'Wokeness' in the military is worse than many of us realize
College campuses have become remarkably dystopian in the past 20 years. Once they sought to end racism; now they aggressively pursue anti-White racism. Once they sought to bring women into parity with men; now they seek to replace women with men. Once they cherished their niche as places of unique intellectual freedom; now they demand complete intellectual conformity. And once, believe it or not, they used to teach that America was a shining light among nations, while now they routinely denigrate America, deriding its institutions and inherent value. That's bad. What's worse is that the Obama and Biden administrations have inculcated college values into America's military.
Thomas Spoehr, a retired lieutenant general who served 36 years in the United States Army, is now the director of the Center for National Defense at the Heritage Foundation. In that capacity, he gave a speech at Hillsdale College's Washington, D.C. campus about the rise of the leftist "woke" mentality in the American military. Hillsdale has published an adaptation of Spoehr's talk in Imprimis. I found the speech fascinating and wanted to share it with you because it is such a lucid analysis of the way hard-left concepts about race, sex, intellectual freedom, and America itself have been hardwired into the military since 2008.
Image: The Army celebrates pride month (2020). YouTube screen grab.
Spoehr opens his speech with two basic premises: (1) wokeness is now interwoven in the military and cannot easily be removed, even if a conservative administration makes the effort, and (2) "woke ideology undermines military readiness in various ways." That second point should worry everyone who believes that our nation can best avoid conflicts if predatory nations view America as bristling with a strong military defense. According to Spoehr, though, wokeness destroys our defensive capabilities:
It undermines cohesiveness by emphasizing differences based on race, ethnicity, and sex. It undermines leadership authority by introducing questions about whether promotion is based on merit or quota requirements. It leads to military personnel serving in specialties and areas for which they are not qualified or ready. And it takes time and resources away from training activities and weapons development that contribute to readiness.
Wokeness in the military also affects relations between the military and society at large. It acts as a disincentive for many young Americans in terms of enlistment. And it undermines wholehearted support for the military by a significant portion of the American public at a time when it is needed the most.
It's no exaggeration to say the military is overwhelmed with wokeness. Spoehr has example after example:
- Forcing all combat units to accept women, even though study after study reveals that doing so damages combat readiness.
- Opening the military to so-called "transgender" people, who have major mental health issues (including a high suicide risk) and extremely expensive physical health requirements.
- Allowing people with HIV to serve despite the risk of cross-infection in bloody environments.
- Lowering physical fitness standards for men to accommodate women.
- Changing longstanding military titles, under which people proudly served, essentially degrading institutional pride.
- Teaching troops (including at the academies) that America is a fatally flawed, deeply racist country that is irreparably damaged because of toxic whiteness.
- Training troops to believe that capitalism is inherently racist.
- Mandating "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion" offices across the military.
- Destroying the military's equipment readiness by chasing the climate chimera.
Meanwhile, as Spoehr is careful to point out, China is going full speed ahead with an old-fashioned military that has massive amounts of equipment and is filled with men who are being trained not to hate themselves and their country, but to kill the enemy. As China increases military spending, we're decreasing military spending.
All in all, Spoehr's is an exceptionally compelling narrative that should strike fear into the heart of anyone who believes, as a matter of common sense, that the nation least likely to get involved in war is a freedom-oriented nation with strong military readiness that repels attacks. The Biden administration, however, building on what Obama did during his eight years, is using leftist social and environmental doctrines to turn our military into a shrunken, divided, ineffective sitting duck.