By now, the American public is painfully familiar with the “Gulag Archi-capitol” that was once the seat of a generally rational U.S. government. The image of chain-link fencing with concertina wire is more a political statement than a safety and security necessity. Fortress D.C. prompts the legitimate question put forward by Leesa K. Donner in her Liberty Nation article “So, What’s With All the National Guard Still in D.C.?”
The inauguration of Joe Biden came and went without a peep of protest. The highly publicized resurgence of angry right-wing mobs coming to Washington to do violence also was a non-event. There was no angry mob, and as best anyone could tell, there weren’t even slightly irritated groups of any stripe. Yet the National Guard remains 5,000 strong in the capital.
The cynic would say the Guard fulfills a useful political purpose by reinforcing the left’s political narrative that right-wing extremists are at the gate, spurred on by conservatives. Liberals seem to believe the real threat to America is the ghost-extremist mob.
Recently, however, the Department of Defense made its own foray into political partisanship. The Pentagon reacted with a knee-jerk, panties-in-a-bunch attack on Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson over his pointing out the obvious. Carlson opened his show with a commentary on the fact that the Chinese now have surpassed the United States in number of combat ships while Biden saluted the Defense Department’s efforts to support women in the military. The president explained:
“Good progress designing body armor that fits women properly, tailoring combat uniforms for women, creating maternity flight suits, updating requirements for their hairstyles. And some of it is going to take, and, ah, you know, an intensity of purpose and mission to really change the culture and habits that cause women to leave the military.”
Now, the commander in chief could have mentioned any number of ways the Defense Department is improving how military women contribute to the mission. He did not. Reacting to what the president said, Carlson suggested that the misplaced priorities of the Biden administration and the Defense Department leadership made a “mockery” of the military. Carlson observed:
“So, we’ve got new hairstyles, maternity flight suits. Pregnant women are going to fight our wars. It’s a mockery of the U.S. military. While China’s military becomes more masculine, as it’s assembled the world’s largest navy … Again, this is a mockery of the U.S. military and its core mission which is winning wars.”
The U.S. military leadership immediately went on the defense, touting media headlines like: “Military leaders target Tucker Carlson after Fox News host calls pregnant solders a ‘mockery.'” But Carlson said no such thing. Nonetheless, laagering the wagons and suiting up, the Pentagon flack, Public Affairs chief John Kirby, led the charge at a March 11 press conference. Without being asked the question, Kirby felt obligated to defend women in the military, declaring, “What we absolutely won’t do is take personnel advice from a talk show host …” Then all manner of gratuitous outrage emerged in the Twitter-world.
Representative Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), never shy, tweeted: “F*%k Tucker Carlson.” While we’ve come to expect this intellectually challenged invective from the left, the comments from the uniformed military were disturbing.
For example, Master Gunnery Sergeant Stalker, USMC, U.S. Space Command, Command Senior Enlisted Leader, tweeted:
“… I watched a clip that Mr. Carlson produced as he referred to pregnant women in the military, I’ll remind everyone that his opinion which he has a right to is based off of actually zero days of service in the Armed Forces … let’s remember that those opinions were made by an individual who has never served a day in his life.”
This point of view is troubling. Only those who have served in the military can be critical of, or have an opinion different from, the Defense Department? The commander in chief never served “a day in his life” in the military. Leon Shane III, in his article in Military Times, noted that 361 members of the House of Representatives and 83 of 100 senators haven’t either. Gunny Stalker, you do have to listen to them.
In a recent edition of The Federalist, Patrick Swan, a former military public affairs professional, remarked in his article “The U.S. Military Just Became a Political Attack Machine Against Joe Biden’s Opponents,” about Kirby’s comments: “It is unseemly, of course, for a DoD spokesman to so venomously misrepresent what an opinion journalist said and then to question why the journalist dared to say it.”
Swan made an effective and compelling case that military leadership is carrying the Biden administration’s political water.
To the credit of the U.S. Marine Corps, the UK’s Daily Mail.com reported that II Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group offered an apology for tweets “lacking professionalism.” As the Corps said in its mea culpa, “We are human, and we messed up.” The apology came after Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) criticized the Marines for “launching political attacks to intimidate Tucker Carlson and other civilians who criticize their policy decisions.”
So, while the Defense Department is in a defensive crouch, it’s worth remembering that Biden, during a visit in 2016 to troops in combat, said to the assembled soldiers: “Clap for that, you stupid bastards … Man, you are a dull bunch.”
Joking or not, that sounds more offensive than what Carlson didn’t say — politically speaking, of course.
The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.
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