The Pentagon stated that the Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s memo ordering a one-day stand-down for the military commanders to discuss the problem of extremism in the ranks with their personnel is not aimed “at any one group”. Conservatives are continuing to attack the memo and asking for the Defense Secretary to define “extremism” and give assurances that the memo will not be used to demonize and attack conservatives in the military.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby denied that the stand-down order has anything to do with politics. When a reporter asked about the troops who believe that the 2020 election was stolen, he replied:
“it’s not about politics. It’s not about what you believe. It’s about what you do with those beliefs. It’s about how you act with those beliefs”, he insisted.
And when you start acting on those beliefs, whatever they are, and not all extremists in the military are motivated by politics, but whatever the motivation is, when you violate good order and discipline, when you violate the UCMJ, or you violate civil laws, then we’ve got a problem”, Kirby continued.
The Pentagon spokesman confirmed that the memo was based on a 2012 DoD instruction prohibiting military personnel from actively advocating “supremacist” and “extremist” ideologies “including those that advance, encourage, or advocate illegal discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, religion, ethnicity, or national origin”.
“We will not tolerate actions that go against the fundamental principles of the oath we share, including actions associated with extremist or dissident ideologies. Service members, DoD civilian employees, and all those who support our mission, deserve an environment free of discrimination, hate, and harassment“, the 2021 Defense Secretary memo wrote.
“To that end, I am directing commanding officers and supervisors at all levels to select a date within the next 60 days to conduct a one-day “stand-down” on this issue with their personnel”, the memo continues.
The move met with harsh criticism on the right. Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) was concerned with the order not being used as a political tool against conservatives.
“I’m very concerned about Lloyd Austin,” Pollak stated for Breitbart. “He got a waiver from Congress just like James Mattis did. … Lloyd Austin said some really astonishing things in his confirmation hearing. He talked about enemies within the military, and now we’re going pause military operations over the next 60 days to make sure that there are no extremists, and by this, they mean extremists on the right within the military.”
“What is this stand down? What is this evaluation of extremism? What is the definition of extremism?”, Wittman added.
The stand-down order was likely motivated by the leftist hysteria claiming that Donald Trump and his supporters were preparing a coup. The former president was supposedly trying to mobilize his supporters to seize power for himself and to change the outcome of the election.
President Trump himself called into question the validity of the election results. His supporters did storm the Capitol. That action had no significant consequences, other than one protestor being shot dead by Capitol security, and the destruction of several doors and windows.
Trump did not seize power. His supporters did not start a civil war. In fact, Trump even neglected to give pardons to supporters who were protesting in his favor, and who now face jailtime. The stand-down order looks like just another attempt at painting conservatives as terrorists.