Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Army General Mark Milley says it’s important for service members to understand critical race theory despite Republican claims that the subject is harmful and divisive.
At a House Armed Service Committee hearing, General Milley rejected GOP claims about critical race theory and said, “a lot of us have to get much smarter on whatever the theory is.”
“I do think it’s important, actually, for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read… and it is important that we train and we understand,” the Army General said. “I want to understand White rage, and I’m White.”
Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, on Matt Gaetz's critical race theory remarks:
"I do think it's important, actually, for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read. pic.twitter.com/z6CUa06pOG
— Poli Alert (@polialertcom) June 23, 2021
Critical race theory is a 40 years old academic concept that teaches that racism is a pervasive issue in U.S. society and its legal institution.
“What is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out. I want to maintain an open mind here, and I do want to analyze it. It is important that the leaders now and in the future do understand it,” General Milley said.
“I’ve read Mao Zedong. I’ve read Karl Marx. I’ve read Lenin,” General Milley said. “That doesn’t make me a communist. So what is wrong with understanding, having some situational understanding about the country from which we are here to defend?”
During the hearing, Representative Matt Gaetz had questioned General Milley about unity within the military and extremism. The Florida Representative also claimed that Bishop Garrison, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin‘s senior adviser for human capital, diversity, equity, and inclusion, was a “critical race theorist.”
“Could you enlighten us as to what advice Mr. Garrison has given you, and are you concerned that while you testified publicly to our committee that the department doesn’t embrace critical race theory, you have hired someone who is precisely a critical race theorist?” Representative Gaetz asked Austin.
“This is the first I’d ever heard Mr. Garrison being described as a critical race theorist, so this is new,” Austin said.
“I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our noncommissioned officers, of being ‘woke’ or something else because we are studying some theories that are out there,” General Milley said.
Representative Michael Waltz, a National Guard colonel, and Green Beret, criticized the United States Military Academy at West Point for offering a voluntary seminar at West Point on understanding whiteness and white rage.
“I trust my leadership from top to bottom that they will give me fair and balanced and unvarnished input,” Austin, the first Black Defense secretary, said.