With a family-pummeling economy, the worst border crisis on record, a new war in the Middle East, and ongoing protests openly endorsing genocide against Jews, this weekend President Joe Biden decided to spend his time commemorating the third anniversary of the January 6 capitol riot with a major speech. In President Biden’s analysis, the embarrassing incident deserves to be remembered as a quasi-holiday on the order of 9/11 or the attack on Pearl Harbor, but a recent report commissioned by his own administration undercuts his chosen narrative.
Biden chose the storied ground of Valley Forge for his speech, explicitly invoking the precedent of then-General George Washington, who there shepherded his rag-tag recruits through the bleak midwinter of 1776-1777. To avoid approaching wintry weather, Biden rescheduled his speech from January 6 to January 5.
“Today, we gather in a new year, some 246 years later [than Washington’s army], just one day before January 6th, a day forever shared in our memory because it was on that day that we nearly lost America — lost it all,” orated Biden. “Three years ago tomorrow, we saw with our own eyes the violent mob storm the United States Capitol.”
What happened that day was not simply a riot, declared Biden, but an “insurrection” which “placed a dagger at the throat of American democracy.” The Department of Justice has charged more than 1,200 in connection with that day, and nearly 900 of them have been convicted, per Biden’s statistics, but not one has been charged with insurrection.
Regarding the significant number of Americans who remember the events of January 6 differently, Biden offered no attempt at persuasion or even rebuttal — merely a personal attack. These people — Donald Trump in particular — were “trying to rewrite the facts of January 6th,” nay “trying to steal history.” And make no mistake, any anniversary that provides Mr. Biden’s party with as much positive propaganda as January 6 must be considered capital-H “History.”
In the speech, Biden again raised the specter of right-wing extremism, describing the “hate,” “violence,” and “racist names” that flew on January 6. Then he directed this line at Trump in particular, “He calls those who oppose him ‘vermin.’ He talks about the blood of Americans being poisoned, echoing the same exact language used in Nazi Germany.”
Biden’s concern with right-wing extremism connected to January 6 is not new. Within two weeks of assuming office, Biden’s Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had launched an initiative to confront “the reality that several current or former military personnel joined the rioters,” as The New York Times put it. Austin formalized this initiative in a February 5, 2021 memorandum directing commanders to conduct a “stand-down,” where service personnel would halt their other duties to “address extremism in the ranks.”
Austin followed that with another memo on April 9, 2021, which authorized a working group and an independent study on extremist behavior. The working group’s recommendations were published in December 2021, while the study, conducted by the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), was published in December 2023.
The 262-page IDA study reached a conclusion that, while good for America, was likely not what President Biden wanted to hear. “IDA’s review found no evidence that the number of violent extremists in the military is disproportionate to the number of violent extremists in the United States as a whole,” the 14-person study group concluded. This finding does not fit the narrative that white supremacy is an existential, militarized threat to democracy.
However, the conclusion does fit the facts. In reviewing more than 700 publicly available cases against J6 defendants, IDA found only seven or eight cases (depending on the source) against current servicemembers, only one of whom was on active-duty at the time; they also found only 73 or 107 cases (again depending on the source) against military veterans, who had been discharged, on average, 15 years earlier.
In addition to this snapshot data, IDA also investigated military court-martial opinions stretching back to 2012 and found an “extremely low number of published court-martial cases involving prohibited extremist activities.” Excluding gang-related cases, these totaled only “one case per year.”
Thus, multiple sources of data led the IDA to conclude that military personnel are not, statistically speaking, more likely to become extremists than the ordinary population — despite the Left’s devotion to that narrative. In fact, the IDA specifically rebuked this narrative as false:
“Anecdotal accounts of military participation in violent extremist events, like the events of 6 January 2021, draw public attention and may create the impression that the military has ‘an extremism problem.’ Such accounts magnify the actions of a few and provide little information on the overall scope of the problem. Moreover, these accounts [such as the NYT piece quoted above] frequently fail to differentiate between those who are currently serving in the military and those who have left the military (often many years earlier) or have been removed from the military for cause with less than honorable discharges.”
The IDA warned that a false narrative of right-wing extremism in the military, or even confusion over the definition, “could lead to a significant division in the force along political and ideological lines, with some members of the military believing that they are being targeted for their views.”
The IDA also warned that “the risk to the military from widespread polarization and division in the ranks may be a greater risk than the radicalization of a few service members,” and they urged the Department of Defense to “avoid steps that risk unnecessary polarization or division in the ranks.” Firing people for refusing the COVID vaccine is one example of unnecessary polarization.
“As Americans, service members have every right to their own opinions, including opinions that may appear extreme or even distasteful to others,” the IDA added. “Diversity of views, like diversity of race, gender, and ethnicity, is both a necessity and an asset for the Department, providing an aggregation of strengths, perspectives, and capabilities that transcend individual contributions.” However, current military leadership continues to promote left-wing ideology and chill dissent, as part of the Biden administration’s “whole-of-government” approach to promoting the LGBT agenda, DEI, and abortion.
Biden claimed in his speech to “embrace the Constitution,” “honor the sacred cause of democracy,” and defend against “Trump’s assault on democracy.” His playbook for doing so appears to involve silencing dissenting opinions, transforming the military into a domestic political weapon, putting his leading political opponent in federal prison before Election Day, and insisting that voters may only vote for one party.
“That’s going to be his strategy on the campaign because he can’t run on his record. He’s had three years of failure,” said Rep. Ron Estes (R-Kan.) on “Washington Watch.” Estes rattled off Biden’s Afghanistan debacle, his failure to deter Russia in Ukraine or Iran in the Middle East, and inflation.
Besides, “it is very hypocritical that President Biden wants to talk about threats to democracy,” argued Estes, noting how the Biden administration has treated the president’s son with kid gloves, while the “Department of Justice goes after parents because they want to make sure that their children have good education” and “go[es] after pro-life supporters just because they have a different political view. It really is an abysmal record that President Biden has, in terms of a threat to democracy.”
Meanwhile, a patchwork of states is seeking to remove the name of Biden’s top opponent from electoral ballots, based upon a crime with which that man has never been charged. In pursuit of the “deadly serious” business of defending democracy’s “sacred cause,” Biden found not a single word to condemn this anti-democratic gambit. But a one-time event, three years ago, got a whole speech. “Actually, a vote for Biden is a vote that’s a threat to democracy,” declared Estes.
Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.
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