Comedian Bill Maher told his HBO "Real Time with Bill Maher" audience Friday that the U.S. military is finding it difficult to recruit soldiers because Americans are getting "too fat to fight," thanks in part to the "body positivity" culture of "woke" social justice warriors.
"It's literally a national security issue now," Maher said. "Military recruitment is down by the most since the end of the draft because mainly 17- to 24-year-olds are too fat to fight."
According to a New York Times article from September 2019, about 1 in 5 U.S. Navy sailors qualified as being "obese," leading that branch of the service to curtail fried food and sugary drinks on its ships.
"Obesity negatively impacts physical performance and military readiness and is associated with long-term health problems such as hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer and risk for all-cause mortality,” the Defense Department’s Medical Surveillance Monthly Report said in August of that year.
Along with the COVID-19 pandemic and its related vaccine mandates, all branches of the service are seeing a recruiting shortfall this year, with the U.S. Army reaching only 66% of its annual fiscal year goal, ending in September, and the Navy reaching 89% of its goal, Politico reported in July.
The U.S. Marines were the only branch to reach its goal, attracting 111% of its recruiting target, the report said.
"We are on the cusp of a military recruiting crisis," Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., told Politico, citing COVID-19, obesity among would-be recruits, competition from the healthy civilian labor market and an overall low interest in serving. "When Republicans take control of Congress in a few months," he added, "averting the recruiting crisis will be a top priority of the Military Personnel Subcommittee."
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Gallagher is the top Republican on the House Armed Services’ subpanel, the news outlet reported.
In addition to other factors, the report said that 11% of potential recruits are "disqualified" from serving for being overweight.
"Thoughtful leaders should humbly consider all possibilities as contributing to this difficult recruiting environment and be flexible and innovative in meeting the moment," Mackenzie Eaglen, an expert with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, told the publication. "There are no indications numbers are going to improve during the last two months of the recruiting fiscal year. More honesty and drastic actions may be the only solutions."
Maher said that the push for obesity "acceptance" is like enabling an addict.
"And if you are, in any way, participating in this celebration of gluttony that goes on now, you have blood on your hands," he said. "Full stop."
By Charles Kim