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An Officer Dissents On ‘Woke Military’

Military reader says I'm alarmist and wrong on the issue of wokeness in the armed forces
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Y'all know I get my back up at the woke-ification of the US military, e.g.:

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A dissenting reader writes, and has given me permission to post:

I've read you with interest since your BeliefNet days.  I've always appreciated your insights even if I disagreed, and broadly shared you outlook and sensibilities pretty closely.  But I have to write to give you a perspective you perhaps have gotten little of, because on one topic I've been ever more perplexed at what you're describing: the seemingly wokening U.S. military.

I'm an active-duty military officer who's served at home and across the world in division-level headquarters and higher, with special operations teams, and in the Pentagon.   I'm not important or a policymaker, but am close enough to see what the world looks like from the top of the military hierarchy, and have been able to see what the military has been like over the past several years from the top, middle, and bottom.

And, well, the woke-ization of the military you've been describing more and more just doesn't exist.

Certain facts you build on do--there are trans servicemembers, for example.  The sort of language about pronouns or DEI that's found elsewhere in American culture can be found in the DoD as well.  But the overall narrative is just...off.

I want to be clear, this isn't about me disagreeing with you, thinking the changes you describe are good or neutral rather than bad.  I simply don't see the sort of large transformation you seem to at all.  And forgive me for saying, but if the military were undergoing a woke revolution, I would know about it.

Like I said, you can find trans people, DEI language, etc in the military.  Especially in an open democracy like ours, any cultural trend is going to be reflected in the armed forces.  But in the military all of those trends are light years behind corporate America, state & local governments, and American culture broadly.  The overall description your recent writing on this provides just doesn't match what actually exists here.

From your posts, here's what it seems to me is going on:

First, the nature of your writing and outlook leads to you getting a lot of emails and comments with examples of wokeism in the military, creating a sense of approaching avalanche, a cultural torrent engulfing the institution.  Outliers and anecdotes become a compelling narrative.

Second, you seem to hear from a fair number of retired service members or those with a one-degree-removed experience of the current military, whose own impressions are themselves based largely on what they hear from conservative media.  They in turn interpret outlier or decontextualized events through the lens of what they "know."  Even current active-duty members can be prone to this, when it comes to other parts of the military they're not familiar with.  A soldier at Fort Hood might hear about an advisory concerning pronoun use and generdere language at the Air Force Academy, for example--he has no more knowledge of the situation at the Air Force Academy than anyone else who read about it online, but if he talks about it it sounds like his complaint is coming from an insider. 

Third, situations and incidents get simply misinterpreted.  What sparked me to write was your recent post here: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/diversity-is-our-strength-they-lied/. When you say "The Pentagon is talking about recruiting and promoting for characteristics other than the ability to fight wars," that's just...flatly inaccurate.  If you look again at the Military Times story you quote from, it's closer to the exact opposite: the Special Operations community promoting for a certain subset of skills that are less relevant now than they were means a LESS capable force that's LESS able to successfully handle the parts of special operations that are less kinetic.  Look at these quotes again:

"Part of that might look like more of a focus on the civil affairs and psychological operations parts of SOCOM, the organizations that do more of the “hearts and minds” work before a conflict gets to the point where operators are going after high-value targets in the middle of the night.

-"When someone has taken time out of the deployment churn to further their education or take a position outside the prescribed pipeline, “it just, it doesn’t compute somehow in these [selection and promotion] boards."

It's saying that in the last 20 years the door-kicking, nighttime raid aspect of special ops has been prioritized, to the point that people whose careers paths don't fit that mold aren't promoted nearly as often...but that we need to change that to successfully complete the sorts of hearts-and-minds, foreign civil and military-to-military engagement that's also a critical parts of special operations.  Exactly the sorts of mission sets we tended to fail horribly at in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The line about being okay if the initial results don't go smoothly means, in context, being all right with the inevitable friction as this shift in internal cultural emphasis takes place (and again, the key cultural shift is between prioritization of different traditional special ops roles).  The trans/DEI stuff was just a colorful aside to the main point.

