By Spencer Brown | Townhall.com
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
The United States military has long been respected around the world, serving as a significant deterrent to outside nations and actors who otherwise wish to harm America. But that reputation has been changing under the Biden administration as its leaders implement leftist policies and spread radical ideologies that have undermined the readiness and effectiveness of our country's fighting forces.
To highlight the trend, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) released a new report this week — titled "Woke Warfighters" — enumerating the ways in which the Biden administration and its allies at the Pentagon have been weakening America's fighting men and women.
"America’s volunteer warriors regularly risk their lives not in the name of conquest, but so others may be free," notes the report from Rubio and Roy. "They are driven by a love of country and a sense of service and honor that is increasingly rare today. The United States and the world are better off because of these brave men and women," the Republican lawmakers add.
"Unfortunately, President Joe Biden and his administration are weakening America’s warfighters through a sustained assault fueled by woke virtue signaling," the report warns. "Our military’s singular purpose is to 'provide for the common defense' of our nation. It cannot be turned into a left-wing social experiment," Rubio and Roy explain. "It cannot be used as a cudgel against America itself. And it cannot be paralyzed by fear of offending the sensibilities of Ivy League faculty lounges or progressive pundits," they note of the left's corrosive influence that emerged on so-called elite campuses before being exported to other institutions, including the U.S. military.
"The world is a dangerous place, and the Biden Administration’s insanity is eroding our greatest source of security in it," Rubio and Roy explain before making a 16-page case from what they've identified as the most nefarious ways leftist ideology has been foisted on America's service members and, in some cases, their families.
From protecting incompetent leaders whose lack of preparedness and failure to execute during President Biden's disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan ended up costing the lives of 13 U.S. service members, to protecting "resistance" leaders and punishing the righteous, the report highlights the operational issues that have developed in order to protect leftist ideology rather than the military's mission.
For example, Rubio and Roy cite the story of a U.S. Army chaplain who sent an email to his unit in the wake of the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision, celebrating the end of Roe and arguing that the ruling "upholds the sanctity of life of the unborn" and "honors the U.S. Constitution." The email also asked the service members to pray "for the safety of our Supreme Court Justices" as their lives were threatened as a result of their decisions on the case. After sending the email, the chaplain was scrutinized with an investigation.
Compare the treatment of the chaplain with the junior medic who, in uniform, recorded and posted a video to CCP-run TikTok attacking the Supreme Court for its decision and asking "how am I supposed to swear to support and defend the Constitution and a country that treats its women like second-class citizens?" According to Rubio and Roy, "that medic has not received any disciplinary action for her remarks."
The Republican lawmakers' report also lists Critical Race Theory's implementation as having an inherently racially divisive effect on warfighters, and calls out Biden's military leaders for similarly focusing on dividing people along individual differences in gender or sexual orientation rather than emphasizing the common cause, camaraderie, and larger mission at hand.
Instances like Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's stand-down order for all service members and civilian Department of Defense employees to "discuss extremism in their ranks" also received a mention in the report, as do individuals including 1619 Project advocate Bishop Garrison, who leads the Biden administration's Countering Extremist Activity Working Group (CEAWG) within the DOD.
Instead of focusing on preparedness and training to support the United States against foes such as China, Russia, North Korea, or Iran, Rubio and Roy point out that Biden's Pentagon is requiring service members to "receive training on the transgender service policy, including advice on how to use pronouns properly and when to recommend their subordinates consider gender reassignment surgery," according to the report. "These policies are purported to make our armed forces more inclusive and compassionate, but they are harmful to the people they claim to help and are sapping our combat readiness," the Republicans note.
The report also calls out the Department of Defense Education Agency (DODEA) and its leftist leadership for pushing similarly divisive ideologies on the children of service members in the schools it has set up in the United States and around the world, often the only choice parents have when they are stationed or deployed.
"Rather than making the case for American greatness and protecting our nation, the military is parroting woke nonsense," Sen. Rubio said in a statement accompanying the report. "It's dumb, it doesn't work, and it's dangerous. We need to spend more time thinking about how to counter Chinese aircraft carriers and less time thinking about pronouns," he added.
