Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Army Gen. Mark Milley on Wednesday shot down Republican lawmakers talking points on the January 6 attack on the US Capitol and their assertion that studying critical race theory was harmful to military cohesion. he also scolded them for their opposition to understanding racism in the US.
In an impromptu and passionate statement at a House Armed Service Committee hearing, Milley rejected the Republican claim that critical race theory and other such teachings could be damaging, telling lawmakers that “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,” Milley said. “I want to understand white rage, and I’m white.”
“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.”
“I’ve read Mao Zedong. I’ve read Karl Marx. I’ve read Lenin,” Miley said during the hearing. “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?”
“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,” he added.
Critical race theory — a relatively new academic concept in the eyes of the public despite being more than 40 years old — promotes the idea that racism is a pervasive issue that is steeped in U.S. society and its legal systems.
Republicans in the past year have sought to politicize the issue and ban or limit the teaching of the theory in schools, particularly following the attack on the U.S. Capitol on June 6 when a violent mob of former President Trump’s supporters sought to overturn President Biden’s election win.
Strong reaction from Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley on the issue of critical race theory before House Armed Services.
"I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our noncommisioned officers of being quote 'woke'" pic.twitter.com/otWBw3YdPK
— Dave Brown (@dave_brown24) June 23, 2021