14:42 – “The military is drawn from the American public but it’s not a broad section of the American public. I am sure you know, the recruiting figures are highest in rural new England, the south, [and] rural west. That is hardly a picture of America, and these troops come in carrying the biases and experiences of where they are raised. I can assure you that military leadership is deeply concerned about the polarization in American politics infecting the ranks. Whether its hard right extremism, racism, misogyny and that is a real concern…” 15:23 The quote above is precisely why recruiting problems are occurring for the US military. From this quote Thom Shanker associates the people from rural New England, the South, and rural West with deeply polarized politics, hard right extremism, racism, and misogyny. From this it is easy to surmise where Thom Shanker sits politically and how he sees the vast majority of enlisted service members. Why would anyone join an organization who despises them because of where they are from even though those very regions are the only places with a long legacy of serving. I am deeply ashamed to have been a service member because all I hear are people like Thom Shanker insinuate that people of my pedigree are any of the things he claims are problems of people from those regions. To all who are thinking about serving do so with great caution because you will be directly serving under people who have no respect for you, your families, or your communities.
I think it would be interesting to interview Eliot A. Cohen and Eric Edelman from the Shield of the Republic podcast. Both Dr Cohen and Ambassador Edelman are deeply entwined with many of the issues that listeners are concerned with and jive with recent topics. Edelman knows more about nuclear policy and decision-making than nearly anyone alive, and Dr Cohen was a graduate school dean at Johns Hopkins SAIS. Both were involved at very high levels with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and remain involved in Republican politics.