But if I may say so, you saw the trans/DEI stuff and couldn't take in anything else.  You (mis) interpreted the entire story through that lens, as if SOCOM were mandating a quota of trans SEALs.  And it caused you to miss the story itself.  This is an example of a military command becoming MORE capable by  identifying gaps in its proficiency and addressing them.

The U.S. military has a mixed record in Iraq and Afghanistan, to put it mildly.  This story is about a course correction to that, which in other circumstances you'd be among the first to approve.

There's a fourth apparent cause to how your coverage of this issue has become exaggerated, which is that (and I apologize for putting it bluntly) you seem to fall for stories that either didn't happen or didn't happen the way they're presented.  I recall some time ago you published an account from a reservist JAG Corps Major who'd posted on Facebook a picture of a Jan 6 guy in the Capitol with a Confederate flag with a comment that could be interpreted as supportive (I don't know the Major's intention, but his comment certainly could be interpreted that way).  You published his account of not just being reprimanded but being told by a superior he was being surveilled.  To anyone familiar with the military in general and the Army JAG Corps in particular, much of his story rang false.  His description of the severity and rarity of his punishment was misleading, and his account otherwise got pretty fantastical.  If you're not familiar with the military and don't run the story by people who are (and who aren't emotionally invested in the narrative at stake), a wildly implausible story can seem plausible.

The U.S. military has struggled quite a bit with strategy and the highest "why" questions...why are we fighting here, why are we fighting the way we're fighting, etc.  But the military is very, very good at tactical engagement, and that's still the case.  Not long ago you linked a Chinese recruiting ad to show how China is still focused on martial virtue unlike our woke military.  Some time ago you did the same thing with a Russian recruiting ad.  Recent events in Ukraine should show how wildly unreliable a country's own recruiting ads are as measures of anything except advertising skill.  In fact, look up the battle of Kasham in 2018, when a small US force in Syria absolutely annihilated a larger Russian Wagner Group force with relative ease.  I don't mean to be overconfident here--I'm very familiar with risks and capability gaps we face as well--but it's impossible to deny that the U.S. military is incomparably superior to the Russian at any battlefield metric, no matter how un-woke and manly the latter might present itself as.

Much of the woke stuff that exists comes down to this: we want any American to be able to serve *and not feel like an interloper while doing so.*  I'm certainly not going to pretend that the balance is always right or that some units or commands don't sometimes get it quite wrong in one direction or the other.  But the overall narrative one finds in your posts on this just isn't accurate.  It's like if someone were regularly posting stories of serious crimes in New Orleans and presenting New Orleans as a crime-ridden hellhole where you can scarcely walk down the street without getting assaulted or robbed.  Even if the stories themselves are true or at least contain an element of truth, the overall narrative would be false.

If I can say one more thing, on a different but related topic, of our warmongering in Russia: I promise you everyone is aware of the nuclear risks.  Vice leaves virtue with no good options, and Russia's actions leave us with none likewise.  We can either leave Ukraine to its fate and allow the entire post-WWII settlement in international law to be cast aside and return to a world where wars of conquest are accepted, or risk further escalation.  It's worth remembering that in 2014, with Crimea, we already tried option 1 and leaned on Ukraine to de-escalate and not provoke a wider war, and it clearly didn't work out as we'd hoped.  Obviously reasonable minds can differ on this, and we might be wrong in our approach now, but no one is blase to the risks or blind to the situation.  Everyone is honestly doing their best here.  And to be honest, I'm kind of amazed that someone like you would encourage people to watch Tucker Carlson for the truth on this issue in particular, after the pretty scandalous way he hyped up the biolabs chimera, for all that on domestic politics Carlson had been an insightful voice.

I genuinely appreciate this constructive criticism, and will take it to heart going forward. Reader, thank you.

