December 1, 2023

Why Don’t Americans Want to Fight for America?

We’re in big trouble as a nation when able-bodied young people are unwilling to serve in the military.

America’s status as a superpower has gone unchallenged for decades, thanks in large part to the young people who volunteer to serve in its Armed Forces. It’s a testament to their belief in America and its values that so many men and women leave jobs, families, and college to serve their country.

But lately we’ve seen a disturbing trend that’s affecting our nation’s military readiness.

“All branches of the armed forces have in recent years struggled to meet their recruitment targets,” Newsweek reports, adding that it suggests “a growing apathy towards a career of military service.”

Newsweek continues: “In 2023, the Army and Air Force fell short of their respective goals by around 10,000 recruits, while the Navy was under by 6,000. Since 1987, the number of active-duty personnel has fallen by 39 percent. Experts say that such shortfalls are worrisome in an increasingly volatile global picture with American leadership unsure when it will next have to bring its full military force to bear.”

Taking a closer look at the numbers, Newsweek cited an Echelon Insights poll in which 72% of likely voters said they’d be unwilling to serve in the Armed Forces if our country entered a major military conflict, while just 21% indicated they would serve.

Another survey of 1,000 likely voters by J.L. Partners found more troubling numbers. For example, less than half of Democrats would fight for our country (vs. 80% of Republicans who would) and only 51% in the 18- to 29-age bracket would volunteer, which was the lowest percentage of all age groups — and the age group the branches need most.

This is a dramatic reversal. Gallup, for example, noted the following: “Public perceptions of the U.S. military have fluctuated dramatically over the past five decades. The aftermaths of the Gulf War and 9/11 were followed by resounding upticks in confidence in the military. The latter of these surges ushered in an era of elevated confidence lasting nearly two decades. Now that the U.S. has completely withdrawn from both Iraq and Afghanistan, the two most significant military legacies of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S., confidence in the military has continued to decline among the public.”

It should come as no surprise that young people aren’t lining up at recruitment centers.

For years, pop culture, social media, and college professors have brainwashed our youngest minds into thinking America was built on racism, colonialism, and sexism. No wonder it’s hard to find an 18-year-old ready to risk it all. Why would he fight to save something he doesn’t believe in? Now, the shameful retreat in Afghanistan, the U.S. government’s persecution of warriors who refused to get the COVID vaccine, and the politicization of our Armed Forces — all of these have turned a lot of otherwise willing young people against military service.

In fact, a poll by The Heritage Foundation found that nearly seven in 10 active-duty members believe the military has become too political, and an equal number would discourage their children from joining the military.

Digging deeper, we see that 81% have lost “a great deal” or “some” trust in the military because of transgender policies, 71% due to Joe Biden’s disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal, 69% as a result of critical race theory, and 70% due to the military’s position that climate change is a national security threat.

This is grim news for military readiness, but it’s not all gloom and doom. There are brave, selfless young Patriots who are still willing to give up everything to serve their country. As we noted yesterday, Utah State quarterback Levi Williams announced that he’s forgoing his senior season on the gridiron to enlist in the U.S. military and train to be a Navy SEAL. “I love football and it’s so great,” Williams said. “But I knew that, eventually, it was going to come to an end. I just want to be in a spot where I can protect this great country where we get to play football with the freedom to do that. I think this is the best country in the world. So I’d like to keep it that way and protect it as long as I can.”

Our military should be putting its time and energy into recruiting men like Williams, not waving the rainbow flag or rolling out the red carpet for transgender youth. No one denies the important role women play in our military today, but our forces need strong, patriotic young men ready to fight, and those men now feel alienated by the Armed Forces.

As our own Douglas Andrews wrote last year: “These are the ones who’ve trained and fought and bled and died for our country since before its inception. It’s a brotherhood whose members couldn’t give a rip about each other’s skin color, but that doesn’t readily cotton to wokeness and weirdness and sexual deviance and pronoun proscriptions.”

Maybe, just maybe, the military is starting to get it. They’ve already invited back some of the very soldiers whom they kicked to the curb because they refused to get the experimental COVID jab.

It’s a start. And now it’s time for the military to stop playing politics. It’s time to focus their attention on the very demographic they’ve alienated for too long. Our national security demands it.

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