What the right’s war on ‘wokeness’ in the military is really about

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by Paul Waldman,

from The Washington Post,

Congress just gave the military a staggering $858 billion for the coming year; if there’s one thing the two parties agree on, it’s that we should shovel as much money as possible at the Pentagon. Nevertheless, Republicans are convinced that the military is being rapidly destroyed from the inside by “wokeness,” a catchall term that refers to any development related to a social issue that conservatives don’t like.
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The evidence they present for this alleged crisis is comically weak. But this isn’t about evidence, or the actual nature of warfighting in the 21st century. It’s about discomfort with modern society, deep insecurities about the changing nature of manhood, and an impulse to delegitimize institutions, even those conservatives used to revere.

“These Are The Top 7 Times The Military Went Woke In 2022,” trumpets the Daily Caller website, lamenting developments such as the removal of Confederate names from buildings. The Wall Street Journal editorial board breathlessly exposes “woke training” manuals in the Pentagon, while admitting it’s unclear who actually has to undergo this training.

Prominent conservatives regularly complain that the military is becoming “emasculated.” A GOP lawmaker expresses his outrage about a West Point course on “white rage,” even though there’s no such course. The fantastical picture they’re trying to paint is one of a military that looks more like the gender studies department at Oberlin College than what it actually is — our enormous and sprawling machinery of war.

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