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Dangerous: Republicans disband working group created to monitor extremism in military

By Lee Cleveland - May 21, 2023

Does it seem like Republicans these days will do anything to oppose to Democrats, even if it means sacrificing the well-being of the country?

In a recent report by CNN, it was revealed that the “Countering Extremism Working Group” established by President Joe Biden’s administration faced significant challenges and was ultimately disbanded within a short span of two years due to relentless attacks from Republican lawmakers who vehemently opposed what they perceived as “wokeism.”

The primary objective of this group was to address and eradicate military extremism, thereby ensuring the safety and integrity of the armed forces.

According to CNN’s sources familiar with the matter, the working group had a critical role to play in identifying individuals like Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old Air National Guardsman, who had a troubling history of violent and racist behavior.

Teixeira stands accused of perpetrating one of the most substantial leaks of classified documents in modern history. It is disheartening to consider that such leaks might have been prevented if the working group had not faced premature termination due to external pressure from Republicans.

The leak, which shook the intelligence community, could have been averted had the initiative not been abruptly halted. Unfortunately, top-ranking officials within the Pentagon succumbed to political pressure from Republicans, who fiercely criticized the effort as an embodiment of so-called “wokeism” within the military. This unsubstantiated attack resulted in the untimely demise of a vital initiative that aimed to safeguard national security.

The Devastating Consequences of Political Pressure

Bishop Garrison, a Black veteran who initially led the Countering Extremism Working Group, became the target of relentless attacks from GOP lawmakers and right-wing media personalities in 2021. One Fox News host, for instance, branded him a “MAGA purge man” merely for expressing criticism of former President Donald Trump in a tweet. The hostile atmosphere created by such baseless accusations eventually led to Garrison’s removal from his position.




A defense official familiar with the situation explained that Garrison was deemed a distraction, and his forced departure became one of the early casualties in what has come to be known as the war on “woke.”

This politicization of an issue as critical as combating extremism within the military is deeply concerning, as it diverts attention from the real threat that such extremist ideologies pose to the nation’s security and the well-being of our service members.

Kris Goldsmith, an Army veteran and CEO of Task Force Butler, a non-profit organization focused on combating extremism in the military, expressed his concern regarding the current state of affairs. Goldsmith revealed that top Defense officials are increasingly viewing the issue of extremism as “paralyzing.” This paralysis has rendered them ineffective in taking meaningful action against this pervasive problem. Goldsmith noted that there has been no discernible progress in the military’s approach to addressing extremism over the past two years.

The Urgent Need for Addressing Extremism in the Military

It is disheartening to witness the failure to prioritize the eradication of extremism within the military, given its potential implications for national security. The disbandment of the Countering Extremism Working Group, driven by political pressures rather than a genuine commitment to combatting the threat, raises serious concerns about the safety of our armed forces and the integrity of classified information.

In the face of rising extremism, it is crucial for lawmakers and officials to set aside partisan politics and work toward comprehensive solutions that protect our military personnel and uphold the values upon which our nation was built. This includes fostering an environment that encourages reporting and addressing extremist behaviors while providing support to those affected by such ideologies.

The long-term consequences of ignoring the threat of extremism within our military cannot be underestimated. It is essential that we acknowledge the gravity of the situation and take immediate action to rectify the damage caused by the premature dissolution of the Countering Extremism Working Group.




Conclusion

The abandonment of the Countering Extremism Working Group within two years of its formation due to attacks from Republican lawmakers exemplifies the unfortunate politicization of an issue that demands urgent attention. By undermining initiatives aimed at addressing extremism in the military, we risk the safety and security of our armed forces and compromise the integrity of classified information.

If we are to truly protect our nation and those who serve it, it is imperative that we prioritize combating extremism and set aside partisan agendas. The threat of extremism in our military cannot be ignored, and we must take proactive steps to ensure a safer and more inclusive environment for our service members.

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