Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark), grilled Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday on a so-called “woke” military.

Cotton asked during the hearing, “Do you believe that any member of the military should be treated differently based on their skin color and sex? Again yes or no will do.”

Austin responded, “No, I do not believe that and that is why we have diversity equity and inclusion focus in the military.”

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a former Army infantry officer, said he and Congressman Dan Crenshaw of Texas, a former Navy SEAL, had received “several hundred” messages from irate service members complaining that the Pentagon’s “extremism and diversity” training is dividing the forces and diverting time away from critical war training.

“One Marine told us that a military history training session was replaced with mandatory training on police brutality, White privilege, and systemic racism,” Cotton added that as a result of the training, numerous officers from the Marine Corps unit “are now leaving” the military.

“A member of the Special Operations community has told us that they are being instructed that, ‘The U.S. special operations community is racist,” he added.

The military is being slowed by more than just new training, some senators claimed.

According to the Pentagon, 71 percent of young people are disqualified to join the military because of obesity, a lack of a high school certificate, or a criminal record. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., a former college football coach, said a $715 billion defense budget is worthless if you don’t have the right people on the team. He said if a draft was held today in America, only a fraction of people would qualify.

On Thursday during the hearing, Tuberville stated, “Only 450,000 of 35 million are eligible to be in the military and that’s not enough, We can’t build a killing machine, which is what our military is. We got to be able to kill the enemy when they come at us.”

With a full-throated defense of the military, the defense secretary replied: “I don’t want our force or anybody else in this country to be confused,” Austin said. “It is the most lethal organization on the face of the planet, and it will remain so and it will remain the most cohesive organization on the face of the planet.”

The Supreme Court declined to hear a case on women being eligible for the draft earlier this week, despite the fact that all combat positions are open to them.

Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., the only Green Beret ever elected to Congress, recently wrote to the superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, questioning why critical race theory was being taught to prospective Army commanders.

In response to a New York Times article, Waltz tweeted: “We aren’t demanding oversight of ‘diversity training, We are demanding that divisive seminars like ‘How to Deal with Your White Rage’ to our future military leaders not continue.”

“This isn’t about ‘cultural wars.’ This is about keeping our military merit-based & mission-focused.”

“The only color that matters on the battlefield is the flag on your uniform because that’s all our enemies are concerned with,” Waltz added “Our military should be open to all Americans and only worried about standards needed to win wars.”

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said, “If you meet the standards and you’re qualified to be in the military and you’re willing to raise your hand and serve this country, we want you to be able to do that and we want you to be able to do it free of hate and fear and discrimination.”

When asked about the chorus of GOP lawmakers requesting that the military stay away from so-called “woke” training and the recent stand-down to address diversity and extremism, he said, “If you meet the standards and you’re qualified to be in the military and you’re ready to raise your hand and serve this country, we want you to be able to do that and we want you to be able to do it free of hate, fear, and discrimination,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said.

Defense Secretary Ashton Austin spoke at a Pentagon ceremony commemorating Pride Month earlier this month, “I know my LGBTQ+ teammates are proud this month. I’m proud too. I’m proud every month and every day to call you my teammates and to serve alongside you. Because your lives and your service are living proof that we are stronger and more effective together.”

Pride banners will stay banned on U.S. military bases, including during Pride month, according to the Pentagon, which is upholding a regulation established by previous Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

The Marine Corps also banned the public display of the Confederate flag last year.

Cotton warned during a tense exchange on Capitol Hill on Thursday, “We’re hearing reports of plummeting morale, growing mistrust between the races and sexes where none existed just six months ago, and unexpected retirements and separations, based on these training alone.”

The presence of military veterans, including some active-duty service members, among the rioters who stormed the US Capitol on Jan. 6 sparked the Pentagon’s diversity and extremism training.

Lloyd Austin, a retired four-star U.S. Army general, spoke about encountering skinheads in the ranks while posted at Fort Bragg at his confirmation hearing before becoming Defense Secretary.

Braxton Bragg who was defeated at the Battle of Chattanooga by General Ulysses S. Grant, the Army’s largest base in the United States was named after Confederate Gen.

The list of military bases in the United States that named after former Confederate generals are being reviewed by the Pentagon, planning to make recommendations to change them.


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