By Dr. Scott Sturman, MD
US Air Force Academy ’72
If the United States military had to undergo a comprehensive, annual medical examination, a vigorous diagnosis would take into consideration robust recruitment of superior quality applicants, excellent intra-service morale, overwhelming public trust and confidence in the institution and its leaders, and objective evidence that all the branches fulfilled their missions at an exemplary level.
Unfortunately, our military ’s current prognosis suffers from a politically induced chronic infection that has sapped its strength and vitality.
For over a decade, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) ideology has infested the armed forces with a disease that disseminates racism, division, and victimization.
Those at the very top of the military — the generals and admirals who represent an influential, elite group of individuals and have risen to the top of the military profession — are in part responsible for this infection.
Exceptionally well-educated and endowed with leadership skills, they have dedicated their lives to the service of their country. However, for the most part, active duty and retired flag officers have either publicly joined in the DEI chorus or remained silent.
Since their opinions are respected and held in considerable esteem, it has been a disappointment that those who are willing to risk their lives in combat are inclined to concede the ideological battlefield to Marxist principles and political and corporate bullies.
The tenets and presumed benefits of DEI have been conferred a priori status within the military establishment. Its promulgation has advanced with a non-questioning, sectarian fervor.
Centuries of military science that embrace the preeminence of merit, unit cohesion, and esprit de corps have been usurped by an unproven pretender whose roots are deeply embedded in critical theory.
Otherwise intelligent, perceptive senior officers have been blinded by these talking points and are reluctant to act on account of threats to career advancement or social ostracism.
The behavior hearkens to the days of the Middle Ages when dogma dictated that the Earth was the center of the solar system. Brilliant scientists and theoreticians, to curry favor with the church, devised ingenious geocentric devices that could nearly describe planetary motion.
Despite the intellectual nimbleness and passion to accede to authority, the conclusions defied common sense and scientific rigor and were ultimately disproved and subjected to ridicule.
Our military leadership ought to think back to a few weeks ago, when we honored the soldiers and sailors who risked death, injury, and possible massacre at D-Day on June 6, 1944, fighting for freedom and ridding Europe of fascist oppression.
Success hung in the balance with ultimate victory combining resourceful leadership and the courage of a multitude of combatants, who understood that effective fighting forces depended on unity, service, and ability and not on one’s phenotype or sexual preference.
It is never too late for generals and admirals to speak up, expose DEI as the armed forces’ nemesis, and reverse this destructive course.
It calls for courage and some inevitable criticism, but in the short term that means little compared to taking a stand against racism and the forces intent upon undermining the ability of America to effectively defend itself.
Publicly denouncing DEI may be uncomfortable, but as Winston Churchill noted, “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities … because it is the quality which guarantees the others.”
Scott Sturman, MD, is a former Air Force helicopter pilot and graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, where he majored in aeronautical engineering. He graduated from the University of Arizona School of Health Sciences Center and practiced medicine for 35 years until retirement.