This column has addressed the issue of military readiness before, and pointed out that military recruiting results are abysmal. All the services are falling short of their quotas and the trend shows no sign of improving. If the services cannot recruit enough people to fill their ranks, how will America defend its national interests? We must solve the problem, but so far, the geniuses running the military cannot even figure out what is causing the problem. Maybe we can give them a hint or two that will allow them to identify the causes.
Historically, the military has no trouble recruiting soldiers, sailors and airmen when a crisis hits. That trend held true in the aftermath of the 9-11 attack and the subsequent invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. For years afterward, the military had no trouble hitting its recruiting goals. However, prolonged and politically limited wars that seem to have no end are very tough on recruiting. That phenomenon was abundantly clear after Vietnam, and in a scenario eerily reminiscent of the panicked flight from Saigon, the catastrophic rout from Afghanistan seemed to accelerate a recruiting debacle that shows no sign of ending. Frankly, that should not be surprising. Who wants to work for an organization that is most famous for screwing up? Most military recruits are too young to remember the triumphs of the Green Berets in Afghanistan, or the dramatic “Thunder Run” to Baghdad in the early 2000s. They are far more likely to remember seeing Afghans falling from the outside of planes during a desperate attempt to escape the Taliban. It is like trying to recruit for the Detroit Lions instead of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Aside from the image problem that was created by a lousy war strategy, and a craven, ill-managed retreat from Kabul, the military is shooting itself in both feet with foolish and damaging internal policies. The COVID vaccine mandates alienated religious people in all walks of American life, yet the military chain of command decided early on to mandate that all soldiers get the vaccine despite knowing that conservative Christians were particularly resistant to taking the shot. That decision was also made despite knowing that there was no scientific evidence showing it would improve the health and readiness of young healthy adults. As a result, thousands of military personnel were forced out of the services at a time when recruiting was already starting to be an issue. The general officer class has now rescinded that foolish mandate, but the damage is done. Not only did they lose thousands of people they could ill afford to lose, but their arrogant, high-handed treatment of the soldiers they forced out has had a chilling effect on recruitment among conservative Christians and even families with a legacy of military service. Personally, I will not recommend military service to anyone, but I especially respect young people who volunteer and serve in combat units.
Besides alienating their core demographic with the COVID mandate, the top military leaders compounded the problem with their ill-considered and ignorant embrace of the woke ideology which pushes racial, gender, and sexual orientation as being the primary issue for large organizations to address. As part of that embrace, SecDef Austin, and Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley both began advocating for white officers and soldiers to acknowledge their white rage and to start making amends for their bigotry and racism. It would be hard to imagine a more insulting and damaging campaign by a senior leader of an organization. Instead of being proud of their accomplishments, white servicemembers are expected to feel badly that they were rewarded for being white. Meanwhile, minority service members are left to wonder just how much has been taken or withheld from them due to their skin color. What person, of any color, with a healthy mind and possessing a modicum of common sense would want to serve in an organization like that?
Facing a major meltdown of recruiting and a desperate shortage of people, what is the general officer class doing? Changing their message? Not on your life! Their idea is to redouble their efforts at recruiting in the places where the lowest percentages of young adults are volunteering to serve. They think the problem is that they are not showing the military as being diverse enough and woke enough!! They figure if they emphasize those messages in their recruiting they can increase the percentage of recruits from places like California and New York enough to solve their recruiting shortfall problem. The idea is so dumb that it would be hilarious if the results were not so dangerous for our country.
As we shake our heads at the abject stupidity of our military leaders, it is only fair to note that the civilian sector has its share of woke addled fools running large organizations. The current debacle regarding Bud Light and its selection of Dylan Mulvaney as its official spokesperson is proof positive that the woke philosophy is infesting the global corporate culture as well. The big difference is that if Anheuser Busch gets it wrong, they lose money and people lose their jobs. When general officers make idiotic decisions, people die and the country is in danger. The current woke climate in the military is damaging morale, military readiness, unit cohesion and recruiting. The only reason it is being pushed is because high ranking officers are more concerned about getting their next promotion and sucking up to politicians than they are about defending our country. It is as pathetic as it is disgusting. We can only hope that enough Americans wake up to the dangers of “Wokeism” before it destroys us. Given the trajectory of the Biden administration on this and many other issues, betting that woke philosophy will be stopped before it causes the collapse of American society is an even money gamble at best..
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