Army vet faults Democrats for ‘painful’ decline in US military recruits not America’s youth

The U.S. military is facing a recruitment crisis, and one Army vet says it’s the Democrats — not young Americans — who are to blame.

(Video: Fox News)

As BizPac Review reported, the Pentagon warned Congress last week that America’s fighting force heading into 2024 is the smallest it has been since before World War II

Speaking before the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, Ashish Vazirani, the Pentagon’s acting undersecretary for personnel and readiness, revealed that “the All-Volunteer Force faces the greatest challenge since its inception.”

“In Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, the Military Services collectively missed our recruiting goals by approximately 41,000 recruits, and that number understates the challenge before us as the Services lowered end-strength goals in recent years in part because of the difficult recruiting environment,” Vazirani told lawmakers.

He pointed to America’s youth, telling the committee that “members of Generation Z—and especially young adults aged 18 to 26—have low trust in many institutions, ranging from government to the media to large companies.”

What’s more, while “the end of conscription ended a divisive era in America and fostered the most capable military the world has known, it also set in motion a decades-long shift in who serves in the U.S. military,” he said. “For example, in 1995, 40% of U.S. youth ages 16 to 24 had a parent who served in the military. But by 2022, only 12% had a parent who served.”

Army vet and former NFL player Jake Bequette isn’t quite as quick to lay the blame on young Americans, calling the decline in new recruits “painful.”

“It is very painful to see,” Bequette told Fox News’s Martha MacCallum on Monday’s episode of “The Story.”

“Really, I wouldn’t lay a lot of the blame on America’s youth,” he said, though he noted, “there’s some problems there.”

Instead of blaming the kids, Bequette suggested that the Pentagon should be looking at the left.

“We’ve seen for many years prominent Democrats and people on the left really downgrading and insulting, frankly, people from middle America,” he said. “You know, from Hillary Clinton calling them ‘deplorables’ to Joe Biden calling them ‘MAGA Americans’.”

“Those people from red states, rural states, good old boys from Arkansas, my home state — those are the people who do a lot of the bleeding and sweating and living and dying in the U.S. military over the many generations of our proud military history,” the former Arkansas Senate candidate explained. “You know, when you see so many prominent people in our government really denigrating those people, it should come as no surprise to see those people, especially the muti-generational military families that you referenced, choosing different career paths. It’s hard to make up for that gap with an all-volunteer force.”

After viewing a TikTok video MacCallum played of Army recruits claiming they joined up because they hated themselves, Bequette said that “just shows the low morale of the force under this current administration.”

Education, he said, plays an important role in sparking the urge to serve.

“One of the reasons why I joined the military, I have such a great respect for this country’s history and the great American patriots over the generations who have answered the call,” Bequette told MacCallum. “You referenced World War II. I love the American Revolution history — George Washington, first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen. And our education system today, so few young people are hearing that history.”

“They’re hearing our American heroes being represented as evil racists and people that were doing all of these terrible things to disadvantaged people,” he continued. “And that really is shaping the views of America’s youth and making them have less respect for our institutions, have less respect for our history, and, therefore, making them less liable to want to put their lives potentially on the line to serve in our country’s military.”

“That really has to change,” he stressed, “if we’re going to restore the integrity and the numerical force of our all-volunteer military.”

Melissa Fine

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