Top U.S. general hits back at right-wing uproar over racism teachings

Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley DEFENDS teaching critical race theory in the military, slams ‘offensive’ claims troops are turning woke and links ‘white rage’ to the Capitol riot 

  • Milley faced heated questions from Republican House members on Wednesday
  • ‘What is wrong with understanding about the country for which we are here to defend?’ Milley told the Armed Services Committee
  • He also said it was ‘offensive’ to suggest general officers are becoming ‘woke’
  • The general appeared to link ‘white rage’ to the Capitol riot on January 6
  • Milley also said ‘reading Mao Zedong and Lenin’ doesn’t make him a communist 
  • GOP. Rep Michael Waltz produced a document about teaching critical race theory at West Point
  • Comes a week after a Navy Admiral was grilled over the inclusion of  How To Be An Antiracist on a recommended reading list for sailors

The United States’ top military officer on Wednesday hit back against growing criticism over teaching critical race theory in the military and said recruits should be ‘open-minded and be widely read.’

Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was grilled by Republican Congressmen over claims the US military is becoming more ‘woke’.

He did not endorse critical race theory but strongly condemned those who say it shouldn’t be taught.

‘What is wrong with understanding – having some situational understanding – about the country for which we are here to defend?’ Milley asked before the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.

‘And I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our commissioned and noncommissioned officers, of being, “woke” or something else, because we’re studying some theories that are out there.’

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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley hit back against growing criticism over teaching critical race theory in the military and said recruits should be ‘open-minded and be widely read’

The general stressed the need for greater understanding of the driving forces behind the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by former President Donald Trump’s supporters, including white supremacists, who tried to stop Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s election win.

‘I want to understand white rage, and I’m white and I want to understand it,’ Milley said.

‘What is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out. I want to maintain an open mind here.’

He was responding after a Republican, U.S. Representative Michael Waltz, a former Army Green Beret, produced a letter from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point acknowledging teaching about critical race theory.

The theory maintains that racism is ingrained in U.S. law and institutions and that legacies of slavery and segregation have created an uneven playing field for Black Americans.

Controversy surrounding the theory has mushroomed into a national debate over how – and which version of – U.S. history is taught in schools.

‘This came to me from cadets, from families, from soldiers, with their alarm, with their concern, about how divisive this teaching is,’ Waltz said, adding it was rooted in Marxism.

Milley tried to respond to Waltz directly but only got the opportunity later, when a Democratic lawmaker gave him a chance.

He noted that university graduates should be aware of all kinds of theories and that just because he read about Marxism didn’t make him a Communist.

‘I’ve read Mao Zedong. I’ve read Karl Marx. I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a communist, he told the lawmakers.

‘I do think it’s important, actually, for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read,’ Milley said.

Milley’s comments came a week after Navy admiral faced tough grilling from Republican lawmakers on his inclusion of the controversial book How To Be An Antiracist on a recommended reading list for sailors.

Admiral Mike Gilday, the chief of Naval operations, stood his ground at Tuesday’s House Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, defending the book’s inclusion on the list.

The general stressed the need for greater understanding of the driving forces behind the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by former President Donald Trump’s supporters, including white supremacists, who tried to stop Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s election win. ‘I want to understand white rage, and I’m white and I want to understand it,’ Milley said

GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz was one of the lawmakers who questioned Milley over the teaching of critical race theory in the military 

Gilday added the 2019 book by Ibram X. Kendi, which is popular with proponents of critical race theory, to the Navy’s optional reading checklist in February, listing it as a ‘foundational’ work for sailors. 

Kendi’s book proposes that any system that produces different average outcomes for people of different skin colors is racist and should be destroyed, and argues that discrimination that ‘creates equity’ is antiracist and should be lauded. 

At the hearing, which was ostensibly on the Navy’s budget, questions from Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Republican, who cited passages in Kendi’s book arguing that only ‘present discrimination’ can make up for ‘past discrimination’.

‘How does exposing our sailors to the idea that they are either oppressors or oppressed, and that we must actively discriminate in order to make up for past discrimination, improve our Navy’s readiness and lethality?’ Lamborn asked.

