Fox News So Mad Gen. Milley Loves Critical Race Theory, Time To Defund The Military

Fox News So Mad Gen. Milley Loves Critical Race Theory, Time To Defund The Military

It is becoming increasingly clear that conservatives were not kidding when they said they learned history by looking at Confederate statues.

Yesterday, General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — nominated to that role by Donald Trump, mind you -- went viral after a congressional hearing, where he patiently explained to GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz and Michael Waltz what Critical Race Theory is, and why he felt it was actually a good thing for cadets and and servicemembers to understand the history of racism in this country and the impact of racist laws on our society.

In response to a question from Rep. Waltz about why there was a course at the US Military Academy at West Point in which an instructor discussed "understanding whiteness and white rage," Gen. Milley explained that understanding that would be helpful for understanding things like the January 6 insurrection. He also noted that West Point is a university, so students are going to learn things there.

"I want to understand white rage, and I'm white," General Milley said, before explaining that Critical Race Theory is simply the radical theory that racist laws have actually impacted our society, rather than existing in a vacuum and just being "bad stuff that happened one time."

"I've read Karl Marx. I've read Lenin. That doesn't make me a communist," the General said, implying that it is indeed possible to explore other points of view without personally adopting them.

Milley's general point, however, was that it is necessary for the "discipline and cohesion" of the United States Military to have a "situational understanding" of the country they are defending, and that includes understanding that racism exists and impacts things.

As you might imagine, Milley's statements deeply upset conservative pundits at Fox and elsewhere, some of whom now want to cease funding the military entirely.

LAURA INGRAHAM: We are sending our tax dollars to this military, in an attempt to weed out so-called extremists, which just means conservative evangelicals as far as I can tell. We're paying for that? Why is Congress not saying "We're not going to give you a penny until all of this is eradicated"?

You know what? Sure. Let's defund the military. I'm on board with that! But back here in the real world, that's not going to happen anytime soon. In the meantime it seems like it's probably a good idea to deter right-wing extremists who join the military to train to build a White Power army in preparation for a race war. That seems like a really bad use of taxpayer dollars.

One in 10 of those charged so far in connection with the January 6 riots had ties to the military. That seems bad.

Of course, the only surprising thing about Ingraham's statement is that she didn't explicitly say she was mad tax money was going to teaching anti-racism and weeding out racist extremists instead of going to kill people of other races in other countries.

But you know who pretty much did say that? Rightwing troll Jesse Kelly, in an appearance on Tucker Carlson.

Kelly's theory is that hundreds of thousands of Americans are going to die because cadets at West Point are learning these things instead of concentrating on how to carve people's tongues out.

KELLY: Everybody has to have an LGBTQ flag. And let's learn about how bad white people are and all this stuff now. But what people are missing is this: There's only a finite amount of time. And the military only has a finite amount of time and finite amount of concentration for things. Right now, the evil people who still exist in this world as they always have, there's still a Hitler out there right now. There's still Stalin, there's still Mao. They're spending every waking moment thinking about how they can murder as many Americans as humanly possible.

We are dividing up, whatever percentage that is, a percentage of our military time thinking if we're friendly enough to women, or if the gay people feel welcome enough, if we've done enough transgender surgeries this year? OK, but even if you believe in those things, you don't have time for that. When when the guy in China is waking up every day spending 10 hours a day thinking about how to carve your tongue out of your head and you're spending two thinking about doing that to him and the other eight, thinking about being gay friendly, how that ends is war. And people if -- when I say hundreds of thousands of Americans, I'm not trying to exaggerate.

Does it really take that much time to not be a bigot? And do we really want a military filled with people who spend eight hours a day thinking about carving people's tongues out? Because that seems like a pretty fast road to Abu Ghraib.

It is important to note again that we are talking about West Point here, which is, as Gen. Milley explained, a university. It offers majors in chemistry, philosophy, English, psychology, sociology, and many other things. It doesn't offer majors or courses in "fantasizing about carving out people's tongues." If Jesse Kelly thinks that's a problem, and that every course at West Point should instead be "Torture Fantasy 101," then he should be going after all of these courses, not just the ones that teach cadets that racism and bigotry are not great.

Now, I will say this. I get their point, in a way. It's a sick point, but I get it. Part of the reason we have long taught a propagandistic version of American history is because people are much more likely to be willing to die for a country they think is basically perfect. We need cannon fodder, and cannon fodder doesn't need to think, except about how the other side is supposedly doing nothing but thinking about how to kill us. It's why soldiers are told they're "dying for our freedoms" when none of our freedoms are ever actually at stake in any of these wars.

The anger isn't just at Critical Race Theory as a concept. They're not just terrified white people are going to commit mass suicide over the guilt they feel from having benefited from living in a racist nation. They're terrified of people thinking too deeply, because the more people think for themselves, the less likely they are to be mindlessly jingoistic or go into full moral panic mode over concepts they don't 100 percent understand. In other words, they're less likely to vote Republican.

[Media Matters]

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Robyn Pennacchia

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


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