If y'all have anything to say about this topic and can't post it below, email me at rod -- at -- amconmag -- dot -- com, and I'll post the better letters I receive. Advance warning: I'm deluged with mail, so it you want to make sure I see it, put "WOKE MILITARY" in the subject line.

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UPDATE: Lots of mail on this! Let's get started:

Respectfully to your writer - many public school teachers told me the same thing years ago when I pointed out examples of schools going out of their way to push racial politics and LBGT agenda. Now it’s pretty clear schools are completely infected top to bottom with it.

When you have no less than the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the JCS pushing Kendi’s nonsense, you're at the top of the rollercoaster and headed for decline. 

With schools there are alternatives, but there’s only one military, and that should be an issue for every American. 

Another:

In response to the military service member who recently emailed you to refute the notions being expressed about the condition of the military, I'd like to reject two of his claims and make a point about another one:

1) " a small US force in Syria absolutely annihilated a larger Russian Wagner Group force with relative ease..... it's impossible to deny that the U.S. military is incomparably superior to the Russian at any battlefield metric, no matter how un-woke and manly the latter might present itself as"That statement is a mischaracterization of the event he mentioned from 2018 and likely mistaken regarding the state of readiness of the US military. The 2018 event in Syria he mentioned was a small number of special operations soldiers getting into a very limited engagement and then calling in a massive amount of fire power from planes and heavy guns that were both able to operate with impunity.

There is not one single soldier, airman, sailor, or marine serving in the US military that has ever been in a real battle. And most of the experience the military has accumulated over the past two decades is not relevant to conventional armed conflict. If our planes are in real danger, our artillery is in real danger, and our information warfare and communications capabilities are restricted, then we'd all of sudden find ourselves in a completely different ball game and I hope the military is starting to take that seriously and is starting to train for real battle more and under as realistic conditions as possible as the Russians are getting the best training in the world right now and despite how it looks their military has actually been fairing pretty well given the circumstances and are likely to win what would have been a very challenging war for any one, including us.

Most special operations skills have no use in battle and in a battle they are just glorified dismounted infantrymen and/or better recon or special mission soldiers but there won't be that many of those relevant to the size of our very oversized for conventional conflict special operations forces. The special operations forces should be shrunk and most of its current and future personnel, who are among the most motivativated and dedicated to their jobs in the military, should be in line units. Which leads to the second point in your readers article I'd like to disagree with:

2) "but that we need to change that to successfully complete the sorts of hearts-and-minds, foreign civil and military-to-military engagement that's also a critical parts of special operations.  Exactly the sorts of mission sets we tended to fail horribly at in Iraq and Afghanistan."

I disagree with this to essentially the maximum possible degree. According to the secret SIGAR (Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction) findings that the Washington Post got their hands on: eighty percent of Afghanistan reconstruction funds never entered the country, huge amounts of Afghan gov spending were spent on wasted projects that seem to just be contractor scams (Western contractors!), huge amounts of other spending went to a mostly (some were great!) NGO ecosystem that was largely just a giant parasite, the local governments we set up were corrupt and oftentimes (bizarrely!) rife with pedophila, and crime and corruption were rampant. It doesn't matter how good your psychological operations personnel are, the best propaganda in the world won't be able to psyop a population into supporting that mess. And I think the US gov should be doing much, much less in regards to psyops, not more.

As for DEI. Well, DEI is mostly a scam, sort of like a mafia protection racket that demands regular payments or else they'll sick the Culture on you. The US military is already full of contracting scams, it certainly doesn't need another one, especially since DEI can additionally have a great many little effects that while individually small, can as a whole have not immediately apparent but none the less powerfully pernicious effects that degrade an organization over time.

Another:

I am a Department of the Army civilian (civil servant) with 30+ years of service. I work for a civilian-heavy organization of roughly 1500 people. 

