WASHINGTON, D.C. – A hearing among the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee on the fiscal year 2022 budget request last week gave an avenue for another revisiting of the events of Jan. 6.
While a portion of the time served the purpose of the meeting – like Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney questioning Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin about the importance of investing in the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent for F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne and questioning Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley about withdrawing American forces from Afghanistan – the hearing also gave way to numerous topics that may or may not directly affect the military.
During the hearing, Milley said he believed the riot that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was an attack on the Constitution.
Rep. Cheney’s allotted time followed those statements, addressing how some fellow members of Congress said military service members have been persecuted for political or ideological beliefs in response to the storming of the Capitol.
“I want to, first of all, thank you for noting that the attack on the Capitol on January 6 was an attack on the Constitution,” Cheney said. “We do need to understand what happened. It was an attack provoked by the commander-in-chief. He could have immediately intervened to stop it, and he didn’t.”
Cheney went on to say it’s important to recognize First Amendment rights for service people, as it is also important to remind Americans that it’s a crime to participate in sedition, mutiny or the overthrow of the American government. She said it’s important to find out what led to that happening.
Rep. Cheney then yielded time back to Gen. Milley, who clarified his sentiment.
“So 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?” Gen. Milley said. “I want to find that out.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland said last week that arrests related to the Capitol riot have now surpassed 500 people.
Gen. Milley was asked to defend his position of teaching history in the military. Florida Reps. Michael Waltz and Matt Gaetz headed that effort, saying teaching trainees about critical race theory would be “divisive” among the ranks.
Gen. Milley defended his stance by saying he’s read books written by authors of different beliefs and backgrounds, and then questioned why it would be wrong to teach situational understanding for the country the members of the military have been sworn to protect.
“I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our commissioned, noncommissioned officers of being, quote, ‘woke,’ or something else, because we’re studying some theories that are out there,” Milley said. “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 general was referring to an earlier tweet by Rep. Matt Gaetz, who the Department of Justice is currently investigating for sex crimes, that said, “We must defend our patriotic military service members against their woke leadership.”
Gen. Milley went on to say he was curious to understand “white rage,” and the impact it may have had on the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
In a statement, Milley said the $715-billion request preserves readiness and is a down payment on future readiness for America’s military.
“It is now that we must set ourselves on a path to modernize the Joint Force,” he said. “And this budget contributes to doing that.”