By Marvin L. Covault, Lt Gen (US Army Retired)
THEN (January 2021) and
NOW (January 2023)
Then: On inauguration day, January 2021, we listened intently and with hope as our new President spoke to the nation about his plan for unity.
Now: As we look back on the last two years, we (about 70 million voters) recall vividly being repeatedly called racist, white supremacist, domestic terrorists, and MAGA extremists by President Biden in particular and many Democrat leaders in general. Unity?
Then: Our nation was energy independent for the first time since 1957.
Now: We beg for oil from Saudi Arabia, they say “no” and we prop up the Venezuela dictator by rejuvenating their oil production industry.
Then: We could buy a gallon of gas in most places for about two bucks.
Now: The national average is $3.51 per gallon down from a high of $4.96. And, no Mr. President the rise in U.S. gas prices was not caused by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. By then, February 2022, the price had already increased by 78% to $3.57 a gallon and steadily rising.
Then: Interest on a 30-year mortgage averaged 2.5%.
Now: 6.5% and probably rising in 2023.
Now: 7% (down from a high of 9.1% in June 2022. A few hours after being inaugurated, President Biden signed an Executive Order that created instant turmoil throughout the oil and gas industry. As a result, by 6 June 2021, the average price of a gallon of gas had doubled which was a trigger to drive inflation. Everything we buy, at some point, comes out of a truck that is burning increasingly expensive fuel. The inflation rate continued to rise with the increasing cost of gas and diesel fuel.
Then: Sales in 2020 hit the highest point since 2006.
Now: Sales last year were the slowest in a decade.
INDIVIDUAL RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS
Then: $11.8 trillion.
Now: $9.25 trillion. A trillion dollars is a difficult number to grasp; stated another way, Americans’ retirement savings have gone down by 2,550 billion dollars
Then: The pipeline was scheduled to begin operations in 2023 with a capacity of moving 830,000 barrels per day carbon-free. Biden killed it on day one destroying 11,000 jobs and about $2 billion in wages.
Now: That crude oil is moving by truck and train burning millions of gallons of carbon-producing diesel fuel.
Then: In FY 2020, 4,476 pounds of fentanyl was seized at the southern border.
Now: In FY 2022, 14,000 pounds of fentanyl was seized at the southern border and the data for FY 2023, after only four months, is already about 7,000 pounds. Biden is not talking about fentanyl.
Then: Three illegal immigrants on the terrorist watch list were apprehended in 2020
Now: 98 in 2022. But how many terrorists that are not on the watch list entered the U.S.?
ILLEGAL MIGRANT ENCOUNTERS
Then: 646,000, FY 2020
Now: 2,776,000, FY 2022, a 330% increase.
Then: $847 billion.
Now: $1.3 trillion.
Then: 3.9 %.
Now: 10.4 %.
HOME HEATING OIL
Then: $1.94 per gallon.
Now: $3.13 per gallon, a 61% increase.
Then: In FY2020 the FBI reported 8.9 million criminal actions in 23 offense categories. Not good.
Now: Crimes across America are breaking previous records every month. Murder, rape, and aggravated assault increased by 25% last year. As an example of how crime is affecting masses of Americans, last year there were over 4,000 auto thefts in New Orleans. Police are undermanned, demoralized, and underfunded. Prosecutors and judges create revolving doors for criminals with long rap sheets.
Then: We knew the cartels existed and were instrumental in moving illegal immigrants across the southern border.
Now: The cartels are moving illegal immigrants to the border in numbers (December 2022, averaging over 8,000 per day) that exceed the record number for each previous month. Cartels are now operating throughout the U.S. in the distribution of drugs. Biden will not talk about cartels because his administration’s position is that, “the border is secure. ”
Then: Maximum sanctions were imposed on Iran to pressure their leaders and weaken their economy. It was working.
Now: Biden rescinded sanctions on Iran to get a new deal with them; the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism.
Then: the U.S. recognized Israel as their long-time friend and most important ally in the Middle East. Through a U.S.-driven initiative, for the first time, a number of Middle East Muslim-dominated nations were officially recognizing Israel and exchanging ambassadors.
Now: As with the Obama administration, Israel is not a Biden priority, especially with the conservative Israeli leadership.
