Pentagon Grapples With How To Defend Military Women From Tucker Carlson’s Insults

by | Oct 15, 2022 | Politics

Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth on Friday called for military leaders to “stand up for women” amid a roiling Defense Department controversy over how to respond to vicious criticism of female soldiers by Fox News host Tucker Carlson.A fierce debate was triggered after Maj. Gen. Patrick Donahoe was recently scolded by the Army — and his retirement put on hold — for defending female soldiers, with one of his tweets last year calling out Carlson.Retired Col. Yevgeny Vindman — the twin brother of retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified at Donald Trump’s first impeachment investigation during his presidency — lashed out last month at the treatment of Donahoe by an Army cowed by the political right because he “stood up to Fox/ Tucky.”AdvertisementThe Pentagon and the Army “are lost. They fear the right,” Yevgeny Vindman tweeted. “They are losing their moral compass and service-members will vote with their feet.”Unfortunately it’s working. The Army just ended the career of MG Donahue, the “Woke” general because he stood up to Fox/ Tucky. @DeptofDefense @USArmy are lost. They fear the right. They are losing their moral compass and service-members will vote with their feet. https://t.co/HpbwUCSVsI— Colonel (fmr.) Vindman 🇺🇸🇺🇦 (@YVindman) September 28, 2022

Carlson has repeatedly bashed women in the military with misogynistic insults, as he denigrates an increasingly “feminine” U.S. armed forces — and hails the brutish “masculine” militaries of Russia and China. Carlson has never served in the military.Wormuth warned at a conference earlier this week that Army leaders need to stay “out of the culture wars” — and out of politics.Advertisement“We have got to … have a broad appeal,” she cautioned. “When only 9% of kids are interested in serving” in the military, “we have got to make sure that we are careful about not alienating wide swaths of the American public to the Army,” Wormuth added.But on Friday, she clarified her comments amid a furious backlash.“Let me be clear: I expect @USArmy leaders to stand up for women—and all Soldiers—who are unduly attacked or disrespected,” she tweeted.She added in another tweet: “Use good judgment online. Keep it professional.”There has been confusion on an issue where there should be none. So let me be clear: I expect @USArmy leaders to stand up for women—and all Soldiers—who are unduly attacked or disrespected.— Secretary of the Army Christine E. Wormuth (@SecArmy) October 14, 2022

Our @USArmy Soldiers don’t hesitate to defend each other in combat & they shouldn’t hesitate to defend each other from threats or abuse, whether IRL or online.Army leaders, use good judgment online. Keep it professional.— Secretary of the Army Christine E. Wormuth (@SecArmy) October 14, 2022

Several top military leaders have angrily responded to Carlson’s insults — without referring to him by name — and issued statements supporting women in the armed forces.AdvertisementDonahoe had named Carlson in a tame retort in March 2021, saying the right-wing Fox host “couldnt be more wrong” with his insults against women in the military.That’s when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) fired off a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, accusing Donahoe and other military leaders of partisanship for sticking up for soldiers and other service members.A report on the issue by the Army’s Office of the Inspector General, obtained last week by the website Task & Purpose, stated that “while potentially admirable,” Donahoe’s post “brought a measurable amount of negative publicity to the Army.” A headline on a Washington Post opinion column early this month asked: “Why is the Army punishing a general for calling out MAGA lies?”AdvertisementThe military is “rightly eager to stay out of politics, but this laudable instinct can lead it to run away from controversy even at the cost of ceding the information battlefield to the far-right forces trying to subvert American democracy,” warned writer Max Boot.Donahoe’s “only offense was to champion on social media the very values the Army claims to stand for,” Boot added. …

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