Just a few days before the 2022 midterm elections, Sen. Josh Hawley tried to rally GOP voters in Arizona with a curious message. “We’ve got a military that is more interested in pronouns than winning wars,” the Missouri Republican complained.
It echoed related rhetoric from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who last year encouraged Americans not to enlist in the U.S. military, saying it’s like “throwing your life away.” The Georgia Republican added that she believes military training is too “woke.”
Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida, a Republican member of the House Armed Services Committee, tried to be more specific, claiming that he had received complaints about a course at West Point titled, “Understanding your whiteness and white rage.” The congressman further alleged that the class was “taught by a woman who described the Republican Party platform as a platform of white supremacy.”
We later learned that there was no such course and the classroom instruction Waltz referenced did not exist.
Nevertheless, after the midterms, future House Speaker Kevin McCarthy stuck to the party line, complaining, “I’ve watched what the Democrats have done in many of these, especially in the [National Defense Authorization Act] and the ‘woke-ism’ that they want to bring in there.”
On Saturday, Donald Trump headlined an event in New Hampshire, where he took this rhetorical line a little further. Forbes magazine reported:
He ... went after Biden’s controversial withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in 2021, arguing, “we have a woke military that can’t fight or win, as proven in Afghanistan.”
Historians can speak to this with more authority than I can, but I’m not aware of any modern examples of a former American president — by some measures, the front-runner for the Republican Party’s 2024 nomination — publicly declaring that the United States’ armed forces are incapable of fighting or winning.
Alas, it fits into a larger pattern in which Trump has publicly disparaged military service, mocked prisoners of war and even downplayed the importance of injured troops.
But stepping back and taking stock of the larger context, why in the world are so many Republicans preoccupied with criticizing their own country’s military? The Washington Post’s Paul Waldman recently explained the problem well:
So here’s the truth: The military has indeed changed, because American society has changed, and so has the nature of modern warfare. Our military needs not just guys with big muscles, but people with a wide variety of skills and knowledge. To be maximally effective, it can’t deprive itself of the talents of large swaths of the population. But conservatives — especially those whose ideas about war come mostly from the movies — don’t like many of those changes. While they sometimes claim to oppose “politicization” of the military, what they actually want is for their cultural and political agenda to prevail there.
In other words, the increasingly common whining among Republicans about the military is less about the armed forces themselves, and more about society becoming more inclusive and progressive in ways that make the right feel uncomfortable.
The GOP believes the military can and should be shielded from the larger societal trends, and when it’s not — when the troops celebrate Pride Month; when the Pentagon lifts a ban on transgender Americans serving; when abortion services are made available to those in uniform; when the Defense Department considers environmental impacts; etc. — Republicans stomp their feet as they feel another culture war slipping away.
“We need to refocus our military on what it’s supposed to do, which is blow things up and kill people,” Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas recently declared.
Except, that’s wrong. It’s not what Americans should expect from the planet’s strongest fighting force, and it doesn’t serve our interests to limit the military’s role to death and destruction.
This won’t stop Trump from slamming his own country’s military, and it won’t stop GOP lawmakers from complaining about “wokeism,” but it should.
Postscript: Right around the time I was writing this, House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik appeared on the Fox Business Network and said her party was prepared to cut “woke” programs at the Defense Department.
The New York congresswoman did not elaborate on what that was supposed to mean.
whittler on January 30th, 2023 at 18:32 UTC »
Add it to the list of ways he has shit on the military:
I mean, since we're here anyway...
