(Headline USA) Warning that “extremism” in the ranks is increasing, Pentagon officials issued detailed new rules Monday prohibiting service members from actively engaging in so-called extremist activities.
The move puts it on par with the radical, politicized Justice Department, which already has sought to play semantic games by re-labeling reasonable conservative ideologies as “extremism” and “white supremacy” in order to target any and all opposition to the Biden administration’s own extremist policies.
The new guidelines come after some current and former service members participated in the mostly peaceful Jan. 6 uprising at the U.S. Capitol, triggering a broad department review.
But it paves the way, potentially, for a leftist coup in which the military would be weaponized for Democrats seeking to retain power in a parallel but inverse situation, despite clear evidence of a Republican victory in 2022 and 2024.
According to the Pentagon, fewer than 100 military members are known to have been involved in substantiated cases of extremist activity in the past year. But they warn that the number may grow given recent spikes in domestic violent extremism, particularly among veterans.
‘DVE’ is the dogwhistle euphemism that leftist bureaucrats have used to label any robust opposition to their agenda—including that of parents attending school board meetings to protest indoctrination.
Nonetheless, the corrupt agencies and departments continue to turn a blind eye to actual domestic terrorism such as the violent smash-and-grab thefts in major cities and the Waukesha Christmas parade massacre last month.
That disparity clearly suggests that the intent is not to prevent acts of domestic terrorism but to use all resources at the government’s disposal to quell opposition to the Biden administration by turning the US military against its own citizens.
The Pentagon’s new policy lays out in detail the banned activities, which range from advocating terrorism or supporting the overthrow of the government to fundraising or rallying on behalf of an extremist group or “liking” or reposting extremist views on social media.
The rules also specify that commanders must determine two things in order for someone to be held accountable: that the action was an extremist activity, as defined in the rules, and that the service member “actively participated” in that prohibited activity.
Previous policies banned extremist activities but didn’t go into such great detail, and also did not specify the two-step process to determine someone accountable.
What was wrong yesterday is still wrong today, said one senior defense official.
But several officials said that as a study group spoke with service members this year they found that many wanted clearer definitions of what was not allowed.
The officials provided additional details about the rules on condition of anonymity because they were not made public.
Shortly after assuming command, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin launched a sweeping campaign to root out so-called extremism in the force as one of its top priorities, preaching the dangers of “white rage” to congressional committees while neglecting its traditional duties, such as organizing the planned withdrawal from Afghanistan.
After deeming last week that no one would be held accountable for a drone strike that killed a US-friendly Afghan aid-worker and several of his family members—including children—the Pentagon quickly pivoted back to its political mission of weeding out conservative thought and speech from within its ranks.
“Even the actions of a few can have an outsized impact on unit cohesion, morale and readiness—and the physical harm some of these activities can engender can undermine the safety of our people,” Austin claimed in a message to the force on Monday.
The number of substantiated cases may be small compared to the size of the military, which includes more than 2 million active duty and reserve troops. But the number appears to be an increase over previous years where the totals were in the low two-digits.
Officials noted that data has not been consistent—largely due to the Biden administration’s efforts to redefine what constitutes domestic violent extremism—so it is difficult to identify trends.
The new rules do not provide a list of extremist organizations. Instead, it is up to commanders to determine subjectively if a service member is actively conducting extremist activities based on the definitions, rather than on a list of groups that may be constantly changing, officials said.
Asked whether troops can simply be members of an extremist organization, officials said the rules effectively prohibit membership in any meaningful way—such as the payment of dues or other actions that could be considered “active participation.”
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters that “there’s not a whole lot about membership in a group that you’re going to be able to get away with.”
He added, “In order to prove your membership you’re probably going to run afoul of one of these criteria.”
Kirby also said that commanders will evaluate each case individually, so simply clicking “like” on one social media post, for example, might not merit punishment depending on all the circumstances involved.
He also noted that the Pentagon does not have the ability or desire to actively monitor troops’ personal social media accounts. Those issues would likely come up if reported to commanders or were discovered through other means.
The regulations lay out six broad groups of extremist activities and then provide 14 different definitions that constitute active participation.
The new rules apply to all of the military services, including the Coast Guard, which in peacetime is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
They were developed through recommendations from the Countering Extremist Activities Working Group. They make the distinction, for example, that troops may possess ‘extremist’ materials, but they can’t attempt to distribute them, and while they can observe an ‘extremist’ rally, they can’t participate, fund or support one.
The rules, said the officials, focus on behavior, not ideology. So service members have whatever political, religious or other beliefs that they want, but their actions and behavior are governed.
In addition to the new rules, the Pentagon is expanding its screening for recruits to include a deeper look at potential ‘extremist’ activities. Some activities may not totally prevent someone from joining the military, but require a closer look at the applicant.
The department also is expanding ‘education’ and ‘training’ for current military members, and more specifically for those leaving the service who may be suddenly subject to recruitment by extremist organizations.
More than 650 people have been charged in the Jan. 6 uprising at the Capitol, including dozens of veterans and about a half dozen active duty service members.
Many have been denied their constitutional rights to a speedy public trial as the partisan Justice Department scrambled to find charges that would stick, even controversially turning to the archaic charge of “obstruction” to craft a felony against those who entered the publicly owned US Capitol to exercise their First Amendment rights to petition the government.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press