Allen B. West

If I were Secretary of Defense, here’s the FIRST position I’d eliminate

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I remember when the mantra of “every kid gets a trophy” began to take hold in our youth athletic programs. Well, now that philosophy of social utopianism has permeated throughout our culture and now in a place where it absolutely has no place. In life, there are standards and no one’s entitled to “have” anything — well, besides life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However, that is not the societal vision of the liberal progressives; theirs is based upon egalitarianism. That, however, is not consistent with the duty and mission of our armed forces.

I was sent the following article from a distinguished retired Special Forces officer, Brigadier General Remo Butler, who was and continues to be a role model for me. As reported in USA Today:

Many of the Pentagon’s elite commando units — including the Navy SEALs — are overwhelmingly led and manned by white officers and enlisted troops, a concern at the highest levels of the military where officials have stressed the need to create more diverse forces to handle future threats.

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Black officers and enlisted troops are scarce in some special operations units in highest demand, according to data provided by the Pentagon to USA TODAY. For instance, eight of 753 SEAL officers are black, or 1%.

An expert at the Pentagon on the diversity of commando forces said the lack of minorities robs the military of skills it needs to win.

“We don’t know where we will find ourselves in the future,” said Army Col. Michael Copenhaver, who has published a paper on diversity in special operating forces. “One thing is for sure: We will find ourselves around the globe. And around the globe you have different cultural backgrounds everywhere. Having that kind of a diverse force can only increase your operational capability.

Special Operations forces, including SEALs and the Army’s Green Berets, are often the face of the American military in foreign hot spots where they rescue hostages, raid terrorist camps and train local troops. SEAL Team 6 famously raided Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan and killed him. As the military sheds conventional forces — the Army will pare 40,000 soldiers in the next few years — special operators’ ranks continue to be filled as demand for their unique capabilities remains high.

US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) based in Tampa, does not track that information on its nearly 70,000 civilian and military personnel, said Kenneth McGraw, a spokesman. Gen. Joseph Votel, SOCOM’s commander, declined to speak to USA TODAY for this story, said Col. Thomas Davis, another SOCOM spokesman.

Votel did address the issue last month at the Aspen Security Conference and stressed the need for diverse commando units, which operate in almost 90 countries. The average enlisted special operator is 29, married with two children and has deployed four to 10 times, Votel told the audience.

What he didn’t say is that most of them are white.

“SOCOM needs diversity, we need people of color, we need men, we need women to help us solve the problems that we deal with today,” Votel said. “So we need good people; men, women, people of all colors.”

What we need is a highly trained, well-resourced military focused on defeating our enemies. What these folks fail to understand is that in the community of warriors, no one cares about pigmentation. They care about honor, integrity, character and fierceness.

What I don’t want to see is all of a sudden the focus turn to having “black faces” instead of elite warriors. Diversity is not the goal of the U.S. military; it is to fight and win the nation’s wars. On the battlefield, bullets don’t seek out someone based on skin color. This design of social egalitarianism has no place in our military.

And spare me the diatribe about the integration of blacks into the U.S. military. From the days of Crispus Attucks, black men have shown they’re brave and willing to stand and fight for one single objective: liberty. The men of the 54th Massachusetts and the Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th and 10th Cavalry didn’t seek preferential treatment. As well, the 369th Harlem Hell Fighters, Tuskegee Airmen and Montford Point Marines achieved not because of their skin color, but because of their character.

There’s no need for “diversity agents” to try and manipulate the composition of our armed forces, sacrificing our effectiveness in pursuit of fairness, under the guise of enhanced increased capability. And what’s most disconcerting is the infiltration into the military of this ill-conceived mindset — namely the Pentagon joining in on this folly. The statement from an “expert at the Pentagon on the diversity of commando forces” — since when did the U.S. military need an expert on diversity of commando forces? I can tell you right now, if I were Secretary of Defense, that’s the first position I’d eliminate! The deduction of this so-called expert — “the lack of minorities robs the military of skills it needs to win” — is utterly disrespectful to the men and women serving, sacrificing and committing themselves in fighting for this nation today.

The strength of our military is we do not see color; we only see the oath we take to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. And in doing so, each man and woman who takes up that oath serves in their best capacity — not one based on respective differences, but rather united in the commonality of being an American.

Our elite forces are elite because of their standards — and “monkeying” around with their composition based on some insidious research about diversity is stupidity. There are things that must be earned in life, and so it is with titles such as Green Beret, Ranger, Delta Force, Navy SEAL, Recon Marine and Air Force PJ. These are not just little plastic trophies to be handed out by the gods of diversity. They represent time-honored impeccable standards of excellence and elitism that only a few are called to seek, and even fewer attain.

On my chest I wear three sets of wings: Army Master Parachutist, Army Air Assault and the Navy/Marine Corps Parachutist. Those were not given because I was a minority. They were earned because I sought to “Be All I Could Be.” I didn’t get these through some diversity-approved course; rather, I entered as others and proved myself worthy.

At a time when we’re facing countless global enemies from Russia, China, Iran and Islamic jihadism, it’s not about the skin color of the person pulling the trigger to send our enemies to hell. It’s about the qualifications and their ability to do so. Diversity in our Special Operations forces means committed men and women who have diversified skills and talents enabling us to defeat the enemy. The policies of our Defense Department MUST not be about meeting quota goals, but rather in placing the MOST qualified, trained and ready force on the field of battle. No one cares about skin color, save those who only care about inane statistics they can show for their own elevation.

Once upon a time, the government said every American had a right to own a home and boasted of an increase in minority home ownership. Standards were lowered and what ensued 30 years later, in 2008, was a financial collapse. The folly here will result in an even greater collapse with ramifications on the national security of this republic.

For America, it’s never been about the skin color of the warrior. It has been, and must always be, about their oath of service and commitment to victory — not diversity.

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