As we begin the Biden purge of extremists (meaning, conservative white supremacists as opposed to black lives matter or other radical liberal groups) from the Navy, it is interesting to ponder the historical lesson of another naval purge: the French navy at the time of the French Revolution.
The French navy was at a peak around the end of the American Revolution. However, the French Revolution, 1789-1799, resulted in a purge of ‘elitist’ officers and organizations from the navy as ably described in the following excerpt:
The French navy suffered considerably due to the French revolution. Having finished the American War of Independence on something approaching a high (comparatively speaking), the French navy suffered a reverse that it never fully recovered from until well after the finish of the Napoleonic Wars.
Like most other European navies of the time, the officers were often from the upper-classes and, as you probably guessed, there was a large-scale purge of these officers in the early period in question. Their replacements were rarely of high quality and, too often, had little or no experience of commanding a warship at sea, much less a warship in combat. Many of the aristocratic officer class fled the country (or failed to return) and these emigrés wound up in the navies of Britain, Austria and Russia fighting against their former homeland.
Also the fervor of revolution and its ideal of equality meant that these replacement officers often had little control over the ship's crews. As an example, at the start of 1793 Vice-Admiral Morard de Galles took a small squadron to sea from Brest, upon their return he commented on the crew:
“The vaunted ardour which is attributed to them, consists uniquely of the words of ‘patriot’ and ‘patriotism’ which they repeat ceaselessly, and the acclamations of ‘Vive la Nation’, ‘Vive la République’ when they are flattered. Nothing can make them attend their duties.” (1)
Another consequence of the revolution was the disbanding of the Marine Artillery Corps (over 5,000 men), whose skilled crew men were considered too elitist. This left the navy with untrained men servicing the guns and the result was to limit the navy's fighting ability considerably.
In addition, the dockyards were not immune to the revolution and were centres of uprisings as much as the big cities. After the revolution, like the new ship's officers, the dockyard managers and commandants found that the workforce wasn't as keen on taking orders as it had been. This lead to a loss in efficiency in building and repairing vessels (and an increase in other losses), with the natural result that fewer ships in the navy were fully fit to go to sea. (1)
The purges crippled the French navy and left it unable to effectively combat the British navy in the ensuing years. The lessons from this should be blindingly obvious but are clearly lost on the US Navy, today. We’re conducting purge after purge of our own and each is further degrading our already hollow force.
Wait … purges?? We haven’t conducted any purges, you say. What is ComNavOps talking about? Well aside from the Biden ‘extremist’ (conservative) purge which is currently on-going, the Navy has conducted other purges. Let’s recall …
We’ve already purged warriors from the military with our campaigns to feminize the military, lower standards to accommodate women, promote sensitivity, and create a warm and fuzzy, all-inclusive, feel good military. Remember the Navy slogan, “A Global Force For Good”? If that didn’t epitomize the ‘warrior-downing’ of the Navy, I don’t what did! The standout example of the result of this purging of warriors was the Iranian seizure of two riverine boats and crews by a substantially inferior Iranian force which saw the US Navy boats surrender without resistance by the crews (in direct violation of the US Armed Forces Code of Conduct, see ref (2) ) and the specter of sobbing crew members in captivity.
The Navy has purged any officers with an ounce of combativeness, fortitude, and determination as evidenced by the number of commanding officers relieved each year for ‘loss of confidence’ for piddly, non-naval reasons. The latest example was the commanding officer relieved for making trying to make a celebratory plaque for his ship out of a captured AK-47 rifle from a weapons seizure his ship successfully conducted. (3) We’ve ensured that the only commanding officers left are those who timidly get along, go along, and take no chances.
We’ve purged discipline from the fleet by neutering the Chiefs and their ability to apply one-on-one informal ‘corrections’ to worthy sailors.
And, of course, the current Biden purge seeks to remove conservatives who support politically right-leaning organizations. Left-leaning organizations like black lives matter appears perfectly acceptable to the Navy as a summer of riots, destruction, killings, and seizure of government buildings went unremarked by the Navy.
Merely ‘liking’ a post is now grounds for removal.(4)
Just by posting, retweeting, or liking an offensive post on social media — you could be participating in extremism,” Nowell (Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. John Nowell Jr.) said. (5)
This is unconstitutional thought-police taken to an Orwellian level.
The Navy, supposed defender of the Constitution and free speech, seems to have bought into the Biden purge with an almost religious zeal:
“You may not personally know any shipmates with extremist beliefs,” Nowell said. “But I assure you that those forces of darkness are among us.” (5)
‘Forces of darkness are among us’ ???? What’s next … burning at the stake?
By the way, do you know which Constitutionally guaranteed free speech is most important to defend? That’s right … it’s the speech you most vehemently disagree with. Biden and the Navy are doing the opposite and purging the speech they disagree with. When you join the Navy you accept certain limits on your ability to act but you do not forfeit your basic Constitutional rights.
As with the French navy, we’re systematically purging our fleet of the very warriors we so desperately need. Much as I despise bringing politics into this blog, it seems we’re going to have to address the issue because this administration seems determined to turn the Navy into a political and social issue rather than a warfighting organization. Biden’s purge is pretty transparently a purge not of extremists, in general, but of conservatives who disagree with the Democrat party line. The speed with which the Admirals have lined up behind the Biden purge is appalling and frightening. The Navy is losing future battles, today.
I really, really, don’t want to be writing these kinds of posts but the Biden administration is forcing politics onto the Navy and it must, therefore, be addressed.
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(2) US Armed Forces Code of Conduct, Article 2. : “I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.”