Defense Department Walks a Fine Line Amid Probe into Political Extremism

"Hawaii National Guard" (CC BY 2.0) by The National Guard

After the January 6 attack on Capitol Hill, the government has taken on the role of investigating political extremism. Despite the dangers of violent extremism, some Americans have noted that the government failed to launch studies into political extremism after multiple 2020 leftist riots from militants like Black Lives Matter and Antifa. 

“Virginia National Guard” (CC BY 2.0) by The National Guard

Nonetheless, probes into political extremism are here; however, the bodies launching these probes are having to walk a very fine line. Probes into political extremism are one thing; becoming the thought police and looking to police political views or religious beliefs is entirely different. 

This is a situation that the U.S. Defense Department is all too familiar with, as confirmed by Washington Examiner

Rooting Out Violent Extremism in America

Many arrests have taken place since the January 6 insurrection. Some of the individuals taken into custody were members of QAnon, the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, and even ex and current military people. 

Right now, probes into political extremism in the states are centered around what draws people into radical mindsets. However, this attempt to root out violent political extremism cannot turn into punishing people for their political opinions, religion, and views. This is a matter that the U.S. Pentagon addressed earlier this week. 

According to a spokesperson for the Pentagon, the investigations into political extremism are not about turning the government into the “thought police”; rather, the objective is to look into actions and behaviors that impact or inspire extremism in America. 

Lloyd Austin, the secretary for the Defense Department is working to stop U.S veterans and servicemembers from being drawn into extremist groups. Moreover, the Defense Department secretary aims to probe whether or not memberships in extremist groups increases the propensity for violent outbursts. 

The Test of Time

Ultimately, the actions and rhetoric of the Defense Department regarding political extremism will have serious ramifications. Republican lawmakers have already stated that probes into political extremism must not be abused to punish Americans of faith. 

The Pentagon spokesperson, however, continues to maintain that the Defense Department’s investigations into extremism have nothing to do with religion, but rather “extreme hatred or discrimination.” 

Many Americans are waiting to see how the Defense Department ultimately handles this. 

What do you think about the U.S. Defense Department looking into political extremism in America? Do you foresee any issues with this? Let us know your concerns and thoughts in the comments section below.