All Things Soldier: Are We Weak Because We Are Woke, Or Are We Woke Because We Are Weak?

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

This week, the Heritage Foundation issued a report about the strength of our military that was straight up disturbing. In a word, it was determined by their research that we are “weak.” The Air Force is the worst, and the Marines are in the best shape. Never mind that it is never a good idea for that kind of intel to be made public, as it has been proven to embolden our enemies.

We can’t meet our recruitment requirements, and even if we could, the greater question is, do we even want what we can recruit? As someone who is a fierce soldier supporter and who spent three years in Baghdad, it gives me no pleasure to even ask the question.

How did we get here, and more importantly what can we do about it? In my opinion, there are several factors that have converged to make a perfect storm, and at least three of them are daddy-hunger, poor leadership, and social engineering. My statement regarding “poor leadership” is not to implicate the leaders who are trying to build up their troops, it is that their hands are tied because of being forced to be “woke.” It is also not designed to besmirch someone because of the color of their skin.

If someone is wanting to serve in the military, then it is absolutely imperative to believe in the Constitution as written, as well as American exceptionalism, because without that as a core value, then John Kennedy’s admonition to “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country” is pointless. It is also mandatory to believe that with all of her warts, America is the best game in town, and anyone who has been outside our borders knows that this is true.

In a word, “woke-ness” does not allow one to love America deeply, and it is a far cry from the working philosophy that was embraced by African Americans who served with pride even when America was forcing them to serve in segregated units. Those brave souls could say with certainty and faith that even though they were not being treated justly, that justice would eventually prevail, even if it was Johnny-come-lately.

Is it wrong to want justice in the military and elsewhere? Of course not! It just will never be true justice if it’s not based on the Constitution. But here is the real rub. The military was never designed to be a social engineering lab, and if it’s going to do the job it is designed to do, the focus has to first be on the mission and military training, strength and readiness. What I would posit is that it is a strong military that allows people to be woke or anything else. My dad gave me a great gift back in the day when I hated America and didn’t know it. I had, as an anti-war protestor tried to shut down a military installation in Ohio, and he said, through clenched teeth, “I may not agree with you, but I will fight like hell for your right to believe what you want to believe.” It wasn’t until I was in Baghdad, that I really understood the extent of his extraordinary gift.

The report went on to say, “No matter how much America desires that the world be a simpler, less threatening place that is more inclined to beneficial economic interactions than violence-laden friction, the patterns of history show that competing powers consistently emerge and that the U.S. must be able to defend its interests in more than one region at a time.”

We are facing down China and Iran, much like the Greatest Generation faced down being between Japan and Germany. And if we don’t return to a state of military strength and the thinking that has always made us strong, political nuance and dissidence will be non-existent. We’ll be weak, we’ll be woke, and we’ll be whooped on maybe two fronts.

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner