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Rep. Matt Gaetz Takes Down Secretary of Defense Austin for Prioritizing Socialism and Wokeism Over Military Readiness

Tuesday’s House Armed Services Committee hearing on the Fiscal Year 2023 Defense Budget Request was a great show, during which Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz took on the poor and incompetent performance of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. The encounter began innocently, but the hatred that the two men felt for each other was on the table. What follows is a paraphrase of their remarks:

Gaetz: “Secretary Austin, what is the reason [for] American taxpayers fund[ing] seminars at [the] National Defense University that promote socialism as a way to fight China?”

Austin: “The National Defense University is an educational institution. I'm not aware of any lectures by them…”

Gaetz: “The reason for that is because it was widely covered. It was reported that the National Defense University had Thomas Piketty visit and give a talk. The title of his talk: ‘Responding to China: The Case for Global Justice and Democratic Socialism.’ Now you are aware of the reason they [made this decision]. Do you think that socialism's embrace is an effective strategy to fight China?”

Austin: “The truth is that I do not agree with the idea of embracing socialism.”

Gaetz: “That's what it is…”

The chair of the committee white-knighting Austin: “I'm sorry, but we're not planning to do this. We're not going [to] let Austin speak, say four sentences and then end his speech. We're not…”

Gaetz: “I am in charge of the clock… I control the time, Monsieur. Chairman.”

White Knight: “Yes, however, you have to be honest with the witness.”

Gaetz: “I received the answer I was looking for. I'm going to follow up. My [next] question is: If we don't support it, then what is the reason why [the] National Defense University put out an [official] announcement, which again is paid for by US taxpayers. They said, ‘In this talk, Mr. Piketty will argue that the right answer lies in ending Western arrogance and promoting a new emancipatory and egalitarian horizon on a global scale, a new form of democratic and participatory, ecological and postcolonial socialism.’ Why should we invite people who we aren't [in agreement] with to preach ideas and beliefs that [we don’t share]  in the National Defense University when we should be learning strategies on the best ways to fight our enemies and come up with accurate assessments of our enemies?”

Austin: “We do learn lots of things about strategy and about the military, as well as the development of joint forces. That’s the main focus of these institutions. I’m not sure what’s the significance of this particular…or the meaning in this specific…”

Gaetz: “Mr. Secretary, I’ve given you the context. The purpose was to know about socialism in order to stop it. The purpose of the context was not to learn about it. Therefore, we could offer alternatives. The idea was that it was time to implement socialism. The reason I know that’s the meaning is because the lecture was adapted from a book by Thomas Piketty entitled ‘Time for Socialism.’ It’s hard to resist the urge to [point out] the fact that you’ve had to…”

Austin: “Your question to me was about whether…”

Gaetz: “I am in control of the timing.”

Austin: “The question you asked was something about the concept of socialism.”

Gaetz: “The guys are blowing up a number of calls recently.”

Austin: “The answer is no…”

Gaetz then dragged Austin to the brink of fire in a variety of issues, including the Defense Department predicting it would take months or even years, if it ever happened, for the Taliban to take control of Afghanistan and also forecasting a quick Russian victory in Ukraine. Gaetz was adamant that Austin was in the wrong by allowing China and Russia to steal the lead with the development of hypersonic missiles. And he accused Austin of taking advantage of Americans with his boldness in asking for $773 billion from taxpayers despite repeated failures in military assessments.

Gaetz: “On issues of strategy, Secretary, we were told that Russia would not lose. We were told that the Taliban would not be able to win immediately. So, I’m guessing the $773 billion that you’re asking for today will help make accurate assessments even in the face of so many false calls.”

Austin: “The budget is out. You’ve seen the items included in this budget. You’ve observed how the budget aligns with strategy. Let it speak for itself.”

Gaetz: “I’ve also noticed that we’re in the back of the race, Secretary. We’re behind in hypersonics, and we’ve failed to stop Russia. The year before…”

Austin: “What do you mean by ‘we’re behind’ in hypersonics? What do you mean by that?”

Gaetz: “Okay, who’s the one ahead in hypersonics?”

Austin: “What do you think you can do to determine that?”

Gaetz: “I think that’s because China is deploying hypersonic weapons, while we’re still working on the technology. I’m making that statement as a result of Russia… Then the people you work for tell us that we’re behind and that China wins. Have you heard about the information we receive on hypersonics?”

Austin: “[I’m] aware of the information we provide to Congress.”

