I’m talking about the decades-long decline in the size of the American military — a decline both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the American population. As the U.S. population has grown, the American military has become smaller and more female. Over the decades, this adds up to millions of young men (especially working-class young men) who do not have that distinct military experience, who are not tested and shaped by military training, and who do not begin their professional lives with discipline and distinct purpose.
Although not referred to again, the French hit upon one of the main causes of the problem he seek to redress, the increased percentage of women in the military. I’ll get back to that later. He goes on to describe just how valuable military service is to young men, but correctly realizes its a feature, not an objective in and of itself. The Military’s primary purpose, is to kill people and break things (or threaten to do so) in support of National Command Authority objectives.
…the positive transformation of young men is a side effect of achieving the military’s primary role, the defense of the American nation. Members of the military achieve such tight bonds and feel a sense of purpose because the mission they train for is very real. The purpose is outside themselves.
Sending a person to boot camp to become a better man is an old American tradition, but he becomes a better man not simply because of the process but because of the mission. He understands the necessity of bonding with his brothers, the necessity of physical deprivation, and the necessity of personal risk. Remove that necessity, and you remove the purpose.
French is spot on when he writes of the centrality of “mission, “ the sense of collective purpose that fosters this maturing environment. What he fails to mention, is that warfare is a mean, dirty, bloody and at the pointy end of the spear, a very physical, sometimes brutal business—men’s business; the business of men in tightly knit groups—bands of brothers working together to accomplish a very complex and dangerous physical task, closing with and destroying our enemies.
The leftists in our society, are doing their Level best to destroy the Military as they did the Boy Scouts. They are being willingly helped by the perfumed princes bedecked with stars, commanding desks in the Pentagon, happily supporting and kowtowing to the leftists and their mission to destroy the fundamental pillars of our society. The Military is one of the few societal institutions that still enjoys wide respect, a minor miracle considering that it wasn’t all that long ago that returning Soldiers were being spit on in San Francisco Airport. Like the Boy Scouts, the leftists hate the Military and what it stands for.
That’s why, with the help of certain pusillanimous senior officers, they are busy with the task of feminizing an institution built for violence. Yes, there are places for women in the military, but the Combat Arms and Special Operations aren’t them. The sycophantic senior officers who bend over backwards to include them in those formations, are weakening our of Military, and putting the troops at risk; troops whose lives they are entrusted with.
Further down, French laments the fact that Military recruiters aren’t achieving their recruiting and retention goals. There is a huge shortfall and he wonders why. I’ll tell him. There are lots of reasons young men join the military; job security, education, “finding themselves,” or just for the challange. Most of all, it’s for the challange, the adventure, the “jazz,” if you will.
Young men join the military to do the “cool” stuff like John Wayne did on the big screen. They join to drive tanks, fire artillery, blow stuff up with C-4 explosives, rappel down a cliff, parachute out of planes—all in the company of a small, close-knit team of locker room buddies that they can talk to in coarse language, without being counseled or reprimanded. They don’t join to sit in classes about “Consideration of Others.” They don’t join ROTC to be forced to parade around in heels or wear a “pregnant” suit, so they can “feel” what it’s like to be female. From my foxhole, it’s no secret why young men aren’t joining up. What young (real) man would want to put up with that? Who wants to join an organization where your career can be totally destroyed on a mere accusation from an irate female?
What French is seeing, is the Military version of young men, “checking out.” Young men are choosing not to marry because the risk is just too great. Our society has morphed to such a degree that a woman can bind a man’s livelihood for a good part of his life, merely because one day she decides, “I’m just not happy.” Military life is tough. What makes it desirable to young men are all the reasons I noted above. But if you limit those, “cool” opportunities and replace them with a social justice experiment, coupled with a very real career risk for some random, innocuous comment, well, you can see the results Mr French.
Mike Ford is a retired Infantry Officer who has commanded at the Detachment, Company, Battalion and Brigade levels and has 6 combat tours.
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