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Reading List for Military Cadets? Start with the Constitution
By Hon. Thomas B. Modly - - Tuesday, July 27, 2021 The Washington Times
Critical Race Theory draws the military into politics, and this is dangerous
The current controversy regarding the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in the United States military misses the mark about the value of a broad education that encourages critical thinking skills for our soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines. Both General Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Admiral Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations, were recently embroiled in this debate when challenged about their support for teaching military members about CRT. Although their public defense of such practices displayed some tortured reasoning, having worked with both men I have no doubt that their intentions were noble.
The controversy was stoked further in recent weeks when Lynne Chandler Garcia, a professor of political science at the U.S. Air Force Academy, defended her own practice of teaching CRT to her cadet students. Professor Garcia stated, “As a professor of political science at the U.S. Air Force Academy, I teach critical race theories to our nation’s future military leaders because it is vital that cadets understand the history of the racism that has shaped both foreign and domestic policy.” I trust that Professor Garcia understands that there is a fundamental difference between a history “of” racism and a history “with” racism. More importantly, I hope that cadets can tell the difference and will challenge her if they disagree. Have we adequately armed them for that debate with a foundational understanding of American history and government? I am not so sure.
I was in Professor Garcia’s shoes myself 34 years ago when, like her, I was also a professor of Political Science at the Air Force Academy. On the first day of my American Government class, I would ask each of my students to tell me where they were from and why they were there. The first question was easy to answer. The second, not so much. Many said they were there because they wanted to fly. Others said that they had been encouraged to serve by a parent or relative who had served themselves. And, of course, many said simply that they wanted to serve their country. I then asked them what was the most important thing they had in common? As they look puzzled, I quickly intervened to answer it for them, “Each of you, on the same exact day, gave an oath to support and defend (with your lives) a document—the Constitution of the United States.” I then asked how many of them had actually read it? The response was underwhelming. I made it my mission to ensure they not only read every word but that they understood the document in its entirety. Without such an understanding of the Constitution, it was unreasonable to expect them to discern what may be an enemy to it, or to defend it with their lives.
Fast forward nearly three-plus decades and I am convinced that the education we provide our young people in basic American civics has not improved much. Over the years, the military education many of our service members have received once in the ranks has tilted toward technical competencies and social issues with a decreased emphasis on military history and tactics, geography, and geopolitics. While serving as Under Secretary of the Navy, I commissioned the Education for Seapower (E4S) study to examine what could be done to arrest this trend in order to develop Sailors and Marines with a greater capacity for critical thinking in an era of increasing complexity and competition. The study found that it was important to build a naval education system that taught our Sailors and Marines “how to think” and not “what to think.” We must invest in this capacity with as great a sense of urgency as we invest in new weapons. It should include promoting a thorough understanding of the Constitution and our unique system of government.
Freely debating the value of competing political theories is fundamental to our system of government. It should not be restricted. We are fortunate to still live in a society that protects that debate even within the military. However, there is clearly some danger in introducing political theories such as CRT to our young service members without context, and particularly if they are presented with the imprimatur of senior commanders. It draws the military into politics, and this is dangerous. Therefore, before promoting the study of such theories, we must first prepare our people in uniform to evaluate them on their merits and in relation to the Constitution they have pledged their lives to defend. Should they also understand the basic tenets of other current and extinct political theories? Perhaps, but that should not be a priority. Let’s first teach them “how to think” about such matters, starting with a deeper knowledge of the one thing they all have in common— rather than the many things that can tear them apart.
Hon. Thomas B. Modly is an American businessman and former government official who served as acting United States Secretary of the Navy from November 24, 2019, to April 7, 2020. He is also a 1983 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.
From the Editor: STARRS assembles this newsletter striving to keep our readers informed on current events, centering upon the grassroots fight to preserve our Constitution and love of country. While our members come from varied walks of profession, this Edition 7 of the newsletter seeks to provide input from members of all the US military services, as well as the civilian sector, who have a common goal to eradicate racism in the military ranks. We welcome your feedback and earnestly hope to continue to improve this product with you in mind.
When and Why Did Washington's Views on Slavery Change?
By STARRS member Jane Hampton Cook
One problem with Critical Race Theory (CRT) is that there is no room for forgiveness or growth. You're either born an oppressor or are oppressed based on your skin color and cannot change.
