A ‘Woke’ U.S. Military Would Beget A More Dangerous World

It takes many generations to build up a great armed forces — and only one misguided movement to tear it down.

Soldier saluting the flag
Tetra Images/Getty Images

I recently saw a new recruitment advertisement for the U.S. Army. It was in what appeared to be a sort of Japanese anime format. As a former military man, my reaction to this cartoon ran the gamut from bewilderment to horror.

The Army named the animation “The Calling,” and it is about joining one of the most serious and deadly organizations on earth. It is a fanciful (what the Army calls “emotional” and “relatable”) story of a girl who somehow ends up in uniform and manning Patriot missiles. Let me be clear, having women in the military doesn’t bother me. When I was a helicopter pilot for the U.S. Navy in the early 1980s, we were on the cusp of one of the military’s new “social engineering” missions. We had a new breed of naval aviator — women who, for the first time, were allowed in combat squadrons. We had complete faith and confidence in their abilities. This is not about that. This is about how the military is undermining its mission by drastically escalating these social engineering programs.

To continue about the cartoon ad, it shows a young girl who had a “typical childhood.” She was raised by two mothers and marched for social justice. We see a snippet of her parents’ same-sex marriage and then she heads off to UC Davis.

Odd, I don’t remember many women who fit this left-wing-activist-marcher-turned-soldier mold joining the military when I served. The women who wore the uniform in my day were no-nonsense and tough.  And why was that? Because they knew they were in the military… and they understood that such an organization’s primary mission is to kill the enemy and destroy its infrastructure.

I think what bothers me the most about this ad are the reasons the narrator, who turns out to be a corporal named Emma, joined the armed services. “I needed my own adventures. My own challenge.” The Army was for her a way to “discover my inner strength, and maybe shatter a few stereotypes along the way.” In other words, she saw joining the military as a wholly self-centered act. This entire ad is all about her.

But wearing the uniform is not about the person in the mirror. Rather it is about, indeed it demands, self-sacrifice and surrendering yourself to a higher calling. Back in my day, we all knew why we joined up. It was a pretty simple reason — To serve our country.

What struck me about this animated ad is that nowhere in its one minute and 40 seconds are the words “service” or “duty” or “honor” or “country” or “patriotism” anywhere to be found. Has the narcissism of this “selfie generation” seeped into my beloved military as well? If this recruitment angle is any indication, I fear it has.

As I alluded to earlier, what this advertisement misses, despite its use of patriot missiles to get the viewer’s attention, is that there is but one function of the United States’ armed forces. That is to deal death and destruction to our enemies should they threaten our national interests or existence. Period. All the rest — the “woke” gobbledygook, the personal empowerment, the enlightenment, the social justice agreeance, etc. — are subordinate to that primary objective. I do not want a self-actualizing gender studies major in my unit, as there are no “safe spaces” on a battlefield. I want a razor-sharp warrior, a killer, next to me as we go into combat. Someone that the enemy will take one look at and think, “Maybe this isn’t such a good idea.”

I am a second-generation military man. My father was a Marine who saw some of the heaviest fighting one can imagine in Korea. He came home wounded by a Chinese mortar fragment and earned the Purple Heart. He said when the bullets start flying and the enemy comes charging there is only one rule that matters: “Get, or get got.” He was one of the toughest men I have ever known. The personification of the expression: “Free people sleep peaceably in their beds because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” That is what the military has always been about to me.

I can tell you that many still on active duty with whom I am in touch on a regular basis have confided to me that this radical social experimentation in our armed services is causing the best and brightest to not re-enlist. I wonder down the road who will be left to guard this great country? What will motivate them to serve? “Discovering inner strength or shattering stereotypes” are alluring notions to faculty lounges and even the upper echelons of the Department of Defense it appears, but they mean nothing to an inadequately trained social justice warrior coming home in a body bag.

I try to imagine a council of Chinese, Russian, or even Iranian generals viewing this ad. What does this say to them about the prowess of their enemy? I certainly know what I would be thinking. A U.S. military that could produce this solipsistic appeal to fill the ranks is certainly not made of the same iron that crossed the Delaware River in a blizzard, held the line with clubbed rifles and bayonets at Gettysburg, or raised the American flag atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. I would conclude that, as with so much else in its debauched culture, the once awe-inspiring American military machine has been so weakened by its obsession with a new leftist “woke” ideology that it is decaying from within. The take-away would be simple. We have nothing to fear from these people.

When that happens, we will have lost something we can’t get back. Not without a serious re-examination of just what the military in which I proudly served is all about. It takes many generations to build up a great armed forces. It only takes one misguided movement so completely incompatible with its mission to tear it down.

Ominously, if history is any guide, a weakened United States begets a more dangerous world. If we continue down this dissonant path of jamming the square peg of fashionable “wokeness” into the round hole of the primary objective of a military, which is to apply violence to win wars, I am afraid the next time our troops find themselves on the firing line — and they will — the flag and coffin makers will be working overtime.

Brian Schaeffer served as a Naval aviator until his honorable discharge in 1985 with the rank of Lieutenant. Lt. Schaeffer has been in both the shipping business and involved in real estate ever since re-entering civilian life.  Prior to heading off to Aviation Reserve Officers Corps, he graduated with honors from Indiana University, Bloomington.  

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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