U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is blasting Joe Biden’s defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, for allowing military leaders to attack a television host, Tucker Carlson, over his opinions.
“The campaign was launched in response to criticisms by Carlson that linked gender-based reforms in the military, which are being justified using the language of social justice, with widely-recognized vulnerabilities and erosions in the military’s warfighting capabilities, including and especially in the context of Great Power competition,” the senator wrote on Sunday.
“Whatever one thinks of the merits of the argument – and I believe there is much to be said against the use of the military for social experimentation, including for those reasons – those are broadly-held concerns that have been the fodder of political controversy and debate for decades.”
Cruz said that in reponse to Carlson’s opinions, several military leaders launched a campaign against the Fox News host that “has alternated between being ostentatiously childish and simply outrageous.”
The Washington Examiner reported the dispute began when Carlson mocked the Pentagon’s effort to design flight suits for female pilots.
Among the reactions was a tweet from retired Col. Dave Lapan, who said, “If Carlson can’t handle criticism of his ill-informed and misogynistic opinions, maybe he should keep them to himself.”
Further, Cruz wrote, “Multiple military leaders have tweeted video of themselves, while in uniform, as they attack Carlson, including the command senior enlisted leader of U.S. Space Command, the Sgt. Major of the Army, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, and the commanding officer of the II Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group.
“Throughout this campaign, military leaders have suggested and insinuated that it is out of bounds for civilians to criticize the military unless they’ve served,” he said.
The senator pointed out the “U.S. military’s subordination to civilian government, including to the American people for whom and by whom the government is selected, is at the core of our Republic and its institutions.”
The military’s attack, he explained, “risks politicizing the military after several centuries of efforts to keep military officials out of domestic affairs, undermining civil-military relations by having the military take a side in a contentious cultural dispute, and the perception that military leaders are happily weaponizing the institution against political critics of the sitting administration.”
That’s “completely unacceptable,” he said.
He noted the official website of the Defense Department contained a statement from Press Secretary John Kirby with the headline “Press Secretary Smites Fox Host That Dissed Diversity in U.S. Military.”
The official Twitter account for the II MEF IG “posted absurd statements insulting Carlson, and which included criticizing Carlson’s age, and then told another private citizen who responded to that attack to ‘come back when you’ve served and been pregnant.'”
“I cannot imagine how any of the above behavior can be explained,” the senator wrote.
“I am deeply concerned about that it portends for the direction that you and President Biden intend to move the military,” he said.
Cruz said he wants a meeting with the Marine Corps commandant to discuss the issue.
And he suggested a policy that prevents “other units from being similarly mobilized against the speech of American citizens or in the service of left wing political causes.”
Carlson criticized the Defense Department for being “more concerned with wokeness than winning the next war.”
Carlson said: “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 said there are “real threats out there” about which the Biden administration should be concerned.
Cruz said it was “inexplicably inappropriate” for the military to “mobilize systematic, public attacks” against Carlson.
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