This cultish fallacy ignores the central truth that to be human is to grow and change. For example, although George Washington was born into a slave-owning family, he died freeing the slaves under his direct care.
"When he drafted his will at age 67, George Washington included a provision that would free the 123 enslaved people he owned outright. This bold decision marked the culmination of two decades of introspection and inner conflict for Washington, as his views on slavery changed gradually but dramatically," Mount Vernon scholars explain.
When and why did Washington's views on slavery change? "George Washington began questioning slavery during the Revolutionary War." In early 1776, Washington exchanged letters with Phillis Wheatley, an educated freed slave who became the first black American published author. As depicted in her poetry, she transformed from a loyalist into a patriot.
Likewise the heroism of Peter Salem at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775 was well known. Salem served four years in the army, including crossing the Delaware River in 1776.
The war also exposed Washington to officers who opposed slavery, such as John Laurens and the Marquis de Lafayette. A slave turned spy, James Armistead, gave Lafayette invaluable intelligence that led to victory at the Battle of Yorktown. A French officer observed that black soldiers made up a quarter of Washington's Army at Yorktown, the war's final major battle.
"As a young Virginia planter, Washington accepted slavery without apparent concern. But after the Revolutionary War, he began to feel burdened by his personal entanglement with slavery and uneasy about slavery’s effect on the nation."
Washington wasn't alone. Vermont outlawed slavery in 1777. A Massachusetts judge declared slavery unconstitutional at the war's end.
"Throughout the 1780s and 1790s, Washington stated privately that he no longer wanted to be a slaveowner, that he did not want to buy and sell slaves or separate enslaved families, and that he supported a plan for gradual abolition in the United States."
For most of his life, freeing slaves in his home state was illegal. After the war, freeing slaves became legal in Virginia.
"I never mean (unless some particular circumstance should compel me to it) to possess another slave by purchase: it being among my first wishes to see some plan adopted by the legislature by which slavery in the Country may be abolished by slow, sure, and imperceptible degrees," Washington wrote in 1786.
Less than three years after his presidency, Washington died of a brief illness in December 1799. Within a couple of months, his will was published in newspapers around the country, giving Americans the opportunity to discover his countercultural decision to free the slaves under his direct care.
Any teaching or discussion of Washington and slavery, especially at the military academies, would benefit from including the facts and context that led him to change his views. Visit Mount Vernon's website for more information.
Jane Hampton Cook is the author of The Burning of the White House and other books. She is the host of Red, White, Blue and You.
STARRS Navy Update
By STARRS member, Brent Ramsey
On 30 June 2020, the Chief of Naval Operations established Task Force One Navy (TF1N) to address racism in the ranks. Questions abound about why the CNO issued this order.
1. Is there evidence to support the notion that the Navy has a serious racism problem?
2. Do public records reveal a racism problem in the form of increasing racism incident and investigation reports, analysis of disparate advancement rates by race, large numbers of blacks and hispanics leaving the service early due to experiencing a racist environment, or actual race riots or incidents such as occurred frequently and openly during the Viet Nam era?
3. Is the Task Force justified considering the Navy is significantly over-represented in the enlisted ranks with 19% of the sailors being Black versus 13% in the general population or 146% representation. Hispanic representation in today’s Navy is exactly 18% matching the national demographic. Thus, overall minority representation according to the TF1N report is 43% versus a demographic of 37%, an over-representation of minorities by 6%, hardly an indicator of an institutional racism problem. Pew Institute data reports that the percent of minorities in the military has been steadily rising from 25% in 1990, to 40% in 2015, to 43% today, also an indicator that racism is not a factor attracting and retaining people for our increasingly diverse Armed Forces.
4. Is the Task Force justified simply because public riots and demonstrations and political and media attention since the Floyd death have focused on race? Is the Navy playing politics?
5. Is the Navy’s 8% of Black officers being used as a political tool to advance an internal diversity agenda not connected to readiness? TF1N report shows the Navy has at least 4300 Black officers, a significant number. In recent years that number has been going up steadily. Hispanic officers are similarly under-represented at 9% versus the national demographic of 18% but little attention is paid to that group as all the media attention is focused on alleged systemic racism against blacks. Asian officers at 6% match the national demographic of 6%. Wouldn’t the Asian data point indicate that the low numbers for black and hispanic officers result from different causes than racism? If the Navy were racist wouldn’t all minority groups be under-represented?