‘You mentioned critical race theory — I’m not a theorist, I’m the chief of Naval operations,’ Gilday responded.

‘There is racism in the Navy just like there’s racism in our country, and the way we’re going to get after it is to be honest about it, not to sweep it under the rug, and talk about it,’ he said.

Admiral Mike Gilday, the chief of Naval operations, stood his ground last Tuesday’s House Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill when he was questioned on his inclusion of the controversial book How To Be An Antiracist on a recommended reading list for sailors

‘It doesn’t mean I have any expectation that everybody believe, or support, everything that Mr. Kendi states in his book. I don’t support everything that Kendi says. The key thing is that sailors have to be able to think critically,’ Gilday argued.  

Rep. Jim Banks, an Indiana Republican, also lashed out at Gilday, contrasting his reading list choice with the Navy’s recent vow to root out any ‘extremism’ in the ranks.

The 2019 book is popular with proponents of critical race theory

‘Do you consider opposition to interracial adoption an extremist belief?’ Banks asked, referring to Kendi’s September 2020 tweet suggesting Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett is a ‘white colonizer’ for adopting two Haitian children.

Gilday’s mic was off, making his response unclear, but Banks pressed on. 

‘Do you personally consider advocating for the destruction of American capitalism to be extremist?’ Banks asked, referring to Kendi’s assertion that capitalism and racism are ‘conjoined twins’ that must be eliminated together to root out racism. 

Gilday fired back: ‘I’m not forcing anybody to read the book, it’s on a recommended reading list.’

Pressed by Banks on whether he supported Kendi’s controversial views, Gilday went on: ‘I’d have to consider the context of the statement he made, I’m not going to sit here and defend cherry-picked quotes from somebody’s book.’

‘This is a bigger issue than Kendi’s book, what this is really about is trying to to paint the United States military, and the United States Navy as weak, as woke,’ Gilday said. ‘We are not weak, we are strong.’

Last month, Republican Senator reignited the attack against the ‘woke’ military by sharing a U.S. Army recruiting video that told the story of how a ‘little girl raised by two moms’ grew up to become a soldier.

The Texas senator triggered online fury after questioning the role of what he called an ’emasculated military’ and comparing it with a video that appeared to show a rugged, shaven-headed Russian recruit parachuting into combat.

‘The job of the military is to kill the bad guys. And it is to strike fear in the enemies of America,’ he told Fox News as he defended himself from accusations that he was unloading on serving U.S. troops.

‘People sign up to join the military because they want to keep us safe, they don’t want to sit around a circle, emoting and passing daisies back and forth.’

His comments highlight fears America’s armed forces are being softened by ‘woke’ principles and follows similar criticism of a CIA advert. 

The advertising campaign shows an animated Corporal Emma Malonelord (pictured) attending a gay rights parade in a video that sparked a row about the future of the American military. Sen. Ted Cruz said it showed how Democrats and the ‘woke media’ were turning soldiers into ‘pansies’ in comments that triggered accusations that he was trolling America’s troops

The new Army ad shows Corporal Emma Malonelord’s mothers getting married after one suffered serious injuries following a car accident 

In contrast, the Russian video shows a bare chested recruit leaping from his bed, working out and then leaping from a plane with a parachute

The Russian soldier is shown taking up a prone firing position, staring down his rifle scope in wintry, arctic conditions

The latest controversy features an American video telling the story of Cpl. Emma Malonelord, a serving soldier who describes how she came to choose a life in the military.

The colorful, animated recruiting video describ es how she defended freedom by attending LGBTQ marches and grew up to join the U.S. Army.

It achieved notoriety when Cruz tweeted out a TikTok clip, that opened with the Russian soldier leaping out of a plane before cutting to the animated story of Malonelord.  

‘Holy crap,’ he wrote in a tweet.

‘Perhaps a woke, emasculated military is not the best idea….’ 

Cruz’s words quickly went viral, unleashing an angry torrent of accusations that he was trolling his own country’s American armed forces and had been suckered by an adversary’s propaganda.

And veterans expressed fury that he could criticise the Army and target a real-life serving soldier. 

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