(Washington Examiner Editorial) The U.S. military is failing to meet its recruitment goals. The Army reported falling short last year by 25%, or 15,000 recruits. The Navy came up short by 8,000 active-duty sailors (more than 20% below its goal) and 3,000 reservists (nearly 30% short).
This is no small matter, given the growing likelihood of U.S. confrontation with China this decade over Taiwan. It may not lead to war, but it may, and readiness has never been more important.
So how will the military attract new talent?
Someone at the Pentagon apparently decided the answer is drag queens. Sadly, they weren’t joking. The Navy intends to use a drag queen social influencer to make recruiting rounds online in place of Uncle Sam. Since he is already in the Navy, he will not cost taxpayers anything extra, but, of course, that is hardly the main point.
Using Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua Kelley’s cross-dressing act shines a light on the delusional leadership of our U.S. national defense.
Can military officers and civilian employees really believe this sort of thing will help improve morale or attract young recruits, primarily young men, willing to serve and perhaps die for their country?
What the military needs is more men who want to be modern warriors.
They are unlikely to be lured by drag queens, whose schtick is most often a patronizing pastiche of femininity. The opposite is true.
It and other elements of recent recruitment repel would-be warriors, and as these men turn away, the vacancies they leave have to be filled by less desirable recruits, perhaps those who find drag queens compelling.
Aside from drag queens, the brass seem at a loss.
Their other tactic has been to force so-called “diversity, equity, and inclusion” ideology on service members and to include it in recruitment drives.
Far from helping morale or recruitment, DEI is undermining military readiness and the desire among young people to serve their country.
DEI has already proven to be a poison in workplaces and universities. The mainstreaming of DEI ideology has heightened racial tensions nationally and in every institution it has touched — the exact opposite of its unconvincingly stated purpose.
It is poisoning morale in the Armed Forces. As a racialist ideology that teaches that people are either oppressors or victims solely on the basis of their skin color, it is an inherently harmful worldview that turns resentment into a virtue and portrays America as the world’s great villain.
But that is not the only reason it has no place in the military.
DEI is an ideology intended to promote mediocrity, to check boxes and fill quotas from within a hierarchy of victimhood rather than to reward merit or achieve greatness.
This is incompatible with military service. No one follows a leader into battle because of his or her claims to “intersectional” authority.
People are drawn by a desire to do something great for their country.
The ideology behind DEI, known in academic circles as critical race theory, deliberately undermines patriotism in the younger generation.
Under the influence of DEI bureaucrats, the entire educational system, from kindergarten through college, is now trying to wring out of the young whatever remains of love of their country.
America is great because America is good. This is the belief that inspired millions of young men and women to serve when their country needed them in the past.
But DEI, far from welcoming more people in, teaches that America is evil — that it is, as the doctrines of critical race theory would have it, a uniquely and irredeemably racist country whose historic injustices can never be fixed. This is a detestable lie.
But if you are indoctrinated with it from your childhood, how could you love this country? Who would want to fight for a nation fitting the DEI description?
President Joe Biden’s appointees setting military policy think drag queens, preferred pronouns, and inclusive language are key to reversing young people’s waning interest in joining the military.
If the military wants to fix its recruiting problem, it needs to fire all its DEI officers and purge all hints of DEI ideology from its ranks instead.