6. For the Navy to reach the goal of 13% black officers, an additional 2700 blacks would have to join the officer ranks and 2700 others who have applied would be excluded. Is that justified to meet a seemingly arbitrary goal where the percent in the Navy has to match a national demographic? What science supports this goal?
7. Does increasing Black officer representation in a Navy 340,000 strong, a subtle .8% composition shift, justify TF1N, spending millions of dollars, spending thousands of hours that otherwise could have been used for training, and tying up scarce manpower resources?
8. Is there any proof that the under-representation of blacks and hispanic officers is evidence of systematic racism considering the overrepresentation of minorities in the enlisted ranks? Does the shortage of certain minority officers namely black and hispanic point to different explanations?
9. Is having more black and hispanic officers going to make the Navy more ready, more lethal, more highly skilled? No evidence has been provided that simply increasing the number of minority officers would improve the Navy’s readiness and lethality.
10. There are likely cultural reasons fewer of our black and hispanic citizens seek to serve as officers in the Navy. There is voluminous research that such is the case. Has the Navy ignored evidence that cultural factors explain the shortfalls in the officer ranks?
11. Does the Navy already practice affirmative action, something now embedded for decades in our culture for college admissions, jobs, and small business and other loans? Wouldn’t that mean the Navy is actually over-represented in Black and hispanic officers based on admission standards for whites?
12. Will under-representation result in the Navy lowering its admission standards further to meet the arbitrary goal of having the same percent of black and hispanic officers as is in the general population?
13. Could the reason that there are fewer black and hispanic officers in the Navy than is desired, is that a lower percentage in those populations volunteer who have requisite qualifications for age, fitness, health, weight, drug history, behavior?
14. According to the TF1N report, females represent 20% of both officer and enlisted ranks yet females are over half the US population. Why the emphasis on minorities and not on females?
The implication of the establishment of TF1N is that the Navy has a racism problem that is holding black and hispanic service members back, and that more diversity is necessary for a more effective Navy. Is there evidence this is true? The nature of TF1N’s purpose, its justification, and conclusions will be covered in detail in Part II in the next edition of the STARRS newsletter.
Brent Ramsey is a retired naval officer, writer, and volunteer. His articles/commentary on national defense have appeared at Real Clear Defense, National Defense, the Center for International Maritime Security, United States Naval Institute Proceedings, the Association of the United States Navy, and CD Media.
Freedom Isn’t Free
STARRS believes it is important to tell the stories Medal of Honor recipients because they loved their country and fellow service members so much they were willing to go above and beyond and take extreme risk without regard for self (“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” John 15:13). Someone who believes their country is evil and distrusts the service members around him would not be willing to give the ultimate sacrifice. This is why patriotism, unity, trust, camaraderie, and loyalty are important for mission success in the military. CRT destroys all this.
Medal of Honor Recipient
Daniel K. Inouye – A Life of Service
By STARRS Board Member, Patti Stuart, USAFA ‘87
Daniel Inouye was born in Hawaii in 1924, raised by Japanese immigrant parents who encouraged him to serve others. During the attack on Pearl Harbor, Daniel volunteered with the Red Cross to help the injured. After graduating high school in 1942, he attempted to enlist, but the U.S. government banned citizens of Japanese descent from serving. While Daniel was in college, studying pre-med, the decision was reversed and Daniel left school, immediately enlisting in the U.S. Army.
He was assigned to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a regiment made up exclusively of Japanese American men. Daniel was assigned as a sniper in the summer of 1944 when his regiment was sent to fight in the Italian theater and later sent to France. It was there his unit successfully rescued the First Battalion of the 141st Infantry Regiment, which had been surrounded by German forces. The 442nd suffered devastating casualties. Inouye himself narrowly escaped death when a bullet struck him in the chest, but was stopped by the lucky silver dollars he always carried. In recognition of Inouye’s courage and leadership, he was given a rare battlefield commission that made him a second lieutenant. Second Lieutenant Inouye also received the Bronze Star Medal for his heroism.