• trump dodged the draft 5 times by having a doctor diagnose him with bone spurs
• No trump in America has ever served in the military; this spans 5 generations, and every branch of the family tree. In fact, the reason his grandfather immigrated to America was to avoid military service
• trump knew since March 2020 that Russia paid bounties to kill American troops, yet he has done nothing
• May 2020, the White House attempted to end National Guard deployments one day before they could claim benefits
• The trump admin seized 5 million masks intended for VA hospitals. Kushner distributes these masks to private entities for a fee, who then sells the masks to the government
• trump fired the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt after he warned superiors that COVID19 was spreading among his crew. The virus subsequently spread amongst the crew
• After Iran's retaliatory strike, 109 US troops suffered brain injuries. trump dismissed these as "headaches"
• 20/7/2017, in room 2E924 of the Pentagon, trump told a room full of Generals, "You’re a bunch of dopes and babies"
• Pardoned multiple war criminals, which stomped on long standing military values, discipline, and command. Trump has no military experience (May&Nov, 2019)
• Trump mocked Lt. Col. Vindman for his rank and uniform. He threatened said purple heart officer, resulting in the Army providing him protection
• Trump’s Chief of Staff worked—in secret—to deny comprehensive health coverage to Vietnam Vets who suffered from Agent Orange
• There is a facility in Tijuana for US veterans that Trump deported. Wounded war vet, Sen Duckworth (D) marked Veterans Day 2019 by visiting this facility
• Russia took control of the main U.S. military facility in Syria abandoned on Trump’s orders. Russia now owns the airstrip we built
• 10/7/2019, Trump abruptly withdrew support from America's allies in Syria after a phone call with Turkey's president (Erdogan). Turkey subsequently bombed US Special Forces
• Trump sent thousands of American troops to defend the oil assets of the country that perpetrated 9/11
• Sept 2019, he made an Air Force cargo crew, flying from the U.S. to Kuwait stop in Scotland (where there's no U.S. base) to refuel at a commercial airport (where it costs more), so they could stay overnight at a Trump property (which isn't close to the airport). Trump’s golf courses are losing money, so he's forcing the military to pay for 5-star nights there
• Sept 2019, Pentagon pulled funds for military schools, military housing funds, and daycare to pay for Trump's border wall
• Aug 2019, emails revealed that three of Trump's Mar-a-Lago pals, who are now running Veterans Affairs, are rampant with meddling. "They had no experience in veterans affairs (none of them even served in the military) nor underwent any kind of approval process to serve as de facto managers. Yet, with Trump’s approval, they directed actions and criticized operations without any oversight. They wasted valuable staff time in hundreds of pages of communications and meetings, emails show. Emails reveal disdainful attitudes within the department to the trio’s meddling."
• Veterans graves will be "dug up" for the border wall, after Trump instructed aides to seize private property. Trump told officials he would pardon them if they break the law by illegally seizing property
• Children of deployed US troops are no longer guaranteed citizenship. This includes US troops posted abroad for years at a time (August 28, 2019)
• 2/8/2019, Trump requisitioned military retirement funds towards border wall
• 31/7/2019, Trump ordered the Navy rescind medals to prosecutors who were prosecuted war criminals
• Trump denied a U.S. Marine of 6 years entry into the United States for his citizenship interview (Reported 17/7/2019)
• Trump made the U.S. Navy Blue Angels violate ethics rules by having them fly at his July 4th political campaign event (4/7/2019)
• Trump demanded US military chiefs stand next to him at 4th of July parade (reported 2/7/2019)
• June 2019, Trump sent troops to the border to paint the fence for a better "aesthetic appearance"
• Trump used his D-Day interview at a cemetery commemorating fallen US soldiers to attack a Vietnam veteran (6/6/2019)
• Trump started his D-Day commemoration speech by attacking a private citizen (Bette Midler, of all people) (reported 4/6/2019)
• Trump made his 2nd wife, Marla Maples, sign a prenup that would have cut off all child support if Tiffany joined the military (reported 4/6/2019)
• 27/5/2019, Trump turned away US military from his Memorial Day speech because they were from the destroyer USS John S. McCain
• Trump ordered the USS John McCain out of sight during his visit to Japan (15/5/2019). The ship's name was subsequently covered. (27/5/2019)
• Trump purged 200,000 vets' healthcare applications (due to known administrative errors within VA’s enrollment system) (reported on 13/5/2019)
• Trump deported a spouse of fallen Army soldier killed in Afghanistan, leaving their daughter parentless (16/4/2019)
