A guest editorial found by John Sams done by Michael A.Walsh.
By Michael A. Walsh
Just when you think that our government can’t get any sillier, along comes something like the Military Leadership Diversity Commission — and let’s face it, up to now you didn’t even realize such a thing existed — to crush your hopes that any sensible people are left in Washington, DC.
The diversity commission last week issued its completely unawaited report to call for, you guessed it, more diversity among military leadership. Not great fighting effectiveness, which should always be job No. 1. Not smarter leadership. Not braver fighting generals and fewer rear-echelon paper-pushers.
No, what this country really needs from the Pentagon is better diversity management, including a chief diversity officer reporting directly to the defense secretary.
It seems the problem is — wait for it — that the officer corps has too many white males. This, of course, will come as a shock to George Washington, U.S. Grant, Black Jack Pershing, George Patton and Dwight D. Eisenhower, who somehow managed to struggle through to victory without the accumulated wisdom of the Military Leadership Diversity Commission, created by the Pelosi-Reid Congress in 2009.
“The commission believes that the diversity of our service members is the unique strength of our military,” writes the chairman, Lester Lyles, to President Obama, in a cover letter for the report. “Current and future challenges can be better met by broadening our understanding of diversity.”
Hold it right there.
“The unique strength of our military”? Only in the wonderful world of government PC-speak and corporate sensitivity training is this fantasy not laughed out of the regiment. Our all-volunteer military has many strengths — superior weaponry, better tactics, more education and, since 2001, matchless battlefield and combat experience — but “diversity” shouldn’t rank high among them. Instead, it’s a welcome by-product of recruitment, talent, brains, courage and drive — the things that make American forces the best in the world.
In fact, unless the goal of your outfit is nose counting, “diversity” is basically meaningless. The overriding measure for any organization ought to be its effectiveness at getting the job done — and that goes double for an institution designed first and foremost to kill people and blow things up in the defense of freedom, liberty and the USA.
In any case, since President Harry Truman integrated the armed forces in 1948 with Executive Order 9981, the US military has been a leader, not a follower when it comes to “inclusion.” In no other area of American life have first the races (and now the sexes) been treated so fairly or performed together more effectively — something that even the diversity commission has to admit:
“The commission acknowledges that the services have been leaders in providing opportunities for all service members, regardless of their racial/ethnic background or gender.”
But of course that’s not good enough for the nose-counters — not when 77 percent of active-duty senior officers are white, 8 percent black, 5 percent Hispanic and 16 percent are women.
“The Armed Forces have not yet succeeded in developing a continuing stream of leaders who are as demographically diverse as the nation they serve.”
Yet, according to the 2010 census, whites account for nearly 75 percent of the population, and blacks 12.4 percent, while Latinos can fall into either category. The “problem” seems minor.
Among other things, the commission recommends that since combat is often a ticket to promotion, we need women in combat units, where they can have the same opportunity as a man either to be promoted — or be killed.
But combat effectiveness is not what this report is all about. Instead, it gives the game away right at the beginning: Its first injunction is that we must “Define Diversity for a New Era.” Everything that comes after is seen through this myopic, PC prism.
Fortunately, at least one man in Washington knows how to spell bunkum: Lt. Col. Allen West, now a congressman from Florida, who called the report a “slap in the face” to those minorities who have forged successful careers in the services without the help of diversity commissions.
The outspoken colonel, whose political career is poised for takeoff, is absolutely right. The president and the Pentagon should thank the commission for its work, put the report in the trash and get on with the dirty business of fighting — and winning — the nation’s diverse wars.
Michael Walsh, a former associate editor of Time, is the author (writing as “David Kahane”) of “Rules for Radical Conservatives.”