The military’s top officer on Wednesday pushed back against GOP lawmakers who said the Pentagon’s efforts to combat racism and promote diversity have made the armed forces too “woke.”
Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley gave a fiery defense of open-mindedness in the ranks during a House Armed Services hearing, saying he’s offended at the accusation that those efforts have undercut the military’s mission and cohesiveness.
Milley, who was testifying alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at a hearing on the defense budget, was responding to a pair of Republican lawmakers arguing the Pentagon had embraced critical race theory, such as its inclusion in some courses at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
“I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military … of being ‘woke’ or something else because we’re studying some theories that are out there,” Milley said.
The four-star general told lawmakers that service members should be “open-minded and be widely read” because service members “come from the American people” and said he wanted to better understand racism as well as the climate that led to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
“I want to understand white rage — and I’m white,” Milley told lawmakers “What is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America?
“I’ve read Mao Tse Tung. I’ve read Karl Marx. I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a communist,” Milley continued. “So what is wrong with understanding, having some situational understanding about the country for which we are here to defend?” [Continue reading…]