Three weeks ago, a two-star general tried to cancel me on Twitter. It went badly — for him.
America’s military establishment has long enjoyed immunity from serious public criticism. Americans lost trillions of dollars and thousands of lives in the sinkholes of Afghanistan and Iraq while their generals made off like bandits securing book deals, fellowships, and corporate board positions.
Vox reports that when Gen. James Mattis appeared in 2017 before Congress for his confirmation hearing for secretary of defense, not one senator asked about his role on the board of Theranos, a blood-testing company that defrauded investors and the American government. Mattis shilled for the company in uniform, collected six-figure checks on its board in retirement, then faced zero repercussions when it collapsed.
The times, however, are changing.
On July 22, I posed a question to Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Donahoe, the Commanding General of the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Replying to his tweet supporting mandatory vaccination of service members, I noted that in the fourth quarter of 2020, the surge in suicides by service members over the previous year equaled the total number of COVID-19 deaths over 18 months. I asked the general if he thought the military’s draconian lockdown policies were rational.
He responded by berating me and tagging Hillsdale College, telling the school to “come get your boy.” When questioned on how many wars he’d won, he dismissed the question as the work of a “Putin bot.”
Fox News picked up the exchange and I went on Laura Ingraham’s show two nights in a row to discuss the kerfuffle and the spread of cancel culture in the military. Just a few weeks later, former President Donald Trump at a rally in Alabama called out the “woke” generals at the Pentagon, referring to them as “losers.”
Donahoe’s response to the firestorm was to block me. Then, after I pointed out in a piece at the American Mind that it was legally fraught for him to do so in light of the Knight Institute v. Trump ruling, he unblocked me and made his entire Twitter account private instead. It remains shut down. I challenged the general to a debate on the merits of COVID-19 policy and military strategy in the Middle East in my appearance on Fox — I have yet to hear back.
The Twitter spat revealed, for thousands of Americans, the true character of our military establishment. Watching flag officers spew MSNBC talking points and try to “own” American citizens on social media for criticizing them was a shock.
Our generals aren’t losers because they’ve gone woke. They went woke because they can’t win. Unable to beat mountain men with AK-47s, the military’s leadership class needed a new justification to keep the money spigot flowing. Liberalism and globalism, or wokeness, provide the justification for the elite’s continued power and prominence. The 900-plus generals and admirals in our armed forces will never hold themselves accountable for these failures. But ordinary citizens, on social media and in real life, absolutely can.
An education in the liberal arts combined with a martial spirit is a powerful weapon against a corrupt and degenerate regime. The spiritual war for the soul of the West is on and Hillsdale students belong in the front line. General Donahoe and the rest of the woke Left can “come and get” us themselves.