Book Review: Stand Down: How Social Justice Warriors are Sabotaging America’s Military by James Hasson

Unless you have been living in a cave you should be aware that political correctness and the “war for social justice” is everywhere in the last 10-15 years.  This book details how the social justice warriors (SJWs) have infiltrated the American military and the corrosive effect SJW policies has had on military readiness.

The author is a former US Army officer and combat veteran.  The numbers: there are 182 pages of text divided into 9 topical chapters with 38 pages of notes and an index.  The first chapter defines the problems that the author sees and chapters 2-8 describe the various issues and how the SJW influence has affected the military.  The final chapter is a call to action to return the focus of the military from social issues to its primary mission of fighting the nations wars.

Old soldiers always complain about the way it used to be, that is a trait of soldiers in general.  I am even willing to bet there were Legionnaires manning Hadrian’s Wall in the 2nd Century complaining about the new Legions were getting soft.  At first glance it might be easy to dismiss this book as being similar, just a list of complaints.  That is not what this book is though.  Hasson brings up some very valid points about the ways social engineering policies in the military are negatively affecting combat readiness.  Further, he correctly points out multiple times that the only criteria for pursuing any policy in the military is if it makes the force more lethal and able to deter or defeat the nation’s potential enemies.  He makes a very good case that none of the policies he describes in the book meet that criteria.

Serving in the military has nothing to do with fairness, it has everything to do with being able to meet physical and mental standards of toughness and fitness by the individual and units being able to function effectively as a team in the adverse environment of combat.  The individual chapters with issues such as the changes at the service academies, the LGBTQ debate and military service, women in combat arms, the invasion of campus SJW norms into the military, and climate change initiatives and their impact on readiness.

Hasson makes good points throughout, but I have to admit that as a retired combat arms soldier myself; I have strong feelings on these issues as well.  I firmly stand with both the author and former Defense Secretary James Mattis in that any changes that do not directly contribute to accomplishing the military’s battlefield mission should never be enacted at all.  If a compelling case that changes increase the odds of battlefield success can be made then by all means, let’s do it.  If not, then overboard it goes.

This is a well-researched and written book that takes a dispassionate look at the attempts at changing the terms of military service, culture, and modes of fighting in the name of social justice over the past 20 years and indicts them all.  It is a thought-provoking book that will no doubt engender a strong reaction from any SJW types that deign to read it.  If you think the military should be about fighting and winning the nation’s and not just some great social experiment but especially if you think so then I highly recommend this book.  A very good book.