Obama, Political Correctness, and the Military

One aspect overlooked in discussions about Obama’s legacy is his role in the rise of political correctness. This PC atmosphere permeated the military, where many of the higher-ups were more concerned about their careers than the men who served under them. American Thinker interviewed some who hope that this PC virus will be exterminated.

Carl Higbie wrote the book Enemies, Foreign & Domestic, showing what happens when politically correct officers run the military as their careers become more important than the Constitution. He was part of the Navy SEAL assault team that captured the most wanted man in the Middle East, Ahmed Hashim Abd Al-Isawi, the Butcher of Fallujah.This was the terrorist responsible for killing and then hanging American contractors from a bridge.

After being captured without a fight, this terrorist, according to Higbie, wounded himself inside the cell, then claimed the SEALS had done it while capturing/transporting him. Even though cleared by the Navy investigation, some of the SEAL superiors attempted to pressure Higbie and his team to admit to having abused the prisoner. They remained steadfast in their claims of innocence, refusing to plead guilty when pressured or shamed into doing so, and in February 2010 they were flown back to Baghdad for a court martial concerning the allegations. Higbie was never actually charged, but he was there with his fellow SEALS, Keefe and Gonzales, both of whom were on trial, and were eventually acquitted.

Higbie told American Thinker, “We all requested a court martial so we would have a fair trial and be able to present evidence in our favor. The command tried to talk us out of this because they knew they would lose. They separated us and threatened us with all kinds of punishments, but we held strong and forced the court martial. The higher-ups were afraid of simple allegations, how that would affect their careers. They lost sight of the mission and their duty to their men. They put a politically correct public image in front of their oath. They had us pegged for guilty from day one despite all the evidence. What we were accused of was mentally and physically impossible. So much for ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ I really believe the Obama administration wanted to hang us out to dry. They wanted to punish us, and kept saying if we did not admit to it the punishment would get worse.”

The Obama "legacy" involves a culture that makes the terrorist a victim and believes him over those in America’s military. Higbie noted, “Political correctness changed almost immediately after Obama became president. We found these bad guys multiple times, but the chain of command did not want us to capture them. The reason is fairly apparent; it was at odds with the Obama administration’s narrative, which would have shown we had not won the war. It became obvious commanders looked out for their personal careers over their men. It became that the American soldier is the one wrong and bad.”

Retired Army Staff Sargeant Alonzo Lunsford was shot seven times at Fort Hood by Major Nidal Hasan as he shouted “Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!” In 2009 this Army psychiatrist methodically and deliberately took the lives of 13 people, including a pregnant woman. Thirty-two others were wounded.

Lunsford recounts how the Obama administration refused to call the killings an act of terrorism and originally designated it as workplace violence. The survivors and the victim’s families were denied Purple Hearts and combat-related benefits. He thinks that the Obama administration and the military did it for reasons of political correctness. He wants Americans to remember when they speak of President Obama’s legacy that in 2014 the White House declined his request to meet with the president for a few minutes so the veteran could explain face-to-face how he believes the government has mistreated and disrespected the victims of that attack. Eventually the victims and their families were awarded the medals, but only because Congress became involved.

He is still upset that the first year after the shooting the military told the survivors to keep quiet. “I have the physical scars I look at every day when I take a shower or look in the mirror. That is with me for the rest of my natural-born life. It doesn’t leave. I don’t have the opportunity to go back home and wait for my next assignment.”

He further told American Thinker, “Political correctness costs people their lives. In the Hasan case all the signs were there, but they did not discharge him. Hopefully, this new administration will correct the wrongs of this past administration, because we are still getting the runaround.”

All those interviewed trust things will change when General James Mattis is confirmed as Secretary of Defense. He will take care of the troops. Higbie reminds Americans that the generals chosen by Donald Trump “were the ones pushed out by the Obama administration for speaking their mind about his policies. I believe General Mattis is respected up and down the chain of command. He does not want a robotic force, but for soldiers to use their brains. He will tell Trump when he thinks he is wrong with the understanding the president’s decision is final.”

Retired Colonel Jack Jacobs is a Medal of Honor recipient and a teacher at West Point. He believes people should not label career military people “as warmongers. In fact, it is the direct opposite. Anyone who has been to war themselves knows what it is like. They are probably the most reluctant to send troops into a war. Mattis is a combat soldier and a very intelligent person. He is a student of history who understands how nation-states use military power and warfare.”

Under President Obama many of the military superiors acted more as politicians than military men. The Obama administration created an atmosphere that enhanced politicization of the military. Those interviewed are hopeful that generals Michael Flynn, James Mattis, and John Kelly will end the PC environment and put American troops and national security as their top priority.

The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews, author interviews, and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.