaps this is same phenomenon, returning as the WOT fades – but with different reasons given.

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