During the so-called "Phoney War" from the fall of 1939 to the spring of 1940, the former Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Lord Gort – reassigned to command the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France against the German attack that everyone knew was to come – inexplicably remained attentive to nonessential concerns. Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery’s biographer wrote that during the eight months prior to the fateful date of 10 May 1940, when Hitler launched his attack on France, Gort “never once conducted an administrative, signals, Intelligence or even movement exercise.” He was entirely unprepared and ill-suited for the command he now held. One of Montgomery’s trusted subordinates, serving at Gort’s general headquarters at Arras, France, “. . . found the most amateur arrangements conceivable.” In one striking case of misdirected energy, Gort’s deputy “concentrated entirely on the wines and food for the mess of the Quartermaster-General at Noyel-les Vion, a village some miles west of Arras. How, in such circumstances, the BEF was supposed to swell itself into an eventual formation of two armies, with nearly half a million men, was incredible,” wrote Nigel Hamilton.
But Gort’s concern over the selection of wines for the officers’ mess shortly before the German onslaught against France in 1940 is not unlike the misguided activities of the Pentagon’s senior leaders amid gathering war clouds eight decades later. Since January 2021, the defense department’s obsession with Critical Race [racist] Theory (CRT) – and its “close cousin,” as Dr. Carol Swain describes – Diversity-Equity-Inclusion (DEI), adds no more to the combat readiness of the U.S. armed forces than did Gort’s choice wines. Worse, the Pentagon’s costly, counterproductive actions – including the virtue-signaling hunt for “extremists” within the ranks, renaming military posts, and promoting social-political causes from abortion-on-demand to pronoun preferences to drag-queen-military-library events to transgender reassignment procedures to unproven vaccine mandates – actually are lowering those intangible but indispensable elements of combat readiness known as morale and trust. (In terms of extremism, does not the discharging of trained personnel unwilling to subject themselves to an unproven vaccine, especially during a manpower shortfall, seem an example?) At least in the BEF’s case, the wine selections offered some momentary morale boost for British officers, albeit most of whom sadly lacked the professionalism required to engage the German Wehrmacht with any chance of success in 1940.
At least within socially permitted categories dependent on time and place, successful militaries have been based mainly upon merit. But today’s Pentagon seeks a paradigm change in the name of its god, Diversity, which means everything to its leadership. Years ago, conservative scholar and author, Professor Thomas Sowell, observed: “The mystical benefits of diversity are nonexistent, however politically correct it is to proclaim such benefits.” Two months ago, during oral arguments in an affirmative action case, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas rightly observed that diversity “seems to mean everything for everyone...”
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