On Monday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson had some words to say about the Biden administration after President Joe Biden pledged to bring an “intensity of purpose and mission to really change the culture and habits,” of the U.S. military.
After Carlson jabbed the Biden administration’s Defense Department for being “more concerned with wokeness than winning the next war,” the Pentagon showed how hard it could strike back with a news release aimed at Carlson.
Carlson was also publicly rebuked for exercising his comments about the president by Master Gunnery Sgt. Scott Stalker, the senior enlisted leader of the U.S. Space Command, who took to Twitter to declaim that “his opinion, that he has a right to, is based off zero days in the armed forces.”
“The bottom line is that we value women in our armed forces, we value those that have served in the past and those that serve today. We value our families in the military,” Stalker said.
— U.S. Space Command, Command Senior Enlisted Leader (@US_SpaceComCSEL) March 11, 2021
“Let’s remember that those opinions were made by an individual who has never served a day in his life,” he added.
The tweet came after a release in which Pentagon press secretary and retired Adm. John F. Kirby alleged, “a Fox cable show host used his show to denigrate the contributions of women in the military and to say the Chinese military is catching up to the U.S. military because it does not allow women to serve in the percentage the United States does.”
The release called Carlson’s comments “insults to the entire U.S. military.”
A transcript of the briefing upon which the release was based showed that Kirby was asked about Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s reaction to Carlson’s comments, which characterized Austin as “openly political” and more concerned with the optics of diversity than the lethality of his troops.
“The secretary certainly shares the revulsion of so many others to what Mr. Carlson said in his opening statement,” Kirby said.
When asked whether the military might try to boot Carlson off of Armed Forces Network, Kirby replied that “by instruction, we are required to broadcast and to make available for men and women and their families overseas the same type of content — news, information, and sports content — that their fellow citizens can get, so his show is aired on AFN.”
Some thought the military’s reaction was over the top:
Why does the Pentagon suddenly have the vapors? It’s over this Tucker Carlson segment where he reveals how China promotes masculinity in their military while the U.S. military is going woke.
Their hissy fit proves Tucker’s point. pic.twitter.com/ofbGal6dsn
— Tim Xeriland (@Xeriland) March 14, 2021
The US hasn’t been able to decisively win a single war since 2001, yet here go some career clowns at the Pentagon trying to refute Tucker Carlson with their “credentials.”
Seems like Tucker is asking the right questions, and the Military Industrial Complex is livid.
— Vince Dao (@thevincedao) March 13, 2021
So what exactly did Carlson say?
He began with a riff on comments Biden had made about the dire need for maternity flight suits, “not because we have some hateful bias against pregnant women flying military jets.”
The point, Carlson said, was that “[i]dentity politics is Joe Biden’s priority. It’s all that matters.”
Carlson framed the Pentagon’s decision under a Biden executive order allowing transgender service members “to take steps to transition gender while serving” as “another volley in the culture war.”
Carlson noted that in his world, “the U.S. military exists to fight and win wars. That is its only purpose. The U.S. military is not an NGO [non-governmental organization]. It is not a vehicle for achieving equity. It is not a social experiment. It’s definitely not an employment agency. Nobody has a God-given right to work in the military. If you ever hear this show whine that Delta Force is discriminating against paunchy, 51-year-old cable news hosts, you’ll know we’ve lost the thread. It’s not about us, it’s about the country. Making people feel valued and included is a good thing, but it is not the point of the U.S. military. It cannot be the point of the U.S. military, or else we’re done.”
Carlson then ripped into Austin, a retired general who was on the board of the weapons maker Raytheon Corp. and the investment firm Pine Island Capital before being selected as the first black defense secretary, according to The New York Times.
“Biden plucked Austin from the cynical world of private equity, but you’re not supposed to notice that. You’re supposed to notice only that Lloyd Austin is black,” Carlson said.
After launching his reign with what Carlson called “a kind of political purity test,” Austin then “set about accelerating poisonous trends already in progress at the Pentagon, the worst of these being the use of irrelevant criteria in hiring and promotion.”
Carlson pushed back against the line that only those who have served a right to an opinion on military policy.
“Really? Can only cops talk about police brutality? If you haven’t been elected to office, can you criticize Congress? They’re not making a real argument. They’re trying to silence dissent. We’re not playing along, sorry. Every American citizen has a right, maybe an obligation, to know what the military they pay for is doing because our lives may depend on it,” he said.
But Carlson said the issue is not the Pentagon focusing on its critics, it is its lack of focus elsewhere.
“Meanwhile, as Lloyd Austin hyperventilates about white supremacy, there are real threats out there, and the biggest ones continue to be ignored. Those threats aren’t in Syria or suburban Virginia, and they’re not domestic extremism, at least not right now. The main threat we face, as everyone who is honest knows, is the government of China,” he said, posing the question of whether, if China attacked Taiwan, the Biden-era military could win a war.
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