Gaetz: “The issue isn’t only hypersonics. It’s everywhere on the globe. It’s happening in Taiwan the last time China carried out more flights than it has ever done. This is North Korea on pace to surpass previous records in how many missiles they test. The rest of the world is developing new capabilities and becoming more strategic. We’ve got the time to adopt Critical Race Theory at West Point as well as socialism in the National Defense University, to conduct mandatory pronoun training. Do you have a way to evaluate…”

Austin: “As I said, this is the most powerful and most credible force around the globe. It has been and will continue to be in the future.”

Gaetz: “It’s not a good idea to follow this route. Not if we embrace socialism.”

Austin: “The fact you’re ashamed of the country you’re from…”

Gaetz: “No, no, no. I'm ashamed of your leadership. I'm not embarrassed by my country. I'd rather not be beaten by China. I wish we didn't fall… It's a shame…an absolute disgrace [for you] to come…here and present your own failures, conflating them with the shortcomings of uniformed military personnel. You said Russia could take over Ukraine within 36 days. You also said that the Taliban [would] be held [back] from taking over for months. You completely bluffed those claims, and perhaps we'd [be] better off [if] we had [the] National Defense University work a bit more on strategy and less on [wokism].”

Austin: “Have you thought in your mind that Russia isn't a threat to Ukraine because of what we have done with our allies?”

Gaetz: “Then that fact was a part of your flawed analysis. I read how the Obama Administration was trying to dismantle our military by depriving it of its resources. It seems like [the] Biden Administration is trying to destroy our military. [The] Biden Administration is trying to degrade our military by feeding it with the forced ideology of [wokeism].”

Let's be honest. Our military, particularly at the highest levels, is in a state of chaos. It's becoming increasingly political (this is not something new). While the general public may think of admirals and general officers as violent fascists, they are mostly socially and fiscally liberal Democrats. The real coin is wokeism in all its variants. It is the coda that says “duty, honor, country” remains on life support. Remember that General Milley was close to a rebellion in protest against President Donald Trump. In the US Army Museum at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, is an exhibit honoring the first general who was a lesbian, Major General (ret.) Tammy Smith. The only thing they don't reveal is that she lied about her sexuality to secure her job, during a time when homosexuality was, in fact, not considered a valid criterion for military service. They also overlook the scores of senior officers who knew Smith was gay and chose to support her for promotions. Then we saw Navy admirals who resisted orders given by the president of the United States. 

The Navy as the US defense in a conflict with China is more like an insurance program for contractors for defense rather than a military organization. When your readiness for combat gets so bad that even a liberal Democrat is aware of it, you've got issues. The commanding officer of the Pacific Fleet is saying that his fleet is under extreme stress. Even though we're at peace. What happens if shooting begins?

The service has established a Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity office within the Pentagon to ensure that the correct melanin and gender levels are accessible in the correct locations. Women are being put into the battle arms of the Army and Marines. They haven’t been pushed into the arms of combat due to manpower (oops!) shortages, or because some highly woke general officers decided that they didn't want to see their combat effectiveness lest these young women and men die without cause as they chose to be woke. The lie we were made to believe was that women should be able to meet the same physical requirements for the job as men. It's not true. It's never been true.

One of the most memorable assertions was in his final remarks. “You totally blew those calls [about Afghanistan and Ukraine],” Gaetz declared, “and maybe we'd be better at it if you and the National Defense University worked a bit more on strategy and less on [wokeism].”

Indeed.

There is no evidence to suggest that our military schools' senior institutions produce graduates who are more adept at guiding national military strategy than graduates of standard undergraduate gender studies programs due to the fact that the focus has remained identical in both institutions. Have you ever listened to an articulated strategy for completing the objectives in Afghanistan? Was there an effort for Afghanistan that could have produced anything that could be described as a success?

Although the US military entered the second quarter of the 20th century with an uninterrupted series of victories, the past 70 years have not been kind. The areas where we have been the most successful have been in battles that an Infantry major would prepare for (Panama, Grenada). The conflicts that require a comprehensive strategy have not been successes. This is due to the fact that we've created the new Generation of General Officers, which includes field commanders who do not consider strategic acumen or tactical expertise as an essential part of their duties. Instead, they're self-seeking careerists and resource managers.

The Secretary of Defense is in Congress asking for more than the total gross domestic product of Poland to protect the nation, but he is unable to explain the reasons why a French Social Democrat gave a speech to the National Defense University on how to utilize the “new emancipatory and egalitarian horizon on a global scale, a new form of democratic and participatory, ecological and postcolonial socialism” to fight Communist China. He is unable to explain what the military is working on to prepare the warriors from all ranks who must do the actual job.

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