We are going woke, and it's accelerating. In 2021 we had the first ever Pride Week. There were several events. The week culminated with a Pride Walk around our little base. It was kicked off by a "special guest" who pranced around tossing rose petals in the air. The group marched behind a big Pride flag. That act, as it turns out, got the Command's hand slapped, as it is against regs to display or march with any flag other than the US flag or a unit guide on. So this year they forbade display of the Pride flag. So the rainbows came in other shapes and sizes.

This year we had a whole month of Pride events, culminating in a video presentation by Rachel Levine. Fun fact: Levine and Gen Milley played high school football together. I reckon it's a safe bet they showered together. And here, all these years later....what are the odds?

There's more. We now have a set of Employee Resource Groups (ERG), closed groups for LGBT, Black, women, etc. All the usual protected classes. This year our Commander unilaterally, without any workplace polling, decreed that one restroom on each  floor would become All Gender. 

We have exactly one M2F transgender person in the organization, and he works in another building. Minority rules. Cue Tevye singing: Inclusive! Inclusive!

It will only get worse. We have many people who are not just the nation's senior experts in their fields, but the world. Their knowledge is nearly impossible to replace. People are moving up their retirements because of the creeping wokeness. I can tell you that our Commander cares not a whit about that. He'll be gone next year, and a new wokeling will take the reins and lead us further down the road to perdition.

Another:

I'm writing regarding your recent posts on culture in the military, and more generally about the articles you've written on the topic in the last couple years. I wanted to recommend to you a paper that was written in 2000 by the Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld. If you haven't read him before, he's a consistently fascinating author with an incredible breadth of knowledge.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, the time when most western militaries began sex integration, Creveld wrote several papers on the topic and discussed the likely consequences of this change. A quarter century on, basically everything he said would happen did. What was unique about his analysis of the new co-ed military was that he looked at it from a sociological rather than physical perspective. His claims challenged the argument that so long as men and women were held to the same physical standards, a co-ed fighting force would work as effectively as a male-only force and would remain an appealing profession.

The paper where he made this case was called "Less Than We Can Be: Men, Women and the Modern Military." In short, his argument was that militaries have always had two purposes: one political and one social. The political purpose is, in the famous Clausewitz quotation, the continuation of politics by other means. The social purpose, on the other hand, is for the men of a society to prove their masculinity. His arguments for this are fascinating. For example, he says that in Genesis the Hebrew words for "adult man" and "warrior" are interchangeable. Why masculinity is so fragile and requires constant proof is a more complex question. Creveld likens military service to sex-specific traits in other species – such as colours, plumage, or antlers – whose purpose is to attract the opposite sex. These traits, he says, would be robbed of their social function if they were shared between males and females. Likewise, he says that although there are women who are physically capable of fighting, creating women soldiers would by definition rob soldiering of its purpose as a test of manhood. In conclusion, he said that countries that create co-ed militaries would "find it next to impossible to attract not just qualified men but any men, period."

In the years since he wrote this, his prediction about recruitment seems to have manifested. Across the western world, news stories about the failure of militaries to fill their ranks abound. Obviously, there are other factors that have played into this, such as the disastrous "forever wars" of the past couple decades and the revelations of pervasive corruption and lying of politicians and officers. But equally, it's impossible to deny that the changing social role (and associated prestige, vide Margaret Mead) of soldiering hasn't been a factor.

Another:

My brother, career military, is trying to hang on until he retires. He doesn't want to blow his pension by leaving early. He's got a few years left.   However, he's disgusted by how the military caters to woke these days. He keeps his mouth shut and does his job, but he's not proud of what the military has become.      

I don't have to prompt him to bring up how disgusted he is. I try to avoid talking about politics and the military, so the fact that he brings it up without me promoting is a clue that something radically different is going on. Again, without prompting, he'd tell me all about his support for Trump. He's never been particularly interested or active in politics like I've been in the past. He isn't particularly religious, but he worries about how Christian chaplains can do their job and support the military's policies on trans issues.      

