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What Are Military Recruits Defending?

Conservative Christians are no longer encouraging their children to join the armed forces, and why should they?
Dreher-3

Well, recruitment for the Woke Military of Secretary Austin and Gen. Milley isn’t going so well. Excerpts:

“In real estate, you talk about buyer’s and seller’s markets,” Maj. Gen. Edward W. Thomas Jr., commander of the Air Force Recruiting Service, told Fox News Digital. “You know, this is a recruiting market right now. There are good opportunities to serve and good incentives to do so.”

The military faced a drop-off in recruitment during the pandemic: Each branch met active component goals, but reserve numbers have fallen short each year. That shortage has now hit the Active component goals for the Army and Navy, with other branches just meeting their goals.

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“Really in the long term … it’s declining eligibility, declining propensity or interest in serving and declining trust in government,” Thomas said.

“Today, 77% of American youth aged 17 to 24 will not qualify to serve the United States military without a waiver, 77%,” he continued. “That’s based on a variety of different reasons, from weight to medical issues to academic issues to behavioral issues, mental health issues. It’s a wide variety with 77% don’t qualify without a waiver.”

And Thomas admitted that the perception around the military withdrawal from Afghanistan may have impacted recruitment in the last six months, but stressed that he would not consider it “one of the primary drivers.”

I am advised that you should check out the comments under that story. I can’t see them from here in Austria, but the reader who put me onto the story says that there are a number of self-identified military men who say openly that they will not encourage their children to aspire to join the military as it is currently constituted. The reader himself says he is a religious conservative, and a veteran with generations of military service behind him, and not only is he discouraging his kids from military service, but every religious conservative he knows is doing the same thing.

I did this with my second son, who was considering the armed forces. I told him I would support him whatever he did, but that I didn’t want him to have to choose between obeying his conscience as a Christian, and obeying his commanding officer. Plus, after the last twenty years of US history, I told him, I don’t trust the civilian leadership of our country with his life. He’s now headed to trade school this fall instead.

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Oh look, the US Government now sees a “heightened extremist threat” going into the midterm elections.OK, maybe so. Funny, though, how this announcement was made just before the Democrats’ big January 6 hearings, in which they are going to try to reframe the disastrous narrative for themselves. It’s really hard to take this seriously. It’s hard to take any authority seriously these days. Here’s Bari Weiss, commenting on the ridiculous self-immolation of the Washington Post over woke termagant Felicia Sonmez’s public harassment of two male colleagues:

By now we know how this will play out: There will be an investigation announced, or some other social slight from years ago will mysteriously emerge, or the crowd that chooses to spend their days mobbing people online won’t move on to their next target fast enough, and this story will linger. In the end, Weigel will either resign, or his enemies at the paper will find a way to demote him, or his name will be tarnished such that this “scandal” will continue to be used against him whenever it’s convenient.

Amazingly, this story competed with another Post drama from the weekend: The paper issued three corrections to a story by the technology columnist Taylor Lorenz, which still contains at least one obvious falsehood. The paper claims that Lorenz reached out to a source for comment, which the source says she didn’t do, and Lorenz later admitted she didn’t do (but the story still contains the lie). Even a CNN media reporter said it was “weird WaPo can’t get this basic detail straight.” Lorenz freaked out about CNN noting the correction debacle and said that doing so was “irresponsible & dangerous.” Yes: Dangerous!

So let’s get this straight: at the paper that cracked wide open the biggest presidential scandal in history, the paper that has long defined great political reporting, the paper of Katherine Graham and Ben Bradlee and David Broder, journalists lie and publicly attack their colleagues and remain comfortably in their positions. And a reporter is suspended without pay for a retweet.

She was, as you might recall, working at The New York Times until she resigned in 2020 in protest of the woke militancy inside the newsroom, which made it difficult to impossible to do one’s job. More:

To finally leave old media required me to confront some realities. Among them: The Washington Post is not the same place that broke Watergate, and The New York Times isn’t the same place that got the Pentagon Papers.

It’s not that the excellent, old-school reporters aren’t there. They are. They just don’t—or can’t—control the culture.

Partly that’s because of weakness and cowardice at the top of the masthead. Partly it’s because you can pretty much guarantee the kind of worldview you’re going to get when you hire journalists pedigreed by Harvard and Brown and Yale. They tend to think almost exactly the same way about almost every situation—and Twitter only reinforces the groupthink.

So whether the staffers and editors at places like the Times and the Post ignored the riots of summer 2020 while genuflecting to the lunatic idea that op-eds are violence because they were true believers in the new dogma or because they were careerists or because they were just plain scared only meant that some of them broke your heart more than others.

But knowing that wasn’t enough to untether me, even after I left. The real way I finally left old media is through the thrill of building something new.

What happens, though, when the institution you don’t trust as a conservative is the US military? I had dinner tonight with an American friend who lives in Europe. She was telling me about how glad she is to be over here, because it’s too depressing to go back home. She told me in detail how the opioid crisis is destroying her once-idyllic hometown, and how nobody seems to know what to do about it. As I listened to her, I thought about how J.D. Vance got in trouble earlier this year for saying that US leaders ought to care more about the opioid crisis here in America than they do about the war in Ukraine.

Listening to my friend at dinner talk about how drug dealers have taken over her hometown — a town whose very name is synonymous with old-timey American wholesomeness — was incredibly discouraging. What is happening to us? What kind of leadership do we have? The US armed forces leadership is chasing coolness. The president cares more about Ukraine’s border with Russia than he does about defending America’s border with Mexico. Our media are entirely captured by the woke loonies, and our capitalist leaders are totally in the tank for wokeness. We are a country in which it is actually controversial — potentially career-ending — to support what nearly everyone who ever lived anywhere, until America five minutes ago, thought was a woman.

What kind of political, social, and cultural order would these putative military recruits be defending? You want to put your life on the line to defend an order that hates you and what you hold to be true and sacred? Really?

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