(To read the entire "Our Communist Military" series, please click here.)
If conservatives hate one thing more than Obama, single mothers and soccer, it is the unstoppable monster of “political correctness”.
If you really want to, (I don’t recommend it) dive into these conservative manifestos on the origins of “political correctness”. We prefer the (ideologically neutral) Wikipedia definition:
“A term which denotes language, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, certain other religions, beliefs or ideologies, disability, and age-related contexts...Widespread use of the term politically correct and its derivatives began when it was adopted as a pejorative term by the political right in the 1990s.”
While I utterly loathe the term “political correctness” or its abbreviation “PC”, milblogs don’t seem to mind one bit:
Deebow, writing on BlackFive, writes that “the death cult of Political Correctness” will cause America to lose the war in Afghanistan.
Uncle Jimbo, also on Blackfive, writes that he won’t obey, “the PC thugs who are attacking the free speech of business owners.”
Patriot, on A Soldier’s Perspective, bemoans “political correctness run amok.”
This Aint Hell connects political correctness to gay pride day at the Pentagon.
On The Captain’s Journal, Glen Tschirgi advises republican candidates for president to “make a clean break from political correctness” and blame “Islamofascism” for terrorism.
Many critics of rules of engagement blame them on “political correctness.” Military supporters and anti-PC advocates Representatives Allen West and Joe Walsh blamed political correctness for the Fort Hood attacks.
In “Our Communist Military” series, we want to show how ideology doesn’t meet practice. Most conservative milbloggers embrace libertarian ideals. They love the freedom to say and think how they want, no matter who it pisses off. They want, nee embrace, the freedom to offend whoever they want. (Take, for instance, this post.) They label any persecution of this ideal as “political correctness”.
All of which sounds great to me, as a moderate who embraces human rights, like freedom of speech. However, I would ask my fellow milbloggers, “Are there any occupations or professions they don’t want to offend? Do military blogs and military supporters who oppose “political correctness” have their own version of political correctness?”
Yes, they do. I call it, “military political correctness”.
In the same way that small-government libertarians drill a Nimitz-class carrier sized-hole through their own ideology to protect defense spending, conservatives critical of “liberal political correctness” completely extend “military political correctness” protection to the military and its service-members. Conservative milblogs and pundits silence any and all criticism of the military, labeling transgressors traitors or worse. Apparently, America’s toughest warriors are the most easily offended group on the planet.
Example 1: Every soldier a hero.
According to anti-political correctness advocates, political correctness creates euphemisms for offensive words, names and phrases. “Differently-abled” instead of “handicapped”, or worse, “retarded”. “Homosexual” instead of “gay”. And so on.
For the military, we call every soldier a “hero”.
In March, writing in Esquire, Stephen Marche examined how America now extends the phrase “hero”--which used to refer to the extremis of valor--to every soldier in every branch regardless of how many times they have deployed. Of course, some milblogs responded. Then in May, Chris Hayes of MSNBC and The Nation came under fire from every corner of the conservative media sphere for questioning the use of the phrase “hero” for every fallen soldier in Afghanistan and Iraq. Instead of addressing his points, many conservative blogs simply insulted him.
If you listen to Chris Hayes’ whole question, he posed it with all due deference and respect to servicemen and women. Same with Stephen Marche. But some conservative bloggers wrote that neither pundit should even have had the gall to ask the question. How is shouting down Chris Hayes and calling him names from venal to traitor to ungrateful and saying he can’t even ask the question not “political correctness” at its finest?
Worse, pundits, reporters and writers use the euphemism “fallen hero” for “dead soldier”. Orwellian language like this hides the costs, and very real sacrifices, of our men and women in uniform behind a euphemism.
Example 2: Every soldier is equal in sacrifice.
In my op-ed, “I didn’t deserve my combat pay”, I pointed out that every soldier earned the same combat benefits no matter how dangerous their service. Most soldiers and marines in combat MOSs deployed to dangerous war zones--like Helmand, Kandahar or Kunar in Afghanistan--agreed with me. Most service members deployed to Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait disagreed.
So watch this video:
Or this one.
Clearly, not all deployments are “equal”. As Rosa Brooks writes in By Other Means, the Air Force (counting deployments) is less dangerous than ranching or farming. Of course, if you try to have a conversation about making combat pay higher for the troops who deserve it, conservatives will shout it down as “hating the troops”.
Yep, milblogs embrace political correctness when it comes to pay...to make it more communist.
Example 3: Don’t criticize the military...they sacrificed for your right to say that.
We’ve debunked the “have you been there argument” before, but it won’t die. In the comments section of BlackFive a few weeks back, two commenters again questioned my military service. In this case, one of the writers refused to believe a former soldier would label the military “communist”. We regularly receive emails from Luttrell supporters saying something like, “I can’t believe two people who have never served in the military would dare to question his sacrifice.” We’ve gotten this same comment about our stance on the rules of engagement too. In our post launching this series, commenters again (mistakenly) believed I had never served in the military.
Well, I have. Guess what? It still doesn’t matter.
Example 4: The liberals hate the troops.
Many milblogs enforce their “military political correctness” because they believe that every liberal the world over utterly hates soldiers and their families.
Guess what? Liberals don’t hate the troops. Conservatives want liberals to hate the troops. They want to accuse them of hatred, which amounts to treason, because that silences any criticism of the military and its bloated spending priorities. Or its performance in the last two wars.
If political correctness exists--a debate for another time and another website--it exists on both sides of the aisle. Liberals have their “hate speech”, but so do conservatives.
Just don’t tell “Our Communist Milblogs”.