• 20/3/2019, Trump complained that a deceased war hero didn't thank him for his funeral
• Between 12/22/2018, and 1/25/2019, Trump refused to sign his party's funding bill, which shut down the government, forcing the Coast Guard to go without pay, which made service members rely on food pantries. However, his appointees got a $10,000 pay raise
• He banned service members from serving based on gender identity (1/22/2019)
• He denied female troops access to birth control to limit sexual activity (on-going. Published 18/1/2019)
• He tried to deport a marine vet who is a U.S.-born citizen (16/1/2019)
• When a man was caught swindling veterans pensions for high-interest “cash advances," Trump's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined him $1 (Jan 26, 2019)
• He called a retired general a 'dog' with a 'big, dumb mouth' (Jan 1, 2019)
• He increased privatization of the VA, leading to longer waits and higher taxpayer cost (2018)
• He finally visited troops 2 years after taking office, but only after 154 vacation days at his properties (Dec 26, 2018)
• He revealed a covert Seal Team 5 deployment, including names and faces, on Twitter during his visit to Iraq (Dec 26, 2018)
• Trump lied to deployed troops that he gave them a 10% raise (12/26/2018). He tried giving the military a raise that was lower than the standard living adjustment. Congress told him that idea wasn't going to work. Then after giving them the raise that Congress made him, he lied about it pretending that it was larger than Obama's. It wasn't
• He fired service members living with HIV just before the 2018 holidays
• He tried to slash disability and unemployment benefits for Veterans to $0, and eliminate the unemployability extrascheduler rating (Dec 17, 2018)
• He called troops on Thanksgiving and told them he's most thankful for himself (Thanksgiving, 2018)
• He urged Florida to not count deployed military votes (Nov 12, 2018)
• He canceled an Arlington Cemetery visit on Veterans Day due to light rain (Nov 12, 2018)
• While in Europe commemorating the end of WWI, he didn't attend the ceremony at a US cemetery due to the rain -- other world leaders went anyway (Nov 10, 2018)
• He used troops as a political prop by sending them on a phantom mission to the border and made them miss Thanksgiving with their families (Oct-Dec, 2018)
• He stopped using troops as a political prop immediately after the election. However, the troops remained in muddy camps on the border (Nov 7, 2018)
• Trump changed the GI Bill through his Forever GI Act, causing the VA to miss veteran benefits, including housing allowances. This caused many vets to run out of food and rent. (reported October 7, 2018)
• Trump doubled the rejection rate for veterans requesting family deportation protections (July 5, 2018)
• Trump deported active-duty spouses (11,800 military families face this problem as of April 2018)
• He forgot a fallen soldier's name (below) during a call to his pregnant widow, then attacked her the next day (Oct 23-24, 2017)
• He sent commandos into an ambush due to a lack of intel, and sends contractors to pick them up, resulting in a commando being left behind, tortured, and executed. (Trump approved the mission because Bannon told him Obama didn't have the guts to do it) (Oct 4, 2017)
• He blocked a veteran group on Twitter (June 2017)
• He ordered the discharge of active-duty immigrant troops with good records (2017-present)
• He deported veterans (2017-present)
• He said he knows more about ISIS than American generals (Oct 2016)
• Oct 3, 2016, Trump said vets get PTSD because they aren't strong (note: yes, he said it's 'because they aren't strong.' He didn't say it's 'because they're weak.' This distinction is important because of Snopes)
• Trump accepted a Purple Heart from a fan at one of his rallies and said: “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.” (Aug 2, 2016)
• Trump attacks Gold Star families: Myeshia Johnson (gold star widow), Khan family (gold star parents) etc. (2016-present)
• Trump sent funds raised from a Jan 2016 veterans benefit to the Donald J Trump Foundation instead of veterans charities (the foundation has since been ordered shut because of fraud) (Jan, 2016)
• Trump said he has "more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military" because he went to a military-style academy (2015 biography)
• Trump said he doesn't consider POWs heroes because they were caught. He said he prefers people who were not caught (July 18, 2015)
• Trump said having unprotected sex was his own personal Vietnam (1998)
• For a decade, Trump sought to kick veterans off of Fifth Avenue because he found them unsightly nuisances outside of Trump Tower. 1991
hugglenugget on January 30th, 2023 at 17:40 UTC »
Oh look, the Putin wing of the Republican Party is trying to undermine the US military. How very odd.
neromoneon on January 30th, 2023 at 17:22 UTC »
Captain Bone Spurs, who knows fuck all about either.