by Watson Cassandra
When 13 U.S. service members were killed by suicide bombers as American citizens were abandoned in Afghanistan last August—in perhaps the most ill planned military operation since our efforts in Somalia which resulted in naked U.S. servicemen being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu—it should have given us a clue about the Biden Administration’s priorities. Much as the Somalian disaster led to a massive influx of Somali immigrants, which is changing the makeup of the Midwest, we can soon expect a surge in Afghan immigration.
In retaliation for the Kabul airport bombings, the United States conducted a drone strike on what the world was told were ISIS-K members. When confronted about the irregularities of the operation, General Mark Milley described the air attack as a “righteous strike.” We later learned this “righteous strike” killed an innocent aid worker and nine members of his family. No one has been held accountable for this tragic political slaughter.
When Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller posted a now viral video criticizing the competence of the regional geographic commander Marine General Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr. and President Trump’s appointee to Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Mark Milley, he also offered to resign from the Marine Corps. The resignation was not accepted but Scheller was subsequently arrested and held for a week in the “brig,” the Marine equivalent of jail. Scheller pleaded guilty to violating several articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including Article 88 (contempt toward officials), Article 89 (disrespect toward superior commissioned officers), Article 90 (willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer), Article 92 (dereliction in the performance of duties), Article 92 (failure to obey order or regulation), and Article 133 (conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman). Of course, there are some in the media who say Scheller is just an insurrectionist, and argue that no tears should be shed for him. On the other hand, no one subject to the UCMJ was ever charged for criticizing President Trump.
Too many colleagues and civilians find these events surprising, but no one should be surprised. After all, the current administration has told us what its priorities are for keeping the country “safe” and it has demonstrated what it is willing to do to enforce those priorities.
On March 3, 2021 Joe Biden released his administration’s Interim National Security Strategic Guidance report (INSSG). The intent of the INSSG is to provide immediate direction to all agencies and, essentially, to update and replace Trump’s National Security Strategy.
Normally, the National Security Strategy focuses on external threats, how those threats can be met, and what the domestic response to them should be. Biden’s INSSG is unique in that early on it states, “. . . [D]emocracies across the globe, including our own, are increasingly under siege. Free societies have been challenged from within by corruption, inequality, polarization, populism, and illiberal threats to the rule of law.”
Interestingly, the administration views threats from within as perhaps the greatest danger to the United States. The president also has directed all U.S. agencies under his control to align with the INSSG.
A quick review of the INSSG notes that “extremism” is mentioned seven times. In comparison, Russia is mentioned only five times. The statement also includes this quote, “Domestic violent extremism challenges core principles of our democracy and demands policies that protect public safety while promoting our values and respecting our laws.” Clearly an indication the current government views internal political disagreement as a significant threat.
A simple tool for finding out what the administration believes is important is to conduct a word search in the document for terms mentioned the most. For instance, “economic” is perhaps the most frequently mentioned key term at 34 times. China, in contrast, is only mentioned 15 times. The spirit of the statement respecting economics, however, is best summarized by this quote:
We have an enduring interest in expanding economic prosperity and opportunity, but we must redefine America’s economic interests in terms of working families’ livelihoods, rather than corporate profits or aggregate national wealth. That places an imperative on an economic recovery grounded in equitable and inclusive growth . . . .
The INSSG wants all agencies to work on redefining the U.S. economy.
Meanwhile, “NATO” is mentioned once, and “proliferation” a mere four times. So much for our external threats and alliances.
In addition to “economic,” other terms that have pride of place include “climate” (mentioned 27 times), “democracy” (mentioned 23 times), “domestic” (mentioned eight times), “law” (mentioned 10 times), and “extremism” (mentioned seven times).
It seems the authors of the INSSG consider economic issues and climate change the greatest threats to the United States. In response to climate change, however, the INSSG proposes only domestic solutions, even though such a concern (if real) must be a global matter. The INSSG does not contemplate going to war to end carbon emissions in China, or pollution in India. The proposed solutions within the INSSG are all domestic. Other topics of concern in the INSSG are domestic criminal justice reform as well as the elimination of domestic extremism.
Of course, the ever-sacred “diversity” is mentioned seven times. Diversity is so important to our national security that it is mentioned more often than Russia. The INSSG also highlights climate action, criminal justice reform, “inequalities in educational access,” “income inequality,” and the fight against “tax havens.”
So if you want to know why Lt. Col. Scheller was incarcerated, it is because the INSSG insists he is the sort of domestic threat that cannot be tolerated. When you question why the Department of Justice is wielding the force of federal law enforcement at local school board meetings, just read the INSSG comments on education. Why would Biden want to add 87,000 IRS agents? The answer is in the INSSG. If you see a billboard asking you to report “hate crime” to the FBI while on your commute to work, there should be no surprises as the administration has already told us what they believe the threats are and what they will do to stop them.
Why has no general, planner, or weapons commander been held accountable for the disasters of the Kabul airport bombing, and the “righteous strike” of innocents? Presumably, because they agree with the goals of the INSSG. Arnold Toynbee said, “Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.” The United States has sacrificed 20 years of blood and treasure in Afghanistan, only to have the associates of Mullah Omar, including Mullah Omar’s son, assume the reins of authority in Taliban Afghanistan. And now we have an administration that believes the greatest threats are those citizens who disagree with the administration’s agenda.
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Captain Watson Cassandra is the pseudonym of a writer serving in the United States military. He is a graduate of a lot of Professional Military Education and is a veteran of the Iraq War, and like his namesake, Dr. Watson, the Afghan campaigns. It should go without saying that the views expressed in his articles are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. government.
Photo “United We Stand & Patriots March for America” by Fibonacci Blue. CC BY 2.0.