Ted Cruz Sends Stern Letter To Military Demanding They Stop Being Mean To Poor Tucker Carlson
Last week, without knowing what the hell he was talking about, Tucker Carlson went on a rant in which he claimed that while China was combating the "feminization" of boys by their female mothers and female teachers, possibly in the hopes of having the most macho Navy in the entire world, the United States, under Joe Biden, was "feminizing" the military. Oh no! Girl cooties!
It was wrong on multiple levels, starting with the sexism and ending with nearly everything he said being factually incorrect. He showed a video of Joe Biden talking — on International Women's Day, mind you — about the ways the military was improving things for the women in its ranks. This included things like updating the list of acceptable hairstyles (because the previous list was racist, not because it banned "The Rachel" or whatever), making better fitted uniforms, and also coming out with maternity flight suits for pregnant aviators.
"Pregnant women are going to fight our wars!" he cried. That was factually incorrect.
According to Carlson, all of these things were new policies, instituted under Joe Biden. That was factually incorrect. According to a statement from the Air Force in 2020:
In September 2019, the Air Force updated its policy to reduce barriers on pregnant aviators who perform flight duties and have uncomplicated pregnancies. This update allows many women the choice to keep performing flight duties during their pregnancy, maintain currency, and prevent postpartum re-qualification training.
Of course, as we well know, the team over at Tucker Carlson is not great at the Googling.
Carlson's carelessness with facts and the overall absurdity of his statements led many in the military to respond to him and tell him about how he is wrong. This hurt his feelings! And on Friday night, he raged against all of the "woke" generals who dared to question his interpretation of things.
It also hurt GOP Senator Ted Cruz, who has since sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin demanding the military stop attacking Tucker Carlson's right to free speech by pointing out his glaring factual inaccuracies.
I am deeply troubled that the commitments you made, and the military's broader obligation to avoid political endorsements and controversy, are being systematically undermined for the sake of leftwing ideology and political expediency. The last week has witnessed the Pentagon mobilize systematic, public attacks against television host Tucker Carlson that in substance, tone, and political resonance are inexplicably inappropriate. [...]
Instead of allowing the debate to take its course in public among American citizens and their elected leaders, military officials over the last week have repeatedly launched attacks on Carlson, including through official DOD platforms and accounts and while in uniform. The campaign has alternated between being ostentatiously childish and simply outrageous.
Except it's real hard to have a debate based on "things Tucker Carlson made up to outrage the kind of idiots who watch Tucker Carlson." I mean, I suppose we could, but it's hard to see what the point in that would be. For instance, if I lied and said "Ted Cruz stabbed me in the face!" and everyone went ahead and believed me, and we had a whole public debate about whether or not Ted Cruz should stab people in the face, but no one ever bothered to check to make sure it was true, that would be a pretty pointless and bad public debate.
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 (MEF) Information Group (IG). 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.
Now, as someone who has criticized the military for far more things than Ted Cruz has, that doesn't seem to be the case here. What does seem to be the case is that Tucker Carlson was wrong about a thing, and that people who had particular insight into how he was wrong spoke up and said, "Tucker Carlson, you're wrong."
There has also always been a certain amount of conflict between those who serve in the military and fortunate sons like Tucker Carlson and Ted Cruz who like to cheer for war and see the military as an extension of their own dicks.
As Rep. Ilhan Omar noted:
Republicans going after the military because of misogyny and a dangerously radical Fox News pundit is just wild and… https://t.co/tBVxo3yK6p— Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan Omar)1615766760.0
There's also been a conflict between the military and people like me who hate war, think it is bad and think we spend way too much money on the military. In no way would I be surprised, were military people to tell me to fuck off. But people like Tucker Carlson and Ted Cruz see the military as working for them, and so expect a certain amount of subservience. You know, in exchange for all the "supporting the troops" they do.
Furthermore, these actions run the risk of creating a culture of contempt for our country's civilian leadership within the enlisted ranks and among junior officers which will be corrosive to the good order and discipline of the military.
Tucker Carlson is civilian leadership now, I guess.
But Ted Cruz is gracious! He is willing to sit with the Commandant of the Marine Corps to talk about how the Marine Corps can be nicer to Tucker Carlson and how they can stop taking away his free speech by criticizing him:
I therefore request that the Commandant of the Marine Corps meet with me, in person, to discuss these issues. I also request an official response from the department and implementation of a policy that insulates other units from being similarly mobilized against the speech of American citizens or in the service of left wing political causes.
Telling Tucker Carlson he is incorrect is not a violation of his free speech, regardless of who does it. If his narrative is so incredibly fragile that someone saying "Hey! That's not actually true!" makes him feel he is being "silenced," he might want to consider that it is perhaps it is not a very solid narrative. Which, you know, it isn't.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse