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“You are a shame for what it means to serve in the military at any rank.” Gorka said on Newsmax TV of the soldier, Cpl. Emma Malonelord calls her by name.
Republicans have a long history of touting their support for the armed forces by showing Americans Flags and active duty members in campaign videos to advocate higher defense spending in Congress. But the Pentagon’s recent surge in diversity has enraged conservatives who accuse civilian and uniformed leaders of focusing on political correctness to the detriment of willingness.
Experts said Conservatives are using the policy changes as a club to attack Biden.
“Politicians like Senator Cruz are shamefully trying to drag the military into culture wars, which are terrible for the cohesion of our military. Cohesion and engagement are what wins wars, and these attacks damage them, ”said Kori Schake, director of foreign and defense policy at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.
However, she noted that the new Pentagon leadership “talks so much about social issues and so little about fighting and winning wars – the reason we actually have a military – leaves room for politicians like Sen. Cruz”.
The latest turmoil comes as Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin focused on rooting out extremism and increasing diversity in the military, a priority for President Joe Biden’s administration. Austin’s new mandate that troops a Diversity and Inclusion Training Program was a particular source of ridicule, along with his previous attempt to end the last government’s ban on transgender troops.
“Most of the generals quoted in the press appear to be more committed to achieving a counterproductive diversity goal – recruiting more pregnant Air Force pilots and assembling the world’s first transgender SEAL team – than defending the United States,” said Carlson this week.
Carlson also mocked Austin for working on tackling climate change, another of Biden’s priorities.
“This nation’s greatest enemy, the newly announced Secretary of Defense, is the weather itself,” he said, although previous leaders have also cited climate change as the greatest threat.
The Pentagon has rolled back previous Conservative attacks, particularly in March after Carlson ridiculed pregnant women in the armed forces and suggested that the US military is weak compared to China because it is becoming “more feminine”.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby took the unusual step of breaking into Carlson before reporters, saying that Austin expressed “disgust” at the remarks.
“What we are absolutely not going to do is get staff advice from a talk show host or the Chinese military,” said Kirby. “Maybe these people feel like they are proving something. It’s up to them. “
Other military leaders also fired back, tweets and videos in support of women in the military.
Cruz responded with a letter to Austin call the kirby Declaration and other military responses “Far below the dignity of the US military.”
The controversy over Carlson’s criticism and the military’s response to it has also landed on trial. The conservative surveillance group Judicial Watch sued the Pentagon last week for emails between Austin and Gens. Mark Milley and John Hyten using the terms “Tucker Carlson” and / or “Fox News”.
The lawsuit comes after the group filed an internal communications motion under the Freedom of Information Act in March.
“We are deeply concerned about the illegal secrecy by the Pentagon regarding its coordinated attacks on Tucker Carlson’s First Amendment speech,” said the group. “In summary, we asked the Pentagon to search two weeks worth of email in three accounts with two keywords. And they bricked up. “
Pentagon spokesman Jamal Brown said this week, “We are aware of the FOIA request and will respond appropriately.”
Despite the Department of Defense’s strong response in March, it is unclear whether the Pentagon will hit back critics after this recent wave of criticism or wait for it to be over. A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment.
But a defense official said the base was tired of both parties using the military score political points. The military is apolitical and must remain so, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the subject.
“Do not use an apolitical national security tool for national election games,” the person said. “Sure, we are a microcosm of society. But politics cannot play with that. “
The Conservatives made the decision this week to exonerate the Space Forces commander, Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier, after commenting on military diversity training.
“The diversity, inclusion and justice industry, as well as the training we receive in the military … are rooted in critical racial theory rooted in Marxism,” he said on a podcast. Military.com reported.
Prominent lawmakers, already clear on whether the military would go too far in monitoring opinions by focusing on extremism in the ranks, warned that the environment would become increasingly politicized out of hand.
“Freedom of expression is one of the core tenets of our country, and right now our military’s careers are at risk if they dare to be conservative,” House Armed Services Committee MP Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) Told Fox News on Thursday. “This culture of abandonment is spiraling out of control and invading every aspect of American life.”
