SEALs and diversity

Immediately after the killing of Osama bin Laden, this unhappy thought came to me: I thought that Obama would want to meet the SEALs team that had carried out the mission, and that when he met them he would be scandalized by the lack of blacks among them, and that this would set off the re-making of the SEALs to achieve diversity. Which led me to the conclusion: “The SEALs’ greatest achievement is going to lead to their undoing.”

In fact, I was behind the times. The effort to diversify the SEALs has been in force for a while.

Paul of Stuff Black People Don’t Like writes:

I’ve been blown away by the actual numbers reported of black men in the Navy SEALs. Our government has spent a ton of money trying to fix this problem. See this.

You just have to wonder how white the picture is of SEALs Team 6, the guys who got Osama … is that why they won’t release it?

When they make the movie, how many black guys and other racial minorities will be added to the team to reflect our commitment to diversity?

And Vincent Chiarello writes:

The public profile of the US Navy SEALs has been noticeably raised due to the events of the past two weeks. I recall with great clarity the first time I ever met one: during a conference held at the State Department in Washington in 1974, I asked my fellow participant what job he had in the Navy, and he responded by saying, “I’m a seal,” which led me to believe he was pulling my leg.

Subsequently, I’ve met several more these splendid male warriors, including a fellow parishioner. When last I spoke to him, he mentioned that he was assigned to the SEAL billets in Virginia, the men, coincidentally, who carried out the bin Laden assignment.

Today, our Commander-in-Chief heads to Fort Campbell to honor these men, but both his administration and the previous one have pressured the Navy’s hierarchy to change their methods for recruiting SEALs, and once again the ugly head of “diversity” threatens to disrupt an elite US military organization. To read the Navy’s Recruitment Magazine provides enough evidence that the US Navy’s future has been tied to minority recruitment at all levels, including the SEALs.

In November of 2010, the US Navy formally announced a campaign “to boost its recruitment of minorities, especially African-Americans, to attend the basic demolition/SEAL course and follow on SEAL Qualification Training and join the all-male community of special operators—one that has been largely white. (Comment: of all the many photos I’ve seen of SEAL teams, the groups were all, not “mostly,” white.) It should also be pointed out that Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, and Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations, vigorously approved this new recruitment plan, but, then, they’ve never seen any plan for greater diversity launched by this administration, including placing women on combat submarines, that didn’t strike their fancy. I should also point out that the new chief of Navy recruiting is Rear Admiral Robin R. Braun.

In my opinion, all of this bodes no good for the future of the Navy, and especially for the special groups that are highly selective. Navy pilots are tested in ways that no others are, and despite the efforts of “diversity” experts, Mother Nature has frowned upon putting a woman in the cockpit that has to land on a carrier. If the past is prologue, the scores of these new “diversity” candidates will be considered sufficient to allow a small group to become SEALs, and with each year greater numbers will enter. The question then will be this: in five or more years, will the SEALs be able to carry out a mission that raised their profile internationally? I, for one, doubt it.

LA writes:

The other night on TV I saw a former Navy SEAL speak of his training. He said that 220 men entered the training program, and that 21 graduated. He said that the trainers wanted them to fail. Only those who refused to fail, who were willing to go through unbelievable tortures and rigors, graduated.

This is one of the most selective fields in the world. Ninety percent of the white men who enter the training fail to get through, and those who fail are already in a highly select group. Becoming a SEAL is a matter of pure skill, pure toughness, pure will. And yet the proponents of diversity plan to inject blacks into this program, purely on the basis of their being black.

LA continues:
Some will object to my saying that the proponents of diversity plan to inject blacks into this program “purely” on the basis of their being black. They will say that it’s not all race, that the blacks who are admitted will have a high degree of ability.

This ignores the point that, in the absence of the special boost the blacks are getting for their race, they would have failed out of the program, just as the overwhelming majority of whites who try to become SEALs fail out of the program. Therefore, the blacks who are being admitted to the SEALs because of their race are being admitted purely because of their race. If they weren’t black, they wouldn’t be in the SEALs. Period.

