US Military Attacks the Press, and No One Notices

In which Mikey Weinstein learns he doesn’t rise to the level of Tucker Carlson.

If Donald Trump were the current President of the United States – a man who at one point declared the media to be the “enemy of the people” – perhaps the US military’s verbal attacks of FoxNews would have garnered more pushback.

Last week, FoxNews commentator Tucker Carlson lambasted the ‘woke’ military after President Biden chose to highlight – of all the things he could have mentioned – “maternity flight suits”:

Perhaps maternity flight suits have been around for a while. We’ve never heard of them. But here was the President of the United States promoting them at a press conference. That phrase stuck out not because we have some hateful bias against pregnant women flying military jets. We’re pro-pregnancy, as we often say. We’re also open-minded. Maybe pregnant women make the best pilots. The Department of Defense measures everything, so there has to be extensive research on this question. If the Pentagon can show that pregnant pilots are the best, we will be the first to demand an entire Air Force of pregnant pilots.

The problem is, we’re pretty confident that Joe Biden hasn’t asked to see those numbers. We’d bet money he never even thought to ask.

The rest of us depend on the U.S. military to protect our families and to protect the country itself. Joe Biden doesn’t see it that way. Finding the most effective military pilots — or infantry officers, or SEAL teams — is not his priority. It’s not even close to his priority. Identity politics is Joe Biden’s priority. It’s all that matters.

It’s obvious to the casual observer that Carlson wasn’t mocking members of the military, but rather the President for his focus on appearance and identity over merit and value. This is consistent with what Carlson’s drumbeat has been for some time.

Still, members of the military leadership apparently took umbrage and came out on offense and spoke out in defense of female troops. That’s fair enough, and military leaders should speak out on the value of their troops. The problem is those military leaders didn’t just defend their troops – they personally attacked Tucker Carlson:

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.

(It appears the II MEF backed down and deleted their tweet with an apology.)

The great irony, of course, is that their commander in chief, Joe Biden, never served, either.

Whether you agree with Carlson or not, it is highly inappropriate for the uniformed military – an armed, apolitical body of the Executive Branch of government – to be personally attacking a private US citizen over his political commentary. Can you imagine what the response would have been if a General officer during the Trump administration had gone after Rachel Maddow or Jim Acosta? Consider how the media did respond when Trump alone attacked the press – using only Twitter and a microphone. Why is it acceptable now for the military to go after those same people?

Except it’s not the same people, is it? Their ideology is different, which seems to make it ok.

For years, the US military has stayed tight lipped as its service members were attacked for their religious faith by critics like Mikey Weinstein. The military defended “maternity flight suits” far more quickly, vocally, and strongly than it ever has troops exercising their constitutional right of religious exercise. That defense generally warranted little more than a standardized statement that the US military “values the rights of troops to their faith, or no faith at all.” (Apparently, the military did not consider Mikey Weinstein as significant as Tucker Carlson, which is undoubtedly a blow to Mikey’s ego.)

The worrisome thing is that in going beyond merely defending their troops, the military is taking an undeniably political tone.

Multiple members of Congress have demanded that the DoD rein itself in. It remains to be seen whether it will do so, or if it will become just the latest tool of political and social advocacy.

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