It's just not hard to miss that there is a culture shift in the military. I don't know about other military families, but I'm simply not interested in committing my brother or other service members to another war. He was deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq.    

... The fact that our military has embraced woke simply doesn't inspire confidence in the institution or the current situation in Ukraine.     Leadership matters and we are being presented with crazy and being told it's the rational, adult choice. I'm not going to be encouraging my teen son to join the armed forces. I just can't do it with a straight face. In the past, that wouldn't be an issue.  Culture matters and the military has gone nutters.       

Last one for now:

Your correspondent is absolutely wrong.

I’ve been in/ around military for 35 years. It’s worse than you think.

Gen. Milley the best/ worst example, but his predecessor Adm. Mullen virtually encouraged homosexual disobedience in the DADT days. And“stalwart “ Gen Dunford just joined amicus brief in FAVOR of racial quotas. And “staunch” SECDEF Mattis objected to Trump’s trans ban.

DoD announced last week it will help troops get interstate abortions.

The brainwashing “stand downs “ are endemic, “conversations” go only one way. It IS woke central. And no one in Congress or GOP will challenge it.

UPDATE.2: More mail. Let's get started:

I never served in the military (I work for the military as a civilian, however), so my opinion, according to your dissenting military officer, is probably worthless. I’m going to share it anyway, because as a taxpayer, that military belongs, ultimately, to Americans like myself and, without our consent, they have no mandate nor mission.

First, I have a serious problem with what he says here:

Especially in an open democracy like ours, any cultural trend is going to be reflected in the armed forces.

Later, he says:

Much of the woke stuff that exists comes down to this: we want any American to be able to serve *and not feel like an interloper while doing so.*

I’m guessing he thinks this is either a good thing or entirely neutral, but it’s not. Qualification for military service isn’t just about the physical, it’s also about the mental and the moral. Forget the LGBTQ stuff for a second – I can tell you, from firsthand experience, the military is staffed with people in uniform who hold very hard feelings towards this country and many of their fellow Americans. Millions of Americans share the same sentiments. Is this really a cultural trend that ought to be permitted in the military?

Something that’s been true of the military in the post-draft era is that most Americans, if given the choice, would rather not serve in uniform. I’d wager that at least 60% of those serving today didn’t grow up wanting to join the military. Most of them had to be literally recruited or encouraged to and, only then, did they decide military service was something worth pursuing. There exists evidence that this is the case. My point here is the military is just a job. You wear a uniform, you have to obey lots of rules, you don’t have much of your own freedom. But, beyond that, it doesn’t really matter what you do or think, as long as you show up for work, do as you’re told, and stay out of trouble. Even on that latter point, I can tell you that military discipline is enforced nowhere near as strictly as people think. The military has become a credential, a status symbol, something for people to put on their resumes, especially for the officer corps. Because service tends to be of great benefit to most, if not all, who serve, to deny anyone the opportunity violates our sense of equality and fair play.

If service didn’t have its benefits, as is the case in so many countries around the world, I don’t know if the military would be as fierce a culture war battleground as it is today. There’s a reason why day-laboring, forestry, and mining haven’t become Wokeified, as critical these industries are to our national survival.

The idea that the perception of Wokeification of the military is simply the services reflecting American culture at large is actually a bad sign. When we fully professionalized the services beginning in 1973, part of the reason is because we saw that drafting from the entire population brought with it all sorts of problems the military could ill-afford. If this officer thinks it’s not a big deal that the military is bringing in elements of society that shouldn’t be defending the country, then why not just go back to drafting our troops? Then the military can indulge in all the cultural trends society has to offer. Imagine spending decades and untold sums of money to professionalize the services and get society’s ills out of the ranks and, in the end, concluding what we need is for the military to adopt civilian cultural norms in the ranks. Mind you, many join the military precisely to get away from civilian society. This phenomenon was highlighted in Thomas Ricks’ 1995 book Making the Corps.

