Recent comments from Fox News host Tucker Carlson have started a war of words on Twitter between right-wing media pundits and the U.S. military. Carlson, who also criticized a former military official’s congressional testimony, jabbed at the seriously puzzling priorities he had observed regarding a renewed focus on diversity and wokeness in the armed forces. Carlson criticized the Biden administration’s bizarre push for a more gender-inclusive military reflected in female maternity flight suits, updated body armor and combat uniforms for women, and new hairstyle requirements. Although it is doubtful that such practices would significantly harm America’s military strength, the rhetoric alone seemed to create a firestorm.
As Carlson’s segment circulated across the internet throughout the week, controversy continued to brew. The armed forces’ higher-ups and the military’s social media accounts lambasted Carlson as a sexist for daring to criticize the newfangled priorities of U.S. fighting forces. By the time the debate reached Twitter, trench lines had already formed. Conservatives realized that military command was not filled with as many political allies as they had assumed. Simultaneously, liberals manipulated any criticism of this push for diversity as a direct attack on the armed forces.
Although the policy changes explicitly catering to women can be criticized, the scorched-earth treatment of the military undertaken by some conservatives on Twitter can be rated ridiculous. What is concerning is that official military social media accounts were allowed to directly attack citizens for daring to critique policies being implemented at the direction of the commander-in-chief. Broad characterizations of the military as a “swamp” are not relevant criticisms.
Twitter progressives dogpiled on Carlson for daring to comment because he had never served in the military, as if military service were a requirement to question policies being implemented and promoted by the Department of Defense under President Biden. To be clear, military service neither qualifies nor disqualifies any citizen from voicing concerns over the actions of a military they control.
Carlson’s criticism of the U.S. military came in the wake of reporting that China is encouraging its citizens and military to be more masculine. State-mandated masculinity is an abstract goal that anyone with common sense should find ludicrous. Would Chinese efforts to promote a more “masculine temperament” in recruits undermine America’s military might? Masculinity will make no difference in China’s attempts to close the technological war-power gap with the United States. To characterize the Biden administration’s diversity push in the military as a national security threat may be hyperbolic.
The woke left seems to be courting military leadership to play diversity defense for the Biden administration. At the same time, conservatives lambasting the military’s moves as evidence of complete mission failure may be taking the argument too far. More evidence that when Twitter meddles in partisan politics, the worst of both sides comes out.
Read more from Jose Backer.
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