Is Sen. Cruz right 'woke, emasculated military is not the best idea'?


Fact Box

  • Ted Cruz has been a Texas Senator since 2013, briefly pausing his term to run for president in 2015, and endorsing Trump for the election, returned to the Senate. He is known for his passion for “limited government, economic growth, and the Constitution.”
  • In recent weeks, the Army has released animated ads telling personal stories of five people who joined the military: 1st Lt. Janeen Phelps, Spc. Jennifer Liriano, 1st Lt. Rickie Plaisir, Cpl. Emma Malonelord, and 1st Lt. David Toguchi. 
  • On Thursday, May 21, 2021, Sen. Cruz tweeted, “Perhaps a woke, emasculated military is not the best idea…” while retweeting a Russian army ad in comparison. 
  • After he was criticized for degrading the military, he responded, “We have the greatest military on earth, but Dem politicians & woke media are trying to turn them into pansies. The new Dem videos are terrible.”
  • In 2019, there was 479,785 military personnel in Army Active Duty and 336,392 in the Army National Guard.
  • China has the world’s largest military totaling 2.2 million with the United States at 1.4 million in 2021.

Heather (Yes)

Senator Cruz is right that 'a woke, emasculated military is not the best idea' because the US military should be presented as both strong and powerful in media ads which both Americans and people worldwide will see. Cruz emphasizes that qualities like the toughness, might, and resolve of the men and women who honorably serve in the US military and defend our nation are what should be showcased in these ads. He makes this point clear when he retweets a Russian ad with an American ad as the basis for his comment. 

Cruz is not attacking the US military, and he has clearly stated that he believes 'We have the greatest military on earth.' In actuality, he is defending our military by calling out a specific recruitment ad that reduces them into cartoon characters that could easily be construed as weakening the perception of our military and turning them into a joke. Ads representing the US military are also not the forum to share controversial personal lifestyle choices that do not represent all Americans and potential recruits who have more traditional values. Instead, these ads are an opportunity to share messages that unify our entire nation and bring us closer together. Cruz is right to want our military to be represented in media ads as being strong and powerful in a patriotic and inspirational way that all Americans can be proud of because that is who our military really is.

Kevin (No)

Sen. Cruz’s comments were based on an ad featuring a soldier telling her story, which included the fact that she was raised by two women. According to a US Army press release, these ads aim to share stories 'that represent the diverse upbringings and life experiences that make up today's Army.' Another release from the Army explains the ads were 'tested to assess their resonance with today's youth.' This is not so much about being 'woke' as it is about appealing to the widest possible range of people for recruitment purposes. As Edward Ongweso Jr. wrote for Vice, no matter how the Army changes its 'branding' to recruit new generations, 'it will still be a deadly and well-equipped cudgel of empire.' And as YouTuber Beau of the Fifth Column also points out, these kinds of practices are not new in the US military. As he put it, 'the DOD desegregated before the South.'

Cruz appears to be holding on to an outdated idea of the traditional 'strong male' picture of what a soldier is supposed to be. Further evidence of this attitude can be seen in previous comments concerning women in the military. This kind of attitude has never truly been justifiable. There are examples from even the ancient world that subvert this perception. However, there is even less justification for such an attitude now, as cyberwarfare and other technological fields have become increasingly important in modern military operations. There is no reason to believe that these new recruitment measures will cause our military to become 'emasculated.'

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