What Wokeness? Army Claims Extremism Has Nothing to Do with Recruitment Woes
When the military isn’t shooting down Chinese UFOs, it’s dealing with another ballooning problem: recruitment. The Army’s 15,000-person shortfall is still keeping leaders up at night, as they scramble to understand what’s keeping this generation from enlisting. “They just don’t see the Army as something that’s relevant,” Major General Alex Fink said after reading the results of the branch’s latest survey. But it’s not because the military is woke, he told critics. That and the mandatory COVID vaccine have nothing to do with the Armed Forces’ problems — or so the Biden brass would have you believe.
“They just don’t perceive the Army as being in touch with the modern, everyday culture that they’re used to,” Fink explained to the press. Most of Generation Z doesn’t know anyone in the Army, he pointed out, and they cling to major misconceptions about military life, pay, time off, and combat duty. They’re also much more concerned about dying, the stresses of Army life, and the general inconveniences of “putting their lives on hold.” Another 10% percent of the 16-28 year-olds admitted that they don’t trust military leadership, “based on the way recent events or missions have been handled.”
But the biggest takeaway, Biden’s officials claimed, is that social extremism isn’t hurting recruitment. Only 5% of the people surveyed cited “wokeness” as an issue, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth wanted people to know. In fact, she said, this entire survey should “assuage the concerns that some may have — whether influencers or members of Congress, about wokeness or the vaccine mandate … and show that they are not, by any means, primary drivers of the recruiting challenges we’re experiencing.”
Of course, this is the same woman who said that she didn’t even know what wokeness was last October. “You know we get criticized, frankly, sometimes for being woke. I’m not sure what ‘woke’ means,” Wormuth told the press last fall. “But first of all, I would say if ‘woke’ means we are not focused on war fighting [or] we are not focused on readiness, that doesn’t reflect what I see at installations all around the countries or overseas when I go to visit.”
That’s interesting, since the explosion of military radicalism is about as difficult to miss as a North Korean rocket. It doesn’t matter which base Wormuth visits or what service academy she tours, the steady drumbeat of social experimentation is everywhere you look. It started barely 24 hours into Joe Biden’s term — and has mushroomed into a culture so pervasive that service members now say, “merely questioning” the mission-compromising wokeism “is punished, and that punishment is swift, harsh, and public.”
And if wokeness is the non-factor Wormuth claims it is, then why won’t the Army publish the entire survey? Instead, the AP pointed out, branch leaders “discussed the general findings” but “declined to provide detailed methodology” because the surveys were “done by a private research contractor and that licensing agreements limited the public release of some data collection details.”
To former military leaders, like Family Research Council Executive Vice President Lt. General (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, that ought to tell Americans everything they need to know.
“The recent survey by the Army regarding recruitment does not provide an accurate picture of why the military’s force structure is well below its required levels,” Boykin told The Washington Stand. “What the Army is missing is a questionnaire of those people who’ve left the Army either voluntarily or because of the COVID vaccine mandate.”
“The Army must recognize that young Americans are watching what is happening to service members who are being bullied, thrown out of the military, and leaving specifically because of the woke agenda that is being forced on them,” Boykin said. “Their message is, ‘Don’t join the military,’ and many young people are hearing that directly from those who have left voluntarily or involuntarily.”
Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that today’s young people would even recognize wokeness as a problem since they’ve been steeped in it from their earliest classroom days. Thanks to America’s public schools, Gen Z is no longer surprised by social extremism — they expect it. Frankly, Family Research Council’s Meg Kilgannon told TWS, “Given the progressive environment that exists in education today, young people may have lost the ability to recognize a left-wing agenda as a problem — in the military, in college, or anywhere else.”
This is the generation who grew up learning their country is a horrible, racist place that everyone should be ashamed of calling home. They don’t remember much about 9/11 or the surge of pride that came from uniting against a common, external foe. They’ve never heard the words “American exceptionalism,” learned the truth about the Founding Fathers, or been taught to appreciate the example our free nation sets for the world. The ones lucky enough to have patriotism modeled at home are dwindling, and fast.
According to last month’s Morning Consult poll, only 16% of Gen Z is proud to live in America — 57 points lower than the Baby Boomers (73%) and less than half of their nearest neighbors (Millennials), who, at 36%, might as well be Lee Greenwood.
“They do not know the struggle people across the world still go through to be free or how desperately people want to be Americans,” the New York Post’s Karol Markowicz warned. “[They] were taught to take for granted the freedom and liberty that is their birthright.” Instead, what today’s kids are learning “is that the freest country in the history of humanity — the country that has set the example for democracy and for freedom and has been a beacon of hope to people all over the world — is meh, not that great.”
And that message is being reinforced by a commander-in-chief who takes every opportunity to divide and inflame —using proud institutions like our military to destroy the values we share and leave everyone wondering: what exactly are we fighting for?
At the end of the day, Freedom Alliance President Tom Kilgannon told TWS, “The Army is blaming young Americans for its own failures. The policies of this administration have turned the military into an unappealing career path or service opportunity.”
“There has always been a portion of the population that was willing and able to serve because they saw it as a noble calling, and the risk of injury or ultimate sacrifice was a price they were willing to pay for a country they loved — just as their fathers and grandfathers and great grandfathers had done. Prior to this administration, they were more than willing to — how do I say it — Be All They Can Be.”
Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.