Senator Roger Wicker, a Republican from Mississippi, sent Austin a letter Thursday calling on the Department of Defense to publicly explain the reasons for Lohmeier’s dismissal.
“As a member of the Armed Forces Committee, I am determined to prevent this cancerous ideology from corrupting the world’s greatest armed force.” Wicker wrote to Austin. “I urge you to recognize the damage and division of our armed forces and to commit to uprooting un-Americans [critical race theory] Activism from our US military. “
Conservatives, including Gorka, also rolled back this week on the new series of army recruitment commercials to reach out to potential recruits from all backgrounds. In one of these, Malonelord, the army sergeant, talks about her childhood, taking ballet and marching for equality with her two mothers. Another ad shows a lieutenant who immigrated to Florida from Haiti as a child.
Cruz on Thursday retweeted a video comparing ads on Russian military propaganda with Buff soldiers training, shooting rifles and jumping out of airplanes. He wrote that the US Army’s new videos were “terrible” and accused the Liberal Democrats and the media of turning “the world’s greatest military” into “pansies”.
A Cruz spokeswoman Erin Perrine added that national security and the military would be at risk if troops “focus on everything else” except winning wars.
“Sen. Cruz is a passionate supporter of the brave men and women of the US military and has repeatedly raised concerns that democratic politicians, left-wing bureaucrats, and the media are politicizing our armed forces to promote an identity-based rand-woke agenda,” said Perrine said in a statement.
Heidi Urben, a retired army colonel who specializes in civil-military relations, said Cruz’s allegations harm the military’s efforts to stay out of the political struggle.
“I found Sen. Cruz’s follow-up tweet attempting to claim he hadn’t attacked the military as problematic as his original one, when he claimed the politician and bright media were trying to turn around [the military] in pansies, “said Urben, who now teaches at Georgetown University.
“By calling the army recruitment videos ‘dem videos’, he follows the trend of politicians using the military as partisan football – attacking the military when it is perceived as being against their partisan stance and praising it when it appears a fellow party, “she said. “Such comments aim to divide the military – a non-partisan institution – and the perception of the military by the public.”
Major General Alex Fink, director of army marketing, defended the video series, saying the army’s success “depends on our ability to attract the best and brightest our country has to offer, including soldiers from all walks of life.”
“Our new ‘The Calling’ campaign is an important step in targeting the next generation – Gen Z – and bridging the relativity gap that exists today by offering a rare look at the lives and motivations of those who serve, “said Fick. “We are proud of all five soldiers who volunteered to tell their stories as part of this campaign, and the army is proud to have them in its ranks.”
Fears that the Pentagon is trying to purge Conservatives go well beyond the far right, and even some establishment Republican lawmakers are trying to address the issue in upcoming defense legislation.
Senior Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, said this week that he wanted to see the issue in the panel’s defense policy bill. He urged Republicans and “speech-free Democrats” to work with him to work out laws that, in his opinion, stem from silencing conservative voices and punishing troops for their political leanings.
“The United States Armed Forces should focus on preparing to fight and win battles against the threats posed by China and other foreign adversaries, and not impose political beliefs on those who choose to serve in uniform,” said Rogers.
“My Republican colleagues and I regularly hear from active and retired service members that even conservative values are now enough to jeopardize a soldier’s military career,” added Rogers.
While Rogers has not given specific details on what that legislation might look like, the debate could turn into a marquee partisan fight in defense legislation that likely needs at least some GOP support to get past a tightly divided house.
And Rep. Mike Gallagher, the new top Republican on the Armed Forces panel overseeing military personnel issues, signaled that he would take a hard line on the matter. In a statement announcing his appointment this week, Gallagher, a Navy veteran, quoted the Marine Corps doctrine that the two basic functions of the military are “to wage war and prepare for war.”
“I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure the department is focused on performing these functions and training our service members to be warriors, not wokesters,” said Gallagher.
Bryan Bender contributed to this report.