Of course, your dissenting officer would never agree to bringing back the draft, because he thinks he believes only the best should serve. But again, it’s not just about being good at your job. Staff the military with people who don’t like this country and don’t like the people they’re ostensibly protecting, then as the country fails, so will the military. After all, the military’s a microcosm of American society. There are valid concerns to the military being too divergent from the society it’s intended to protect, but it’s also dangerous for a military to become too much like society. It’s a scary thought, I know, but institutions like the armed forces really are the first and last line of defense for a country. If we don’t want to trust law-abiding Americans with guns to hold it all together, then that really leaves only the military to do the job. But if those in power don’t like the idea of the military becoming too far removed culturally and socially from society, I guess you can only shift to the other extreme. After all, balances are among the most difficult things to strike.

If I can say one more thing, on a different but related topic, of our warmongering in Russia:

I promise you everyone is aware of the nuclear risks.  Vice leaves virtue with no good options, and Russia's actions leave us with none likewise.  We can either leave Ukraine to its fate and allow the entire post-WWII settlement in international law to be cast aside and return to a world where wars of conquest are accepted, or risk further escalation.

He then tries to reassure us all the U.S. military still is fully capable of fighting and winning wars:

I don't mean to be overconfident here--I'm very familiar with risks and capability gaps we face as well--but it's impossible to deny that the U.S. military is incomparably superior to the Russian at any battlefield metric, no matter how un-woke and manly the latter might present itself as.

I’m a bit of an outlier on the Right in the sense I haven’t given up faith in the military’s competence. Like him, I look at Russia’s performance in Ukraine and I’m not blown away. Nor do I think the Chinese would fare much better. However, U.S. tactical competency needs to be placed in context. First, the ranks of those who do the shooting, no matter the service, are still comprised of the very people the military is attempting to decrease the proportion of: White Middle American males. There’s an 80/20 rule in effect here, where 80% of the fighting is done by 20% of the force (not literally, but figuratively). Those who serve will tell you, at least on the enlisted side, there exists a distinct cultural divide between the “tooth” that does the fighting and most of the dying and the “tail” who supports them. So claiming that Wokeness hasn’t eroded combat effectiveness is something of a non-sequitur since the people who win the tactical engagements aren’t Woke and least receptive to the message. If the military is still good at warfighting, it’s because, even in 2022, a certain kind of person is still doing the fighting and it’s the kind of person our culture, media, military, and political leadership regards as deplorable. Thank goodness they’re still filling the ranks, for now, anyway.

Your reader leaves us with his foreign policy views:

If I can say one more thing, on a different but related topic, of our warmongering in Russia: I promise you everyone is aware of the nuclear risks.  Vice leaves virtue with no good options, and Russia's actions leave us with none likewise.  We can either leave Ukraine to its fate and allow the entire post-WWII settlement in international law to be cast aside and return to a world where wars of conquest are accepted, or risk further escalation.

If they’re aware of the nuclear risks, but still choose to go down this path, that’s not courage, that’s stupidity. As he himself suggests, what happens in Ukraine affects Ukraine the most, not the U.S. We risk nuclear war when it means preserving our civilization and way of life, not to preserve the “post-WWII settlement in international law.” I wonder what he’d say about using the military to guard the U.S.-Mexico border? There’s nothing unprecedented about that mission, but I feel like he wouldn’t consider that an appropriate use of our military and “against our values.” It sure sounds to me he’s a loyal institutionalist who’s swallowed a heavy dose of the Kool-Aid, but that seems a bit lowbrow on my part, so I’ll just leave it by saying he’s saying what he’d be expected to say to have a successful career in uniform.

Another one:

I'm not going to comment on the conditions in the military, as your follow-up guest emails totally obliterated the denials from the military person you quoted so extensively. Instead, I just want to make a brief comment on her general cluelessness, which spills over from the existence of wokeness in the military to the actions of the US military itself. 

