By Mark Judge
It’s amazing, or maybe not, that the media does not get the correlation. There is currently a debate about whether “wokeness” is hurting America’s military recruitment, which is down.
Military leadership has denied this, telling the Associated Press that much more than leftist ideology, “the bigger hurdles are more traditional ones: Young people don’t want to die or get injured, deal with the stress of Army life and put their lives on hold.”
Not stated is the entire reasonable idea that your chances of getting killed or injured in the armed forces goes up exponentially as a result of woke recruitment.
One can lead directly to the other.
Joining a fighting force that has “all” genders and low standards increases the chances you’ll come home in a box. It’s like a pro football team that allows junior high kids to suit up.
In 2015, then-Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus rejected a Marine Corps study concluding that gender-integrated combat formations did not move as quickly or shoot as accurately, and that women were two times as likely as men to suffer combat injuries.
That same year the Department of Defense opened all combat jobs in the U.S. military to women.
As Thomas Spoehr of the Center for National Defense recently noted , “since then, the Army has been working for a decade to put in place the gender-neutral test. … But after finding that women were not scoring as highly as men, and under fierce pressure from advocacy groups, the Army threw out the test. Now there is no test to determine whether any soldier can meet the fitness requirements for combat specialties.”
Again: If you go into combat with an all-gender platoon that has not met training goals, your chances of getting hurt or killed are higher. One can lead directly to the other.
A couple years ago, I spoke to Chief Warrant Officer Bob Pennington (retired), who was one of a dozen Special Forces soldiers who choppered into northern Afghanistan after 9/11.
Their mission, Task Force Dagger, was to embed themselves with warlords in the Northern Alliance and radio coordinates of Taliban strongholds to U.S. bombers. Mounted on horseback, the U.S. team secured the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, which set up the U.S. and its allies for a full-scale invasion of Kabul.
The mission was turned into a film, 12 Strong . In the movie, Chris Hemsworth plays Captain Mitch Nelson, who is based on Maj. Mark Nutsch, the leader of Operation Dagger. Their superior in Afghanistan is Col. Mulholland (William Fichtner), who tells the men, “Nineteen men made war against the U.S. on 9/11. You 12 will be the first ones to fight back.”
Based on the book Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton, 12 Strong is an entertaining and informative film. Like American Sniper, Lone Survivor, and 13 Hours, 12 Strong recaptures the reputation of the American fighting soldiers from the decades of leftist representation that followed the Vietnam War. In 1970s and 1980s films such as Coming Home, Platoon, and Born on the Fourth of July, for example, war veterans were dramatized as psychotic, violent, addicted to drugs, and deeply angry at America.
“They did depict us in the right light,” Pennington said of 12 Strong when we spoke shortly after the premiere. “It’s not that guy who’s a killer, and goes in there like a madman. These guys know they have to face the enemy and that they have to kill the enemy. There’s no time for remorse, there’s no time to rejoice. The faster we do this, the faster we win, the faster we go home. I could not be more proud of all of them.”
It is not conceivable that Pennington and his men could have been as effective if they had to go through woke training and were dragging weaker soldiers with them.
The soldiers in 12 Strong are shown to succeed not just through bravery and violence, but intelligence.
In a key scene, Capt. Nelson is given command of the Task Force Dagger operation not because he kicked over a cabinet in anger, but because he has done his research and understands the terrain and weather of northern Afghanistan better than anyone else. “Out of five people we talked to about this,” Maj. Mulholland tells him, “you’re the one who got it right.”
Pennington — who, it should be made clear, did not offer me any opinions about recruitment or political correctness because it was not the topic of our conversation — explained to me what goes into a mission:
In Special Forces, it’s a team reaction. The team sits down. There is a period when we go into isolation. The team that is entrusted with the mission must first prove themselves by isolating in a room that is closed off, but sending out questions they have to intelligence staff. It’s 96 hours of just hammering the staff. It’s every one of those enlisted guys on the team. We’ve been picked for the Super Bowl. America is looking up to us. We’ve got to perform. It’s humbling when people thank you, but there’s a lot of homework.”
Our soldiers are brave and brilliant people. They also are capable of basic human reasoning.
Going woke and the fear of coming home in a box are not two separate things. One can lead directly to the other.
Mark Judge is an award-winning journalist and the author of The Devil’s Triangle: Mark Judge vs. the New American Stasi . He is also the author of God and Man at Georgetown Prep, Damn Senators, and A Tremor of Bliss.