DOD Isn’t Wrong About Tucker Carlson, But It Needs To Stop
Tucker Carlson has found himself in some hot water having recently said, “New hair styles and maternity flight suits. Pregnant women are going to fight our wars” and “While China’s military becomes more masculine as it assembles the world’s largest navy, our military needs to become, as Joe Biden says, more feminine.”
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby denounced Carlson’s remarks, declaring “What we absolutely won’t do is take personnel advice from a talk-show host, or the Chinese military.”
Kirby’s remarks were fine, as a civilian, and completely understandable. Also understandable was the desire from uniformed members of the military and official Twitter accounts, to defend their sisters-in-arms, but just because something is understandable does not make it right.
The military is supposed to be apolitical and getting into spats with a cable news host whose audience is less than 2% of the entire nation, harms that principle. Just imagine if a important uniformed individual or official Twitter account went after a CNN or MSNBC host during the Trump era.
Still, Carlson’s worries or criticisms of rampant political correctness in the military are also not unreasonable, especially as INDOPACOM’s Admiral Phillip Davidson told Congress recently that he is concerned that China could try to invade Taiwan within the next six years.
It is not exactly insightful to point out that people, especially conservatives, view the U.S. strategy towards China of yesteryear to be a total failure. A lot of them believe that Biden either still agrees with that discredited strategy or is too weak to peruse a hardline approach even if he does realize it failed.
While it may be easy to dismiss Carlson’s remarks as sexist and him as a hypocrite for lamenting the decline of U.S. naval supremacy while sounding like Ron Paul on matters of foreign affairs, a better response would be for someone like Kirby to cross the aisle and go on his show.
Kirby could go, not just as a Democrat going on a conservative show, but as someone who can bring highly technical and academic matters to a lay audience.
Carlson specifically mentioned China’s navy, so Kirby could point out that just last month, the Navy announced it was putting Harpoon ant-ship missiles on submarines for the first time in 25 years. Kirby could point out the potential game-changing nature of this move by pointing out that China’s military strategy in the event of war with Taiwan would be to bomb U.S. Pacific bases and ships with missiles or threaten such a move to deter intervention on Taipei’s side. But, if U.S. can signal to China that even if you bomb our bases and sink our surface fleet in a Pearl Harbor-esque sneak attack, we can still sink your invasion fleet. That would be a huge boost to our deterrence capabilities.
Kirby could point out that over recent years the Marine Corps has returned to its roots as naval infantry. It is no longer an auxiliary ground force akin to the Army, but a slimmed down and more agile fighting force whose main reason for existing, if it had its way, would be to sink Chinese ships.
Finally, Kirby, again as a civilian, could explain to Carlson why new hairstyles and maternity flight suits do not represent what he alleges. The military is run by civilians and those civilians are chosen by the voters. Instead of picking fights with talk show hosts, the military should try to educate on such things, because, as a citizen and a voter, Carlson has a right to know how the military plans to deter aggression and win the nation’s wars, not just how it pats itself on the back for its diversity, even if he is wrong in this particular instance.