The Spirit of the U.S. Army

So, in our last podcast I talked about the Army’s so-called “spiritual fitness test,” also apparently known as the Global Assessment Tool / Soldier Fitness Tracker. Unfortunately, my source for info was a little hazy, so I took to the Google-web to try to find more. That’s where I found this site which had these screen-caps of the test itself:

 Don't worry- we're totally qualified to assess your spirit... we're the Army!
 Fitness is very important to an army…

As far as I’m concerned, this represents a whole shit-load of what is wrong with how our society treats religion. It is so revered that when a link is established between lack of religiosity and soldier suicides, nobody bothers to ask why. They just assume that religion itself is the answer, and then red-flag anyone who doesn’t have religion. They completely ignore the fact that, while they have established a relationship between religious practice and not-killing-self, they’re nowhere near demonstrating a causal relationship.

Why is that so important? Because, among MANY other reasons, they’re missing a huge opportunity. HUGE! If they took half the money they’re putting into this ridiculous “fitness” evaluation, and actually looked for what, exactly, was the root cause of the added resilience religious soldiers seem to have, my guess is that they would have some very interesting data on their hands. Data that could possibly be used to design programs that could be useful to all soldiers, not just the ones with extra Jesus.

But that’s not what the U.S. Military wants. They don’t want to be in the business of safeguarding their soldiers’ psychological well-being. They just want to create automatons who won’t embarrass them later by doing something stupid like having mental health issues or killing themselves. They want to make killing machines who won’t think too much about what they’re doing. They want order-followers.

So they evaluate “spiritual fitness” in the hopes of weeding out those who won’t off themselves, rather than creating well-balanced, emotionally ready soldiers. And the suicide numbers go up… and the cycle keeps right on a-cycling.

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