Replacing the officer class of police and military ranks with politicized ideologues who will bend to a transformative dogma is a strategy that has worked in places like the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Venezuela. One man is stopping President Joe Biden from doing that to the U.S. armed forces: Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL).
The Alabama Republican is facing a great deal of opposition as he blocks Biden’s drive to fill the top brass with woke-obeisant officers. Such disapproval comes not least from a key Republican in the Senate: Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). But there is a streak of stubbornness in the former football head coach at Auburn, Mississippi, and Texas Tech that allowed him to compile a career 159-99 record. Tuberville shows no sign of bending.
Now, it’s important to note that Tuberville originally started blocking military promotions in the pursuit of another goal. He has vowed to block the Senate's use of "unanimous consent" to expedite military appointments until the Defense Department retracts its policy of giving enlisted women three weeks’ leave to get an abortion and reimbursing the cost of travel involved with taxpayer money. There is also the fact that more than 300 people are awaiting Senate confirmation, and they’re not all woke.
However, as the Washington Examiner’s Jamie McIntyre reported, Tuberville is expanding his rationale. The senator now says that unanimous consent allows too many "woke" officers to make it through. Either way, Tuberville’s hold is stopping awful nominations, including that of Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. to the top position of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
McConnell says he doesn’t "support putting a hold on military nominations." And Biden is obviously also not happy with Tuberville.
"What Sen. Tuberville is doing is not only wrong—it is dangerous,” a presidential statement argued last month. "In this moment of rapidly evolving security environments and intense competition, he is risking our ability to ensure that the United States armed forces remain the greatest fighting force in the history of the world."
Only it is what Biden is doing to the military that is wrong and dangerous. As my Heritage Foundation colleague Fred Lucas writes, Biden is trying to promote a raft of military officers who buy into the administration’s radical theories on race and sex and an extreme climate agenda. This strategy has a name. As my friend James Lindsay reminds me, it’s called "entryism," and it’s the practice of placing your political confederates in positions of power. The British socialist journal the New Statesman attributes the practice to the Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky. As Lindsay posted back in 2021, entryism means "getting their political opponents to quit or be fired so they can be replaced with apparatchiks."
Tuberville, thus, is stopping the promotion of woke apparatchiks. One glaring example is Air Force Col. Ben Jonsson, formerly the vice superintendent at the Air Force Academy, whom Biden wants to elevate to brigadier general. That would be Jonsson’s reward for an op-ed he wrote in July 2020, at the height of the Black Lives Matter-induced protests and riots that shook the nation. The op-ed was addressed to "white colonels," who he called "the biggest barriers to change." He signed off by recommending reading White Fragility, a book by race hustler Robin DiAngelo.
Yes, Jonsson just worked at the Air Force Academy. Yes, Biden wants to promote him to general. And no, he’s by no means the only example of this wokeness concern. What happens in the military does not come in a vacuum but can be seen throughout society. The fallacy that police kill our black compatriots with "astounding frequency," as a Manhattan Institute paper put it in 2022, took hold of society post-2020 and led many good people to uncritically accept that America is systemically racist and, thus, in need of a systemic overhaul.
The paper found that 80% of black Americans and half of white Biden voters thought that black men were more likely to be shot by police than die in a car crash, and that the number was around 1,000 per year. Even one-fifth of conservative voters believed that. In a heartfelt piece in June 2020, Air Force Sgt. Kaleth O. Wright wrote, "What happens all too often in this country to Black men who are subjected to police brutality that ends in death … could happen to me."
The reality is that "confirmed fatal police shootings of unarmed African-Americans number about 22 per year," according to the paper. Even if in line with benchmarks such as violent crime offenders and arrests, that number is still too high, and policy must address the causes. But it is far below the 1,000 popularly believed.
That fallacy was the result of a purposeful manipulation of the facts by the architects of BLM, Marxists with a plan to overhaul society. The Biden administration is now using it for "entryism." We can thank Tuberville, who posted this month that "The Biden Administration’s liberal and woke policies are the real threat to military readiness," for standing in the way.
This piece originally appeared in Restoring America by the Washington Examiner