EDUCATION and SCHOOL CHOICE
Then: In January 2021 education results in general across the nation were poor, especially in public schools.
Now: Education is on a clear path to becoming much worse. With a woke agenda and an equity culture, the future labor force will be flooded with functionally illiterate high school graduates. Also, while all the data shows that Charter and private schools outperform public schools, Biden is dead set against school choice because of the mutual admiration between himself and the education unions that predominate in public schools. Biden has declared war on Charter Schools by directing the Department of Education to use obscure bureaucratic rules to kill the federal charter-school program without having to explain why.
STRATEGIC OIL RESERVE
Then: 638.1 million barrels.
Now: 371.6 million barrels. Biden released the strategic reserve to bring down gas and diesel prices before the 2022 election. At that level, the “strategic” reserve becomes a national security issue.
Then: Trump campaigned on reducing prohibitive government regulations with a “two-out, one-in” Executive Order. In FY 2020 he eliminated $144 billion in overall regulatory costs.
Now: On day one, Biden canceled Trump’s Executive Order.
Then: Before his departure in January 2021, President Trump traveled to Asia and met with Kim Jong-Il on three separate occasions and discussed North Korea’s nuclear and missile testing. Following the talks, all testing ceased.
Now: Within days of President Biden's inauguration, North Korea resumed testing with 10 missile launches in 2021 and 67 in 2022 of at least 14 different types of missiles including submarine-launched, cruise missiles, and intercontinental ballistic missiles to include (NK claims) a hypersonic-capable missile.
MILITARY MUNITIONS INVENTORY
Then: No problems, supply was sufficient to cover training and war plans.
Now: There is a dilemma for the U.S. support to Ukraine. On the one hand, without our critical munitions (various 155mm artillery rounds, antitank rockets, air defense missiles, long-range artillery guided rockets, etc.) the Russians would probably be in control of a greater part of Ukraine if not all of it. But our stocks are running low, and for most of them, it will take 5-8 years of production (while also supplying U.S. training requirements) to bring inventories up to strategically sufficient levels. More munitions for Ukraine may create a national security deficiency and training will be negatively impacted.
Additionally, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) recently concluded a war game simulation of a conventional war with China in the Taiwan Strait. They concluded that we are, “Not adequately prepared for a protracted conventional war with an enemy with a large military like China. Some inventories of long-range precision munitions would be depleted in a week. The bottom line is the defense industry is not prepared for the security environment that now exists.”
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION (DEI)
Then: Equal opportunity for all was the goal in a merit-driven culture. Military readiness was high and deterrence was active.
Now: On 25 June 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order that:
“Establishes a government-wide initiative to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in all parts of the Federal workforce.
Charges all agencies with assessing the current state of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility within their workforces, and developing strategic plans to eliminate any barriers to success faced by underserved employees.
Directs agencies to seek opportunities to establish or elevate Chief Diversity Officers within their organizations.”
That order, of course, included the Department of Defense.
The DoD is a different type of organization by design and necessity. They take in a cross-section of Americans and indoctrinate them into a culture of accountability, trust, and respect. They are trained to kill and blow things up and defeat any and all enemies and do it without losing their moral compass. It’s a tall order and not easy to accomplish. It begins the day an American raises his/her hand and takes a solemn oath. From that moment forward they live and breathe in a culture that provides every single service member equal opportunity and freedom to not only succeed but to excel as an individual and team member; to be all they can be. And the entire organization is set up to operate in a climate that is strictly merit-based.
President Truman, Executive Order 9981, Integration of the Armed Forces, 26 July 1948. The U.S. military has led the nation over the past 75 years in creating a cohesive organization from a cross-section of all Americans.
The U.S. military has been and is today the master of the culture of acknowledging, embracing, supporting, and accepting those of all racial, sexual, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds. All a soldier needs to know is that those to his right and left have his back. He/she could care less about their heritage.
Equity is pure poison to the military ethos. All military training is based on standards for every military action; how, how many, how fast, how far, and how good. Every day some soldier somewhere will perform some action to a new, higher, better, faster standard and thereby set the precedent for all future training of that action or activity. Not everyone can or is expected to meet that new standard but it is there for everyone to try. To have a military built around the concept of equity (“ensure everyone can achieve the same outcome”) serves only to dumb down the entire organization to the point that it becomes mediocre from top to bottom.