Her whitewashing of the tragic and unprovoked US invasions of Irag and Afghanistan as "mission sets we tended to fail horribly" is supposed to draw a distinction between an invading US military and an invading Russian military. But the US is thousands of miles away from both Iraq and Afghanistan, and doesn't have NATO weapons pointed at it. There was no existential reason for the US to invade either of those countries, and to excuse them as mistakes or mission errors is disingenuous. 

Her claim that the US "leaned on Ukraine to de-escalate and not provoke a wider war," is just BS. NATO did everything it could to stop Ukraine from abiding by the Minsk accords, and this was admitted by the former Ukrainian president himself. This woman is clearly an apologist of the rankest order. First for the senseless violence the US military has unleashed around the world, and second for her denial--or outright lies--about the woke infestation of the military. 

Another:

I don't know your correspondent, but that letter is so egregiously off-base that I couldn't help chiming in on it with the rest of the folks piling on.  I am a Ranger-qualified former infantry captain recently stationed in Europe; I commissioned from West Point near the top of my class and only just left the service, so I have *plenty* of firsthand experience with the new model woke military.   

I would like to focus on his point that your writing on the woke military is 'off-key'.  In a way, this is true.  The military isn't completely woke--not yet.  But it is getting there rapidly.  And it is doing so because wokeness is a symptom of total, bottomless ideological corruption on the part of America's military leadership.  These people don't care about winning wars.  They don't care about national defense.  They don't care about the American people.  The only thing that matters to them are sinecures at Raytheon and Lockheed after retirement.  Ideological corruption, not wokeness, will put paid to the American military when we next fight another war. 

But wokeness is the un-missable sign that this will *surely* happen.  Your correspondent's attempts to dismiss these truths are yet another sign that the rot at the upper echelons of the military is out of control.  Your correspondent's claim that the American military is superior to the Russian armed forces in every conceivable metric is laughable.  I spent years training with Army units in Europe--the forces theoretically responsible for deterring Russian aggression--and I claim that our conventional, line infantry and armor units are nowhere near proficient enough to take on the Russian Army fighting for its life on its own terrain.  Corrupt leadership has demoralized our troops.  Training is unrealistic and does not simulate the conditions American soldiers will face against the Russians.  The exercises are always fixed so that we win and the Russian enemy loses.  We've never fought a war against an enemy with similar attack aviation, ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance), artillery, rocket artillery, electronic warfare, signals, and other assets that the Russians possess.  We've performed quite badly in the two wars we have recently fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, where we possessed immeasurably more combat power in every conceivable metric against poorly armed, poorly trained, poorly organized guerrillas who eventually defeated us. 

The 101st Airborne's publicity stunt in Romania this week is a case in point.  The 101st Airborne would get rolled in the event of an actual fight with the Russians.  It simply does not have the organic artillery assets, armored units, or even ammunition and other weaponry, to survive a pitched fight against even one Russian Battalion Tactical Group, let alone the combined weight of the Russian Army.  The United States is *playing with fire* in the way that it has chosen to antagonize the Russians over Ukraine.  We are writing a check that we can't cash.  When the Russians come to collect, there will be hell to pay for our allies in the Baltics and in Poland who are counting on our security guarantees.  God in heaven forbid, *we* may even be forced to use nuclear weapons to protect our interests in Europe from the Russians (not the other way round!). 

It blows my mind that the American public is so ignorant of the sheer dangerousness of the Biden Regime's foreign policy in Ukraine.  The Pentagon's insistent focus on wokeness and its fear of offending progressives has totally evaporated its ability to effectively advise and assist the Congress and the American people in military affairs.  We are in dire straits as a country.  Pray that we do not go to war soon.  When we do, the loss of life on the part of American soldiery will be immense. 

That possibility may seem inconceivable now, but it will rapidly come to fruition if we do not seek a settlement with the Russians *immediately*. 