Rep. Roy noted that the DoD's "priority should be training the men and women of our Armed Forces to be a united, lethal, and battle-ready force primed to defend the United States and her interests at a moment's notice. Instead, Biden's woke Pentagon is using taxpayer dollars to promote blatant anti-American ideology," he added. "It has to stop. We need to end this politicization of our military and keep our Armed Forces focused on defending our national security."
The full report can be viewed here.
Is the military too ‘woke’ to recruit?
By Meghann Myers | The Military Times
How political perceptions may be stifling the willingness to serve"
The Army missed its recruiting goal by about 15,000 new soldiers in 2022, coming up 25% short of its goal at a time when each of the services were struggling to meet their benchmarks. Military officials worry that all of the branches have had to reach deep into their pools of delayed entry applicants, a move that puts them behind in recruiting for the new year.
Military recruiters have leaned on tried-and-true factors to explain the challenges, including low unemployment and a dearth of applicants up to physical, educational and behavioral standards.
But the truth is, no one keeps detailed data on what’s stopping America’s youth from signing up. Experts and senior military leaders point to the perennial factors of competition from the private sector and a dwindling number of young Americans both qualified and interested in military service. But what they don’t have much information on is why that propensity is going down, and whether the country is undergoing an ideological shift in attitude toward military service.
One possibility that is increasingly resonating with veterans is that the military is too “woke.” Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., for example, is among a group of Republican senators who have repeatedly blamed recruiting problems on the Biden administration for trying to build a “woke Army.”
Thomas Spoehr, director of the Center for National Defense at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, recently opined that wokeness is the “chief worry of grizzled American veterans today.”
“The largest threat they see by far to our current military is the weakening of its fabric by radical progressive (or ‘woke’) policies being imposed, not by a rising generation of slackers, but by the very leaders charged with ensuring their readiness,” he wrote. “Wokeness in the military is being imposed by elected and appointed leaders in the White House, Congress, and the Pentagon who have little understanding of the purpose, character, traditions, and requirements of the institution they are trying to change.”
Spoehr acknowledged that “direct ‘cause and effect’ studies on the impact of woke policies such as these do not exist,” but suggested that “common sense” dictates that it is having an effect on recruiting.
“Is anyone surprised that potential recruits — many of whom come from rural or poor areas of the country — don’t want to spend their time being lectured about white privilege?” he wrote.
In an interview with Fox News, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a West Point graduate and Army officer who served in Germany during the Cold War, talked about the campaign he is launching, including TV ads and a website, to target what he calls “woke polices” directed toward the military.
“How can we ask young men and women who have decided to risk their lives for America, even die for America, to affirm that our country is inherently racist?” Pompeo wrote in a Sept. 28 opinion column for Fox. “How can we ask them to view their brothers and sisters in arms through the narrow prisms of race or gender? The clear and obvious answer is that we cannot — not without putting their lives at risk on the battlefield. A woke military is a weak military.”
But Defense Department leaders, while often apprehensive to address the intersection of politics and recruiting, have said they don’t see a connection anecdotally or statistically
“That whole ‘woke’ terminology has me a little perplexed,” Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass told Air Force Times Sept. 6. “I don’t know that I agree [with] and appreciate that term.
“I’ve said it before; I think perhaps we do need to wake up to what our society is about today. Perhaps we need to wake up to how we actually have more in common than not. Perhaps we need to wake up to the goodness of the diversity that America brings to the table. That diversity is not just singular to demographic diversity, but … it’s experiences and it’s cognitive diversity as well. I don’t subscribe to the ‘wokeness’ in the way that it’s discussed. I actually think that, yeah, we probably need to wake up to the goodness of what all airmen and what all people bring to the fight.”
In reality, service members spend hundreds of hours a year on mandatory training, covering everything from operational safety to financial responsibility and suicide and sexual assault prevention, with a tiny fraction of that focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion education.
But what seems to incense people is that the issue of racial disparity is discussed at all, not that it’s truly cutting into time spent on training.