The Department of Defense (DoD) is doubling down on force-feeding the U.S. “woke” philosophical notions as if the divisive “theories” were ground truth. Liberty Nation explained the insinuation of the woke, Marxist thinking of Critical Race Theory (CRT) into the training of the U.S. Armed Forces. However, while the Defense Department embraces pre-communist ideologies, as many as a dozen state governments have passed or are considering legislation to ban CRT.
Furthermore, the “wokeness” umbrella casts a wide net, including all manner of initiatives to turn the U.S. military from an effective fighting force into a politically correct mirror of what progressive factions in the U.S. Government demand the American society reflect. There’s more to wokeness than just CRT.
To that end, the DoD has embraced diversity as the imperative standard for service member culture. “The Pentagon defended the military’s diversity and inclusion training programs amid a torrent of criticism saying they are essential for recruiting the ‘right people in its duty to defend the nation,’” Mark Moore reported for the New York Post. Where congressmen break with this idea is the lengths to which the DoD uses diversity to recruit the “right people.”
A recent Army television recruiting ad tells the audience that “this is a story of a soldier who operates your nation’s Patriot Missile Defense System.” It’s a tale of two moms against a cartoon, pastel-colored background. The narration explains the two moms were loving and inspiring, tugging at the heartstrings of the viewer. Emma, the slender, attractive narrator-soldier, was inspired to seek out the Army as a new direction in her life. However, the ad does not instill confidence that this soldier would be much of a challenge for the Russian or Chinese should they overrun her Patriot missile battery.
Emphasizing that point, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) took issue with the Army’s diversity ad and, according to Fox News, “accused the Army of portraying soldiers as ‘pansies’ in a recruiting ad that features a female soldier with ‘two moms.'” In response was an ad that compared the “two moms” ad with a Russian television recruiting spot in black and white showing tough-looking, combat-hardened soldiers doing what you expect soldiers to do – jumping from aircraft, training as snipers, and engaging in physical exercise. The contrast is compelling.
Senator Cruz is not the only member of Congress concerned that the emphasis on turning soldiers into “Woketomatons” is hurting U.S. combat capability. In an article on Military.com, Steven Losey’s headline cautions, “As ‘Woke’ Criticism Grows, Pentagon Says ‘No Apologies’ for Diversity Programs.” Losey refers to a June 1 Pentagon Press Briefing in which John Kirby, the assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs, defended the military’s obsessive push for diversity and inclusion. Kirby said:
“And the Secretary has been very clear and fairly unapologetic about the fact that we want to get all the best talent that we can available from the American people. If you meet the standards and you’re qualified to be in the military – and you’re willing to raise your hand and serve this country, we want you to be able to do, and we want you to be able to do it free of hate and fear and discrimination.”
Kirby’s vigorous defense of standards rings hollow, unfortunately. History reminds us that, in the cynical words of an unnamed military member, when the force can’t meet your standards, lower your standards. The U.S. Army’s new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) is an appropriate case in point. Captain Kristen Griest tells us about the problem in her thought piece published by Modern War Institute, titled “With Equal Opportunity Comes Equal Responsibility: Lower Fitness Standards to accommodate Women Will Hurt the Army – And Women.”
Griest tells us that when the Army applied a gender-neutral standard for the ACFT, the initial failure rate was 54% among women, whereas men taking the test performed far better. Griest reports that activist groups complained that the ACFT’s standards disadvantaged women. To address those complaints, the Army is “considering reverting to gender-based fitness scoring.” Regarding lowering standards, Griest points out:
“It is wholly unethical to allow the standards of the nation’s premier fighting units to degrade so badly, just to accommodate the lowest-performing soldiers … Lower female standards also reinforce the belief that women cannot perform the same job as men, therefore making it difficult for women to earn the trust and confidence of their teammates.”
The Army’s reaction to the failure rate for women on the ACFT is emblematic of what can be expected when the DoD says we hold to “standards” but pushes far more vigorously criteria like diversity that has nothing to do with warfighting standards. The Pentagon leadership is simply bowing to a woke standard instead.
Congress is taking notice. According to Fox News, when it comes to woke in uniform, Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) are having none of it. They began a campaign to provide an opportunity for military personnel to report “woke ideology” when it starts to become defense policy. Crenshaw said, “Enough is enough. We won’t let our military fall to woke ideology.” Is America’s military leadership listening? Woke won’t win wars.
The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.
Read more from Dave Patterson.
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