The image you see above is taken from an “Emma” recruitment advertisement by the US Army. This narrates the story of a young female recruit who was raised by lesbian mothers and compares her military service with protesting for gay rights. This is the type of thing that people who fear the military has become woke use to support their case. It’s not that gay soldiers cannot fight. The problem is that the US military is so preoccupied with fighting culture wars (from the Left), that it is hindering its ability to fight actual wars.
I sent a lengthy letter to him , a military officer who was serving in a high ranking position. He claims that my fears about the US military being compromised by wokeness have been exaggerated and explains why.
I posted the responses from readers as an update. Today’s updates will be posted below, as the original post has fallen a bit in queue. To read the defense of the military by the officer and to see the initial letters sent back by readers, go to The original post These letters arrived overnight:
Although I have never served in the military, I work as a civilian for the military. Your dissenting military officer is likely to find my opinion worthless. It’s okay to share because I am a taxpayer and that military is ultimately my property. They have no mandate or mission without our permission.
First, I have serious problems with the things he has to say here.
Any cultural trend will be reflected in the Armed Forces, especially in an open democracy such as ours.
He later said:
We want every American to be able *to serve* and not feel like an imposter. *
It’s possible he believes this is a good thing, or completely neutral. The physical requirements for military service are not only about the moral and mental. Forget about the LGBTQ stuff. I know from personal experience that the military has a lot of people who have very negative feelings towards the United States and their fellow Americans. Millions of Americans feel the same way. This is a cultural trend that should be allowed in the military.
One thing that has been true about the military since the post-draft era was that most Americans would prefer not to serve in uniform. I would wager that at least 60% today’s military personnel didn’t want to be in the military as a child. They had to be recruited or encouraged to do so and only then did they realize that military service was worth their time. This is supported by evidence. The military is a job. You have to wear a uniform and follow many rules. This limits your freedom. Beyond that, it doesn’t really matter what your thoughts or opinions are, as long you show up to work and do what is asked. I can assure you, even on this last point, that military discipline is not enforced as strictly as people think. For the officer corps, the military has become a status symbol and credential. Because service is a great benefit to all who serve, and even most of them, it’s unfair to deny any one the chance to do so.
If the service did not have its benefits, which is the case in many countries around the globe, I don’t know if there would be a military as a fierce culture war battlefield as it is today. Day-laboring, forestry and mining are vital to national survival. This is why they haven’t been Wokeified.
It is a poor sign that Americans perceive Wokeification as merely the military reflecting American culture. Part of the reason we professionalized the services in 1973 was because we realized that drafting from the whole population could cause all kinds of problems that the military couldn’t afford. If an officer doesn’t think it is important that the military brings in parts of society that aren’t necessary for defending the country then why not go back to drafting troops? This would allow the military to indulge in all of the cultural trends that society has to offer. Imagine the military spending years and incalculable amounts of money to improve the service and remove society’s problems from the ranks. Then, at the end of the day, the military should adopt civilian cultural norms within the ranks. Many people join the military to escape from civil society. This phenomenon was highlighted by Thomas Ricks’ 1995 book Creating the Corps.
Your dissenting officer wouldn’t agree to bring back the draft because he believes only the best should serve. It’s more than being competent at your job. If you have people in the military who don’t love this country or don’t care about the people they are supposed to protect, then the country will fail. The military is a microcosm American society. While there are legitimate concerns about the military becoming too different from the society it is meant to protect, it can also be dangerous for the military to become too similar to society. Although it’s scary, institutions such as the armed forces are really the country’s first and last line defense. The military is the only option if we don’t trust law-abiding Americans to keep it all together. If those in power don’t like the idea that the military is too culturally or socially distant from society, then you can only move to the opposite extreme. Balances are one of the most difficult to achieve.
Let me add one thing to the mix, about Russia’s warmongering.
I can assure you that everyone is well aware of the risks. Russia’s actions have left us with no other options than vice, and virtue without any good options. Either we can leave Ukraine alone and let the whole post-WWII international law settlement be discarded and return to a world in which wars of conquest were accepted or we could risk further escalation.
He then attempts to assure us that the U.S. army is still fully capable of winning and fighting wars.
While I don’t mean for me to be too confident, I’m well aware of the risks and capabilities we face. But it is impossible to deny the fact that the U.S. military has an incomparable advantage over the Russian on any battlefield metric.
In the sense that I don’t doubt the military’s ability to do the right thing, I am a little outlier on the Right. As he, I am not impressed by Russia’s performance in Ukraine. I don’t think the Chinese would do much better. But, U.S. tactical competence needs to be viewed in context. The first is that the army’s shooting ranks, regardless of their service, still include the same people it is trying to reduce: White Middle American males. The 80/20 rule is in place here. 20% of the force does 80% of all the fighting (not literally but metaphorically). Serving personnel will tell you that there is a clear cultural divide, at least for the enlisted, between the “tooth”, who does most of the fighting and dies, and the “tail,” who supports them. It’s not possible to claim that Wokeness hasn’t reduced combat effectiveness. The people who win tactical engagements aren’t Woke, and therefore the message isn’t being received well. The military is still able to fight wars, this is because a certain type of person is still fighting. This is the person that our culture, media and military considers deplorable. They’re still there, thank goodness, but they aren’t leaving the ranks.
