For my 26th birthday on June 26, 2000, I got something that is to this day one of my most prized possessions: a certificate stating I’d successfully completed the Naval Special Warfare (SEAL) scout sniper program. The signature on that certificate reads “Captain William H. McRaven.” Captain McRaven was on hand to officiate.

Fourteen years later, McRaven, now a four-star admiral, delivered the commencement address at the University of Texas, in a widely circulated speech titled If You Want to Change the World. In it, he talks of 10 lessons he learned in the course of SEAL training that could turn into behaviors to change the world. The first is this: Every morning, make your bed.

His point? If I look through your bedroom and poke around your kitchen, I don’t need to see your performance record, because I already have a pretty good idea of what kind of shape you’re in.

This is the man who organized and executed Operation Neptune’s Spear, the Spec Ops mission that killed Osama bin Laden. A month after giving that address, he was appointed commander of SOCOM, the entire U.S. Special Operations Command. When this guy talks about changing the world, he’s not just making noise. (The whole speech is worth watching. Just search “McRaven make your bed.”)

My hope is that hearing the important stories of Modern Warriors will encourage voting Americans and modern politicos to think twice when it comes to how the U.S. fights its future wars. History may be written by academics, but it is the modern warrior who makes that history and does the living and dying within it.

I think about my own time in Afghanistan early in 2001. My deployment in 2001 had a purpose; after 2003 I didn’t see much purpose to America staying an additional 20 years.

What did we accomplish strategically for America in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars? Nothing noteworthy, I’d say.

Former Navy SEAL, and SOFREP MEDIA CEO Brandon Webb far right. Navy SEAL, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy third from right. (Courtesy of author)

I’ve told the story before. About my dinner with a room full of defense sector executives and former General Counsel for the U.S. Air Force Mary Walker, who, when I asked her what we really hoped to accomplish in Afghanistan in 2011, gave the honest answer of “I’m not sure.”

Years later and it’s the same in DC, and that’s why we need to hear from the modern warriors on Peter’s show now more than ever.

I’m grateful that FOX Nation is giving veterans a platform to tell their stories because America needs to hear front-line perspectives from the men and women who’ve shouldered the burden of its longest-fought war.

These stories need to be told and I hope America has the courage to listen.


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This article was originally published in May 2021.