That is what is happening to our military right now, and remarkably it has taken only two years to degrade our capabilities.
Why is that important?
Our strength for decades has provided deterrence. Deterrence means our potential enemies believe we can take them on and defeat them. It keeps them at bay. With degraded strength/deterrence, our enemies no longer fear us and our allies can no longer trust us to deliver.
How does President Biden enforce DEI in the military?
First by indoctrinating all of our future leaders with DEI front and center in all of our military academy’s curriculum.
Secondly, each of the academies has a non-military Advisory Board that oversees what is going on at each campus. Biden fired all of the Trump appointees. T
Third, all nominations for flag officers to be promoted to 3 and 4-stars and all 4-star reassignments must be forwarded by the president for Senate confirmation. Do you believe any of these nominees are not committed to DEI?
General/Secretary Austin and JCS Chairman General Milley each spent decades in the military service as described above.
I cannot believe deep down in their soul that they believe DEI is good for the U.S. military. I also seriously doubt that President Biden understands the harm he has forced on the military. There comes a time when senior leaders have to put principle ahead of self and tell the boss (in this case the Commander in Chief) that indoctrination of the military with DEI is simply something they cannot, in good faith, accommodate. But they haven’t and won’t.
One of the most powerful people in the DOD now is someone you probably have never heard of: Cyrus Salazar serves as Director of the DOD Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and reports directly to the Secretary of Defense (SecDef).
As part of the DEI program on 4 February 2021, two weeks after Biden’s inauguration, SecDef Austin ordered all branches of the military to enact a “stand down” within the next 60 days so they can address supposed internal threats posed by white supremacy and other forms of extremism.
The final 21-page report published ten months later stated, “Extremist activity within the Department of Defense is rare.”
Any commander at any level in the military could have told SecDef Austin that in the first 24 hours of the standdown.
Then: Dealing with climate change was not a high-priority issue in the Trump administration.
Now: Biden has stated that climate is “an existential threat to human existence as we know it.” He appears obsessed with a U.S. transition to electric vehicles.
There are about 190 million vehicles in the U.S. As the number of EVs increases the price of lithium and the other scarce minerals for lithium batteries is going up and up. The price of lithium doubled in 2022.
The climate change advocates’ hyperbolic rhetoric too often consists of exaggerated claims, “The world will end in 12 years” etc. rather than a well thought out long-range strategic plan.
For example, when the majority of U.S. vehicles (let’s say 150 million) are powered by lithium batteries, what happens when the U.S. expends our limited lithium mineral reserves and we have to beg China for delivery and they say, “no”?
China currently controls about 80% of the world’s known lithium reserves.
It is details like that that no one, including the president, is talking about. The president has no coherent long-range plan for dealing with carbon buildup.
This essay intended to point out the then-and-now associated with a broad spectrum of issues facing We-The-People every day.
The objective was not to just pick on President Biden’s performance over his first 24 months in office, but the findings do seem to confirm what Americans told an NBC poll, on 23 January 2023 that 72% say the country is headed in the wrong direction.
CONCLUSIONS from then to now:
What is most alarming is that at least six of the above findings have serious national security implications.
One: Open Borders: Border agents have confirmed that since Biden took office there have been 1.2 million gotaways were observed but not apprehended. Plus, an unknown number of gotaways were not sighted or apprehended. We can only conclude that potentially hundreds of thousands of criminals, gang members, terrorists, and human and drug traffickers have entered the U.S. on Biden’s watch with potentially catastrophic results in the years ahead.
Two: The strategic oil reserve is at its lowest point since 1984. We live in a bad world; we may need that oil, all of it.
Three: Our seriously depleted munitions inventory places us at risk of not being able to conduct a sustained conventional conflict.
Four: The long-term impact woke culture is having on military readiness and our declining deterrent posture is very dangerous.
Five: The administration’s do-nothing attitude towards North Korea threatens our very existence.
Six: The ever-increasing criminal activity throughout America has become a threat to every citizen’s safety and security every day.
The president’s number one priority is to look after the safety and security of Americans, all Americans.
“Take care of the big stuff and the little stuff will take care of itself.”