Back in Italy in April 1945, the 442nd was tasked with an assault on a German-held ridge near San Terenzo. Unfortunately, Inouye noticed that same day he had lost his lucky silver dollars. As he led the assault, three German machine guns opened fire on the platoon. A bullet pierced Inouye’s torso, but he continued to advance, shouting encouragement to his platoon and throwing grenades. He crawled to within five yards of the enemy emplacement and threw two more grenades, killing the enemy machine gunners. He then killed the crew of a second machine gun with his submachine gun.
As he proceeded to pull the pin on another grenade and prepared to lob it at a third machine gun nest, a German soldier appeared with a rifle grenade and shot Daniel point blank, destroying his right arm. Inouye yelled to his men to keep back, pried the live grenade from his mangled arm, and hurled it at the enemy soldier.
Despite Inouye’s grievous injuries, he continued advancing and firing his submachine gun with his uninjured left arm. When the smoke cleared, Inouye and his men killed a total of 25 enemy soldiers and captured eight others in the successful attack.
Inouye underwent a series of surgeries, including one to amputate his right arm on May 1. His hopes of being a surgeon were dashed. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery and spent the next two years recuperating. He was honorably discharged from the US Army in 1947 with the rank of captain.
When Hawaii became a state in 1959, he was elected to serve as one of Hawaii’s first delegates to the US House of Representatives. He went on to win election to the US Senate in 1962 and served a total of 53 years in the House and Senate. He never lost an election during his entire political career.
On June 21, 2000, Inouye and 19 other Japanese American veterans of the 442nd Regiment were awarded the Medal of Honor by President Bill Clinton.
From: Medal of Honor Recipient Daniel Inouye Led a Life of Service to His Country | The National WWII Museum | New Orleans (nationalww2museum.org)
A Letter to the Dean of the Academic Board, U.S. Military Academy
By Bill Prince, USMA 1970
Office of the Dean
Attn: BG Shane Reeves
Greeting BG Reeves,
Col. (Ret.) Bill Prince here. USMA ’70. By way of introduction I previously served as a Military Academy Liaison Officer (MALO) and am a past president of our local West Point Society. Thus I have been very involved over the years with identifying and encouraging quality young men and women to apply to the Military Academy.
Over these past several months, I and a number of my fellow members of The Long Gray Line, have become alarmed by reports of Critical Race Theory (CRT) being taught at West Point. CRT’s advocates identify all white people as racists, and hold that America is a systemically racist country. Obviously, the doctrine that all white people are racist is, itself, a racist concept. Such a doctrine, if allowed to infect our cadets, will have a devastating impact on troop morale and unit cohesion. This extremist, divisive ideology should have no place at West Point.
It appears too many of us that the West Point administration has not been completely forthcoming on exactly what has been and what is being taught regarding CRT. Inquiries include a demand for detailed information from members of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, a committee which has every right to the information. Such stonewalling invariably leads to questions of what, exactly, is West Point trying to hide. Many suspect that the West Point leadership recognizes the pernicious impact of CRT, but has succumbed to political pressure from the Biden administration.
As I’m sure you are aware, on 06 April 2021, Judicial Watch submitted a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request to West Point seeking access to public records involving cadet training. On 26 April, USMA confirmed receipt of the request and that the request had been assigned tracking number FP-21-016151. Unfortunately, the West Point administration has thus far refused, at least as of the date of this letter, to produce the requested documents, in clear violation of the law. On 05 July, Judicial Watch brought action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Case 1:21-cv-01795) to compel compliance with the FOIA request.
I hope you believe, as I do, that West Point should honor the law and supply the requested documents. Any further delay risks charges that the West Point administration is involved in a cover-up. This controversy is extraordinarily damaging to West Point’s mission and reputation as well as our ability to encourage quality young men and women to seek admission with the support of their families. In addition, I urge you and the entire senior leadership at West Point to publicly condemn the promotion of any and all extremist ideologies, especially CRT.
Please let me know that you will ensure that the appropriate personnel abide by the law and respond fully and transparently to the FOIA request.
“Serve with Integrity”
William F. (Bill) Prince
Col. (Ret.), U.S. Army Special Forces
Furthermore, Colonel Prince suggests the following actions you can take to persuade West Point to honor the law and supply the required FOIA information:
1) Write a letter to – Office of the Dean, Attn: BG Shane Reeves, Taylor Hall, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY 10996 urging him to fully and transparently respond to the FOIA lawsuit. Express your concern with what appears to be a cover-up regarding CRT training and, stress how damaging this controversy is to West Point’s mission and reputation, and our ability to recruit quality candidates for admission. Confirm receipt with an email to the Dean’s Executive Asst., Ms. Janine Gizzi, [email protected].