- end of initial entry -

Sage McLaughlin writes:

I was following your comments today on the near total absence of black Navy SEALs. Your and Mr. Chiarello’s remarks are true enough as far as they go, but I would argue even they don’t go far enough. The issue with Basic Underwater Demolitions (BUDs) training for SEALs is, as you say, largely a matter of mental fortitude and the willingness to endure privation to the point of death. But that stage of the training, which is the most famous and is popularly referred to as Hell Week, is not really the essence of BUDs. It’s just a winnowing mechanism for finding men with a greater commitment to becoming SEALs than to anything else, men with the power to endure deadly cold water at night for hours on end, etc. After a candidate passes Hell Week, the real test begins, and this is I think the biggest obstacle for recruiting minorities into the SEALs.

The problem is that BUDs training requires a very high IQ and the ability to think through very complex problems under stress. The equipment a SEAL has to use while underwater is complicated, and SEALs are expected to understand explosives at a level most front-line soldiers never do. BUDs candidates are placed underwater with partially malfunctioning scuba gear, and are shoved from several directions by instructors while they attempt to repair their gear. They are expected to be able to follow step-by-step instructions in the installation of underwater explosive devices—utilizing timers, switches, scuba gear, etc., all while operating in the dark and treading water upside-down—and to do so without making even the slightest error that could cause a detonation or mission failure. They are expected to be able to acquire survival skills in a variety of hostile environments, which requires the creative application of years of detailed instruction. They must be able, with fantastic speed and precision, to execute room-clearing and urban assault operations that demand perfect adherence to difficult protocols and instructions in order to prevent themselves, their team members, or potential hostages from being killed. They must be cognizant of a host of legal issues associated with overseas covert operations. An ideal SEAL will be able to learn at least one foreign language, providing instruction and engaging in ad-hoc negotiations with foreign military personnel. It just goes on and on.

In short, being a SEAL is extremely demanding from a cognitive point of view, not just physically nor even as a matter of mental fortitude. It’s a complex and intellectually demanding job, and only a tiny fraction of white men could ever stand a chance of mastering all the skills necessary to be a fully functioning member of a SEAL team, even if the physical standards were not an issue. If someone wants to take offense at the suggestion that this is a special obstacle for American blacks, I’d love to hear their explanation for why virtually every one of them has failed to meet the requirements of BUDs training in a military that is already fanatically committed to “diversity.”

Moreover, being a SEAL is a whole lifestyle that requires total dedication and a willingness to submerge one’s identity altogether, even to the point of sacrificing any really significant time with one’s family because almost all of your time is spent in training of one kind or another—SEALs train year-round, and do not simply “graduate” and move on the “real” business of being a SEAL. The ability to deny self-gratification at that level and for that length of time is rare enough among whites. In blacks it is practically unknown.

The fact is that the number of blacks who posses the qualities necessary to become a SEAL according to historical standards is extremely low. The pressure to admit them has already harmed standards among Army Rangers, whose instructors have been forced to take a more arbitrary approach to admission in order to satisfy the pressure to darken the profile of our elite fighting forces.

LA replies:

There was only one way this could have been stopped. If all the Army Rangers officers and men had done a John Galt and quit the military the moment that the Army began lower the standards to admit blacks. In the absence of such a strike, the diversification campaign will just keep moving forward.

This is why I say, in the current entry on Germany, that even though the liberal elite may be forcing these and other unwanted changes on the American people or the German people, the people are still responsible for letting it happen. Ultimately, all societies are self-governing. If a people are being ruled by a liberal elite, it’s because they are letting that elite rule them.

D. in Seattle writes:

To reinforce Sage’s point, here’s what I learned from a former SEAL I befriended years ago through a mutual friend. This man (of German descent) came from a career military family and had a degree in nuclear engineering from an Ivy League school. On one mission (no details about time and place were provided, and it would have been stupid to ask, so I didn’t) he went covert as part of a some sort of a delegation to a foreign military facility, possibly nuclear. No cameras or note taking were allowed, so his job was to remember technical details while carrying pleasant conversations in a foreign language, and later reproduce those details and create sketches from memory and write a report. He basically acted as a human camera and also analyzed the “photos” on top of that.

I’ll let others conclude what percentage of even Ivy League graduates would be capable of this, let alone a percentage of general population or of black population.

