Toward an Army of One

military_soldierThe slogan used to be “An Army of one.” And if the military isn’t careful, that’s exactly what they’ll have. America’s soldiers are more disgruntled than ever, a new report in a depressing string of outcomes shows. Of the branch’s 777,000 soldiers more than half (52 percent) are unhappy — or worse, “rarely count(ing) on good things happening” to them. Almost as many — 48 percent — explain that what was once one of the most rewarding jobs on the planet is now anything but.

Dissatisfied and disrespected, hundreds of thousands of soldiers say their commitment is waning. The warning signs have been there all along, but only recently have the surveys started to confirm what most long suspected: that this administration’s radical policies are having a catastrophic effect on the troops. Only 28 percent of the Army and National Guard feel good about what they do — a low-water mark for one of the nation’s proudest traditions: military service. Two-thirds, USA Today reports, are “borderline or worse for an area called ‘catastrophic thinking’” — despite six years of an “optimism program” meant to make soldiers resilient. At $287 million, the campaign has been a dismal failure.

Like most of the Pentagon’s fixes, this one can’t seem to overcome the toxic environment created by the President’s attacks on faith, values, and brotherhood. The Army’s “positive psychology” never had a chance in a culture of non-stop sexual engineering and foreign policy incompetence. Not to mention that this “optimism program” doesn’t compete with the original one — and that’s faith! Why not save a quarter of a billion dollars and stop discouraging a source of real positivity: religion?

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Unfortunately for the military, leaders can’t buy optimism — they have to create it. That’s extremely difficult to do when the commander-in-chief turns the military into his primary base for social engineering. It started with the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” worsened with women on the front lines, and continued right through to a full-scale war on religious expression.

Back in 2010, when Congress rolled out the red carpet for homosexuals, FRC warned the consequences would be severe. A year later at our press conference, reporters asked me, “Where’s all the fallout that FRC predicted?” And I’ll tell you what I told them. It’s impossible to gauge the full effect of sexualizing the military in one year. “But make no mistake,” I said. “The repercussions have begun.” Now, the same media is tripping itself to report the string of bad news: sexual assaults, suicides, tanking morale, dissatisfaction, recruitment problems. Is it any wonder 40 percent don’t trust their fellow soldiers or superiors? Only 15 percent have confidence in the leadership of their chief superior — President Obama.

For now, the DOD is desperately trying to avoid the root issues. In fact, when USA Todayasked for comment on the report, officials “disavowed (the Army’s) results.” “Sharyn Saunders, chief of the Army Resiliency Directorate that produced the data… (said), ‘I’ve sat and looked at your numbers for quite some time and our team can’t figure out how your numbers came about.’” When reporters sent her the data, Saunders claimed the formulas “were obsolete.” They cooked the numbers and forwarded along new statistics (“but lowered the threshold for a score to be a positive result”). “As a consequence, for example, only 9% of the 709,000 score poorly in optimism.”

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Well, the Army can change the formula, but it can’t change reality. And that reality is that the constant wear and tear of war isn’t the problem here; the President’s battle against the timeless traditions and standards of the military is. This isn’t what our brave young troops signed up for. And based on enlistment numbers, it isn’t what future soldiers will sign up for either.

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Tony Perkins is President of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. He received his undergraduate degree from Liberty University and a Master’s Degree from Louisiana State University in Public Administration. Perkins is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, and a former police officer and television news reporter.
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