We are grateful to you for sharing your foreign policy views with us.
Let me add one thing about Russia’s warmongering: Everyone is well aware of the risks. Russia’s actions have left us with no other options than vice, and virtue without any good options. Either we can leave Ukraine alone and let the whole post-WWII international law settlement be discarded and return to a world in which wars of conquest were accepted or risk further escalation.
They can’t be brave if they are aware of the risks and still choose to follow this path. He suggests that what happens in Ukraine will affect Ukraine more than the U.S. Although there is nothing unusual about this mission, I feel that he would not consider it an appropriate use for our military or “against all our values.” That sounds a bit like he’s an institutionalist who has taken a lot of Kool-Aid. I find that he’s only saying what he should to be successful in uniform.
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I won’t comment on the military conditions, since your follow-up emails completely obliterated all the denials made by the military person you cited so extensively. Instead, I want to comment briefly on her general ignorance, which extends beyond the existence of wokeness within the military to the actions taken by the US military.
She referred to the unprovoked and tragic US invasions in Irag and Afghanistan as “mission set we tended to fail horribly”. This is to make a distinction between an invading US army and an invading Russian army. The US is thousands of kilometres away from both Iraq, and Afghanistan and does not have NATO weapons at its disposal. It was not necessary for the US to invade these countries. To excuse them as errors or mistakes is disingenuous.
She claims that the US “leaned upon Ukraine to de-escalate, not provoke a larger war.” This is bogus. NATO did everything possible to prevent Ukraine from adhering to the Minsk agreements, as was the ex-president of Ukraine. This woman is clearly an advocate of the highest rank. This woman is a defender of the highest order, first for the senseless violence that the US military has unleashed on the world and secondly for her denials or outright lies about the military’s woke infest.
Although I don’t know the correspondent, the letter is so off-base I couldn’t resist adding my voice to the chorus. I am a Ranger-qualified ex-infantry captain who was stationed in Europe recently. I was commissioned at West Point near the top and have just left the service. This means that I have *a lot* of experience with the new model woke army.
I’d like to concentrate on his observation that your writings on the woke army are ‘off-key. This is in a sense true. The military is not yet fully awake. It is making progress, but it is not complete. It is happening because waking up is a sign of ideological corruption at the top of America’s military leadership. These people are not concerned about winning wars. They don’t care much about national defense. They don’t care about American citizens. After retirement, the only thing that matters is Raytheon’s and Lockheed’s sinecures. When we fight another war, it will be ideological corruption and not wokeness that will endanger the American military.
However, waking up is the most obvious sign that this will happen. These truths are another indicator that the rot in the military’s upper echelons is not under control. It is absurd to claim that the American military outperforms the Russian armed forces in all conceivable metrics. I spent many years training with Army units in Europe, the forces that are supposed to deter Russian aggression. I believe that our armor, line infantry, and conventional units are not competent enough to fight against the Russian Army on its own territory. Our troops have been demoralized by corrupt leadership. The training is not realistic and doesn’t simulate the Russian conditions that American soldiers will encounter against them. Exercises are set up so we win and the Russian enemy fails. We have never fought against an enemy with comparable attack aviation, ISR, surveillance, reconnaissance, artillery and rocket artillery as well as other assets like the Russians. In the two recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, we performed poorly against an enemy with immeasurable combat power. They were better equipped to defeat poorly armed, poorly-trained, poorly organized guerrillas.
This week’s publicity stunt by the 101st Airborne in Romania is an example. In the event of a real fight with the Russians, the 101st Airborne will be rolled. It doesn’t have the armored units or organic artillery, nor ammunition, to withstand a pitched battle against one Russian Battalion Tactical Group. Not even the combined weight of all the Russian Army. The United States is “playing with fire” in its decision to antagonize Russia over Ukraine. We’re writing a check we can’t cash. Our allies in Poland and the Baltics will have to pay the price for Russians coming after us. God forbid that we are forced to use nuclear weapons against the Russians to defend our interests in Europe (not the reverse!). ).
It is shocking to me that the American public doesn’t know the dangers of the Biden Regime’s foreign policy in Ukraine. The Pentagon’s insistence on being awake and afraid of offending progressives has completely destroyed its ability to advise and assist Congress and the American people with military affairs. As a nation, we are in terrible straits. Pray that we don’t go to war. The American soldiery will suffer a terrible loss of life if we go to war.
Although it may seem impossible now, this possibility will quickly become a reality if we don’t seek an immediate settlement with Russia.