David B. writes:

Last Night ABC 20/20 had a program on the Bin Laden raid. There was a segment on Navy SEAL training. This was file footage. Every Seal I saw was white. Among other things, they have to be able to swim 25 yards with hands and feet tied.

The mental competence required was obvious. Another point is the SEALs are not publicily identified. This means you will not see them congratulated on TV by the president.

I thought ABC did a good job with this particular program.

Anita K. writes:

Reading about SEAL training reminded me of the first part of Lone Survivor, by Marcus Luttrell, in which he details the training that SEALs undergo. “Get wet and sandy” has stayed in my mind, as well as the fact that so many can’t stand the utterly gruelling stuff they go through. And skin color is not an issue here.

Lone Survivor tells of the death of Luttrell’s mates, after they encountered goatherds in Afghanistan whom they let go because killing them would not have played well with the American media and who then betrayed them to the Taliban. I do think the media have a lot of deaths on their hands, and not just in the U.S.

Vincent Chiarello writes:

I should have pointed out that Rear Admiral Robin Braun, Chief of Naval Recruitment, is a woman.

The linked article provides further understanding of the far reaching extent to which “diversity” has poisoned the pools of the military. It is now apparent that there is a Fleet Diversity Council, a body that has been around for nine years, and holds annual conferences!

Many will recall the asinine comment by Gen. George Casey following the Fort Hood murders that diversity was the major objective of the US Army. This is not an aberration characteristic of just one service: from the Navy’s Recruitment Magazine this:

According to the Navy’s Diversity Director [emphasis mine], it is imperative that the message put forth by the guest speakers at the [Diversity] conference filter out to the fleet, especially since diversity is one of the top priorities set forth by the Chief of Naval Operations. [Adm. Roughead.]

The Seals have maintained the highest traditions and honor of the US Navy. That cannot be said of much of the Fleet, where the uncovering of Navy “love boats,” in which disastrous lesbian “romances” affected the ship’s personnel and morale, are becoming more commonplace. Where “diversity as a major objective” rules the services, the future of all elite fighting forces can only be put in doubt.

May 8

Matthew H. writes:

As you indicated, the prominence of elite combat units like the Rangers and the SEALS has, by exposing them to the scrutiny of the diversity police, perhaps been their undoing. This, however, does not necessarily mean that our government is going to allow its critical operations to be jeopardized by incompetent affirmative action hires.

I have read recently that the CIA is either maintaining or planning its own elite combat unit. The composition of such a unit would naturally be undisclosed and therefore not subject to political pressure to hire under-qualified blacks.

This suggests to me a strong temptation on the part of our high-level decision makers to maintain a two-tiered structure. One, the public level, would consist of all the elements with which we are familiar and which can essentially be bastardized to whatever degree the politics of the moment demand. This level would be for show and would not fill any critical role in our nation’s actual defense or administration. It would include the regular service branches and their elite groups as well as the Congress and, now, the Presidency.

On the other level would be a “black” (if you will) apparatus that does the real heavy lifting out of sight and unencumbered by the bizarre and suicidal demands of an increasingly depraved citizenry and its shameless political enablers.

I find such a scenario both disturbing and strangely consoling at the same time. Disturbing for the obvious reason that, if true, it means the republic is dead. Consoling because it leaves one a shred of hope that our leaders, though unaccountable, are, at least, not mad.=

Josh F. writes:

And let’s not forgot the main motivation of the Navy SEAL which is to kill AMERICA’s enemies in the interest of AMERICA.

How many black men would this exclude if not nearly all of them?

Paul K. writes:

The discussion of the disturbing lack of diversity in the SEALs reminds me of a column Steve Sailer wrote last year, “The Eternal Obsession,” on the disturbing lack of diversity in ballet. He quotes a Washington Post article, which says, “Clearly, not enough work is being done to foster African American dancers. But with public money in their coffers, ballet companies—and the local, state and federal funders—need to make equal opportunity in the dancer ranks a priority.”

Sailer observes, “I’m always struck by how white people are constantly admonishing each other that they must lure more blacks into difficult, low-paying, low chance of success careers.”