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Eusebius Pamphilus
Eusebius Pamphilus
Bringing up Tucker Carlson and downplaying DEI gives away the game. For someone who mentions psyops "psychological operations parts of SOCOM," they seem to be completely ignorant of motivated reasoning and the tendency for even researchers to seek out confirming evidence "confirmation bias - look it up." This is why we have double blind methodologies but that's beside the point. Your writer has a motivated reasoning and uses his own set of confirmations to justify it. Recruitment numbers are down by the military's own statements. Maybe this isn't the problem but something is and everyone with half a brain cell to rub together in-order to produce heat can see that. But don't believe your lying eyes or numbers!!!!! 1+1 =4....
schedule 1 month ago
    JON FRAZIER
    JON FRAZIER
    Still, eyewitnesses are more reliable than people who have their info second or third hand, which is why courts make use of the former (under oath and with cross examination)while generally disallowing hearsay.
    The fall off in recruitment can be explained by the disenchantment with our "forever wars" combined with the fact that we've had a robust economy for several years now (Covid aside) so there are fewer young people needing to use the military as an employer of last resort-- if recession indeed comes home to roost in the job market soon we shall see what happens. The correspondent didn't touch on our foreign policy, probably because military personnel aren't supposed to get on a soap box there, but he does acknowledge some unspecified problems with the conduct of our wars.
    The point made about the tactical competence of our military should be strongly reiterated. It was not military misperformance that lost any wars recently, but political incompetence from the top levels across several presidencies. And Russia's travails in Ukraine are hardly a selling point for the greatness of that nation's army which is looking like a repeat of Nikolai I's fiasco in the Crimean War. He too had an army that, on paper, was the world's mightiest-- but mainly excellent on the parade grounds, not so much on the battleground.
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    Mario Diana
    Mario Diana
    Yes, I agree. I want to believe the guy, but we should remain skeptical of this being well-placed propaganda.

    For me, it was the Special Ops remarks. Expanding recruitment for skills other than "kicking down doors" is legitimate, but it's potentially a thin wedge, which would work as follows. Dilute the core of Special Ops, opening it up to "skills" easily filled by trans people and other activist misfits; then, use these new areas to fill quotas, so that these new areas skew heavily in that demographic; and, lastly, promote based on quotas from this new pool of "service mxn." Special Ops would be irrevocably changed.

    Isn't the above how we've seen things work in other institutions, even tradition-bound ones? And of course, the DSM 5 aside, there is still the issue of woke misfits being actual mental cases.

    By all means, Rod, as a journalist, should try to gather information from a variety of sources and remain skeptical of his own biases and echo chamber. But, let's not trust this guy 100 percent. He could be wrong and maybe only be a well-meaning team player. Or, he could be something worse.
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JON FRAZIER
JON FRAZIER
Re: Creveld likens military service to sex-specific traits in other species – such as colours, plumage, or antlers – whose purpose is to attract the opposite sex.

Wildly unlikely. Formal militaries have only existed for a short stretch in human evolutionary history.
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    Peter Pratt
    Peter Pratt
    Militaries have existed since the dawn of civilization.
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      JON FRAZIER
      JON FRAZIER
      And the dawn of civilization was just a short while ago relative to the entire history of our species-- even less relative to the entire history of genus Homo. To be clear, in case anyone raises this point, humans have always been prone to violent conflict, but an organized military caste did not appear until division of labor came into existence-- as you hint, that is a marker of civilization, unknown to hunter-gatherer bands which is what our ancestors were for most of our time on this planet. In those eras physically fit adult males in general (and some women if the need was great enough) would defend the tribe.
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    Peter Kurilecz
    Peter Kurilecz
    whether formal or not "military" has existed since mankind came out of Africa
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Peter Pratt
Peter Pratt
Our original dissenting correspondent doth protest too much methinks.

It almost as if it was written as official propaganda that it "wasn't that bad" and "ignore that the emperor has no clothes".

The US military has been a failure for some time. It is wasteful and largely unsuccessful. The nation building stuff has been a failure since Vietnam.
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