PENTAGON WATCH – At a Thursday Senate hearing Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) challenged Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin over the Pentagon’s latest woke diversity and race policies. I have been critical of these policies, which include Critical Race Theory (CRT) concepts rooted in neo-Marxist ideology. I’ve written about this issue here, here, here, and here.
Austin refused to give Cotton a yes or no answer, when asked whether he thought the military is a “fundamentally racist organization.” Instead, according to The Hill, Austin replied:
I won’t give you a yes-or-no answer on that, senator, because it deserves more than a yes or no. The military, like any organization, will have its challenges, but I do not believe it is a fundamentally racist organization.
The terse exchange, with Cotton interjecting Austin’s comments frequently, followed Cotton and Representative Dan Crenshaw’s (R-Texas) launching a web portal for “whistleblowers” to report examples of “woke ideology” in the military. Both Cotton and Crenshaw are combat veterans.
Cotton, a Ranger qualified Army officer, served in Iraq with the 101st Airborne and in Afghanistan. Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL officer, lost an eye to an EID in Afghanistan in 2012.
While leftist Twitter users mocked the effort, with jokes about plotlines from “A Few Good Men,” “M.A.S.H.” and other war movies and TV shows, Cotton said that he and Crenshaw have received “several hundred whistleblower complaints,” reading some of those complaints at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing where Austin was testifying.
Mr. Secretary, we’re hearing reports of plummeting morale, growing mistrust between the races and sexes, where none existed just six months ago, and unexpected retirements and separations based on these trainings alone. And again, these are not my words. These are the words of your own troops.
“Mr. Secretary, I’m sorry to cut you off; our time is limited. It is a very simple question. Should a member of the organization you lead be treated differently, in violation of the Constitution, I would add, based on their sex or the color of their skin?” Cotton interjected.
“Again, this question deserves more than a yes-or-no answer,” Austin replied. But he added: “I do not believe that, and that is why we have diversity, equity, and inclusion focus in the military.”
Cotton then said that “the military for decades has been one of the institutions in this society where you are most likely to get ahead based on your own performance, on your own merit, irrespective of the color of your skin or where you came from or who your parents were.”
“I absolutely agree with that, and I am an example of that. But I would also — I would also say that—” Austin said, trying to speak over Cotton before being cut off. ADN