Exactly the same can be said of the SEALs. There is no reason for a man to want to become a SEAL unless it is a major life goal. The work is grueling and dangerous, doesn’t pay well, there is no fame involved and no long-term prospects. I would have no particular interest in becoming a SEAL even if I were physically, emotionally, and mentally qualified for it. Why must we assume that blacks are hankering to make the necessary sacrifices? If they aren’t, what are we going to do, bribe them to go into the program, waive the normal requirements so that they don’t fail, and then call them SEALs while confining them to support tasks where their lack of qualifications won’t get them killed in the field? I can’t imagine the point of that, though they could at least be trotted out for photo ops.

Timothy A. writes:

If the standards are so high that they are keeping blacks out of the SEALs, I would expect that the Navy will change the standards or adopt a separate set of standards for blacks. The precedent was set more than 30 years ago, when the Navy first admitted women to the Naval Academy, officer training programs, etc. A separate (lower) set of physical requirements was used for women candidates (I observed this in the mid 80s).

A type of Bizarro World version of this story is playing out in France, where Laurent Blanc, the head of the national soccer team, is under fire for suggesting changes in order to increase (indirectly) the number of white Frenchmen playing soccer (which would eventually increase the number of whites on the French national team, which would, in Blanc’s opinion, increase its competitiveness).

Mark Jaws writes:

Why the appallingly (wink wink) low numbers of blacks in our special elite units? This is a topic about which I truly know more than the average person. I spent four years at Fort Bragg, home of the airborne. Many of my neighbors were Green Berets and Rangers. I also spent two years at the Norfolk Naval Base and was in close proximity to the Navy SEALs. And, prior to my military career I was a swim instructor at McBurney YMCA on 7th Avenue and 23rd Street. I had over 50 students, about ten of whom were black.

There is ONE MAJOR reason why blacks are so dramatically underrepresented in our elite units. They cannot swim, and when they do, about 98 percent of them do so with extreme difficulty. There is no way of getting around passing the very rigorous swim test to be a Green Beret or SEAL. The results cannot be faked or dumbed down. Either you can do it or you can’t. And blacks, due to their high bone density and lack of body fat (well, at least the type that makes you float), lack the buoyancy to swim well, and particularly to swim under strenuous circumstances. And the very, very few that can pass the test, are more often than not lighter skin blacks with plenty of white-boy-stay-afloat chromosomes in their gene (swimming) pool. I saw it first hand in getting my students to relax in the water. All my black students, including the females, when let loose and allowed to float in the water, sank like Clark Cable’s submarine in “Run Silent, Run Deep.” The very body which makes blacks world class sprinters and superior basketball and football stars, works against them in the water. End of story. Unless the PC Police can accuse the water and ocean of being racist.

PS. Being a Green Beret and SEAL is also cognitively demanding.

LA replies:

“Unless the PC Police can accuse the water and ocean of being racist.”

Why not?

May 9

Mark A. writes:

“Unless the PC Police can accuse the water and ocean of being racist.”

The PC Police don’t have to accuse the water and ocean of being racist. It’s the white examiners who are racist, not the water and ocean. The white examiners might not have adequately shown that Green Berets and SEALs tend to do most of their fighting in the water. What percentage of engagements take place in water? How often must a SEAL swim? Is most fighting done on land? Even if water fighting is engaged in, can’t the white SEALs and Green Berets do that fighting and the let the black SEALs pick up the slack on land where they can use their superior skills? Isn’t this the beauty of diversity?

Never underestimate the lunacy of the Left.

May 15

Mark Jaws writes (sent May 9):

With respect to the Navy SEAL and US Army Green Beret swimming requirements I wrote of yesterday, I need to provide a critical update. A nice young man at work who recently left the Special Forces and the Army a few months ago just told me that when he qualified for the Green Beret Qualification Course back in 2005, it was no longer a mandatory requirement to pass the 100-meter swim test. Instead, the Army was judging Green Beret recruits using the “total man” concept. That is, if a person could bring some other vital skill set to the Green Berets (i.e., critical language fluency or demolitions expertise) then the swimming qualification could be waived. However, the lenghty and cognitively demanding night land navigation course (which would also eliminate many knuckle draggers) was still (as of 2005) a mandatory requirement.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 07, 2011 02:59 PM | Send

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