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By Suzanne Bowdey

“Imagine staying in business after losing 25% of your company.” That’s the U.S. Army’s latest dilemma, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) warns. Despite a military-wide recruitment emergency, America’s biggest branch is on the verge of losing 13% of its National Guard, 10% of the Reserve, and 24,250 active-duty soldiers out of the service over the president’s ludicrous vaccine mandate. As early as this Thursday, June 30, tens of thousands of troops will forfeit their pay — and their posts — when our military leaders can least afford it.

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The dismissals would be crippling, Republicans warn — and all over an illness, Johnson argues, “that is very, very, very, unlikely to have any significant effect on the young men and women of our military, and a vaccine that lacks long-term data on safety and efficacy …” Still, the Pentagon is plowing stubbornly ahead, plunging even deeper into an employment crisis from which the military might never recover.

“To put it bluntly, I’m worried we are now in the early days of a long-term threat to the all-volunteer force,” Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) cautioned at an Armed Services hearing this past spring. “Every single metric tracking the military recruiting environment is going in the wrong direction.” In the Marine Corps, the top “manpower officer,” lamented that it was the “most challenging year” for sign-ups since the draft was eliminated 40 years ago. In the other branches, the situation is just as dire. Air Force officials have 2,300 fewer recruits than it did this time last year, and the Army hasn’t even hit 50% of its goal with three months left in the fiscal year.

Out of desperation, the military is offering up to $50,000 in signing bonuses, loosening its rigid tattoo rules, and even, the Army announced last week, dropping its high school graduation requirement. In its most dramatic move yet, leaders have decided that a GED or diploma is no longer necessary to enlist — sparking outcry and controversy from experts who think the military has already relaxed too many standards to fix the problems the Pentagon itself has created.

Family Research Council’s Lt. General (Ret.) Jerry Boykin was appalled by the announcement, which he says is a direct result of this administration’s failed leadership. “The retention and recruiting problems can be traced back to the misplaced priorities of this White House, which has focused more attention on climate change and wokeness in the military than preparing young men and women to win the nation’s wars,” he told The Washington Stand. “On top of that, we’re kicking thousands of good people out of the Army and other services because they have refused a vaccination which violates their deeply-held beliefs. If our military solved these problems, they wouldn’t have to lower their standards.”

The Pentagon’s mission creep was on full display during Pride Month, when — among other things — the U.S. Navy responded to China’s latest missile launch by hosting a pronoun lesson with Private Potato. Isn’t it time the Navy worried about nouns like “ships,” the Association of the U.S. Navy asked, and important things like how to use them?

Obviously, six years after Barack Obama, Biden is just picking up where his old boss left off — injecting every sick form of political correctness into our military, no matter how dangerous or unpopular. Unfortunately for America’s national security, that all has very real consequences — not the least of which is finding eligible men and women who will stomach these distractions to serve their country.

And according to the latest fitness reports, that pool is only shrinking. Army Chief of Staff General James McConville testified in May that only 23% of 17-24-year-olds are even qualified to serve without a waiver, down six percent from other years. Worse, only 9% of them have any desire to join, “the lowest number since 2007.” So how can we afford separating from literally tens of thousands of troops we already have? Simple, Johnson says. We can’t.

“Until [Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin] withdraws, delays, or modifies the vax mandate — or begins rapidly granting more exemptions, our military will have to continue lowering recruitment standards — degrading the readiness and professionalism of our Armed Forces.”

If things get much worse, the Democrats’ next bright idea — women in the draft — will be next. Just this week, Republicans sounded the alarm that the push is back on the table, after conservatives won a big victory to strip the text last year. Incredibly, the proposal just reappeared in the latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), thanks to a 20-6 vote in the chamber’s Armed Services Committee this month. “The reality is that if we are a country that actively chooses to forcibly conscript our daughters, we are past the point of salvation,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) fumed in a letter to the leaders of the House Armed Services Committee.

Women in the draft is just part of the duffle bag of radicalism Democrats want to force on our military, but, as Roy argues, it’s by far the most egregious.

“Thousands of women serve admirably in the United States Armed Forces,” Roy wrote, “and I am grateful for their service and sacrifice to our country. But this is not a question of the dedication and willingness of American women to step up and serve their country, but whether we as a country will force the horrors of war upon our wives, our sisters, and our daughters. Under no circumstances should Congress greenlight a future that cripples the American family by sending mothers and daughters to the frontlines — drafted to be combat replacements for casualties on the battlefield — while fathers and sons stay home.”

This is about blurring the lines of gender and deconstructing western civilization as we know it. If people didn’t know any better, Boykin said, they’d think all of this was intentional. “We’re left with the feeling that either the administration doesn’t care or is deliberately destroying the readiness of all the branches of the military.” Given what we’ve seen from this president so far, both explanations seem entirely believable.

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