2) Send an email to the USMA Public Affairs Office, [email protected] expressing the same concerns. Follow-up with a phone call (845-938-3808).
3) Call, email and/or write to your members of Congress urging them to support Senate Bill 968 and H.R. 3134, “Combating Racist Training in the Military Act of 2021.”
4) Personalize and then forward the thrust of this email to other West Point graduates, or at least to those whom you believe still care about cadet well-being and professional dedication in the officer corps.
5) Financially support Judicial Watch in its effort to promote transparency, accountability and integrity at West Point.
Boots On The Ground Perspectives
On Fri 6 Aug 2021, following the incoming Class of 2025’s Acceptance Day parade, the USAF Academy Dean of Faculty, BGen Linell A. Lentendre, hosted a convocation for the new class, inviting parents, family and friends. Gen Lentendre’s comments endorsing George Takei’s 2019 book, They Called Us Enemy, were viewed by some observers present as inappropriate and misleading:
From a grandparent of a cadet from the USAFA Class of 2025, in attendance:
“I wanted to get up and leave, but did not want to embarrass my cadet granddaughter. I hope someone recorded this, so we could get it out to all grads. Bottom line--our beloved Academy has bought into this “woke” [ideology] all the way to the top. They are liars when they claim otherwise. My wife and I both spent an hour complaining to one another about what these kids had to sit through.”
From a parent of a basic cadet (Class of 2025), in attendance:
“I am so very proud of all the cadets, fills my heart with joy and hope, then, to have the Dean [of the United States Air Force Academy] talk about Takei’s book. I asked my son if he read it and he said, “NO!” I cannot believe tax dollars went to purchase that book. The [USAF Academy Board of Visitors] needs to be reinstated. These young people need to be protected.”
After attending the convocation, one USAFA graduate and sponsor asked her 2025 cadets if they had read it. Two of them had. One of them mentioned that the book made it sound like USAFA supports open borders since they endorsed the book so strongly. Another cadet was not a fan of the message being sent, that USAFA prefers to immediately focus on the darker parts of our history, and not on why we are a shining example of freedom to the world.
We thank you for expressing interest in STARRS and encourage you to take an active role. Engage your elected representatives at the local, state and national levels and express your concerns. Educate your fellow citizens by speaking at gatherings, writing editorials for local papers, talking to school boards and encouraging others to join us. If you have experienced the impact of this corrosive racist ideology, please share your story and observations with our editor Tracey, at:
Mark Levin's new book, American Marxism, is now available on most on-line book sites and in many stores. It is a great book that complements Matt Lohmeier's, Irresistible Revolution, Marxism’s Goal of Conquest & The Unmaking of the American Military. The closing chapter is a discussion on what actions you can take to help defend liberty in America. Mr. Levin provides an introduction to the book and relates its content to current events in the video linked below:
STARRS President, Lt Gen Rod Bishop, was recently asked what available resources could be used as a “tool bag,” of sorts, for quick and easy reference and preparation to counter “woke” culture. His response recommended focusing on the following list, here:
1. Matt Lohmeier’s, Irresistible Revolution, (in particular, the last chapter)
2. Mark Levin's, American Marxism, (last chapter)
3. Karl Marx’s, The Communist Manifesto,--first paragraph--"Oppressed vs Oppressor"
4. The Constitution (Article 1 Section 2, know and understand the 3/5ths story)
5. The United We Stand Tea Party Patriots website (https://www.teapartypatriots.org/uws/)
6. Become a STARRS member, today!
Please support STARRS’ mission to unify, not divide, ensure that the U.S. military remains free of politics, and to educate Americans of the danger of neo-Marxism and Critical Race Theory ideology, by sending donations to: STARRS, PO Box 468, Monument, CO 80132
*** STARRS is a newly formed corporation, whose 501(c)3 status is pending with the IRS. Once approval for our educational mission is received, STARRS will be a qualified organization eligible to receive deductible charitable contributions, effective 26 April 2021.***