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  • Kieran M. Lalor

Lalor: Congressman Ryan Belittles Woke Military Concerns

January 26, 2023


The first West Point graduate to represent the US Military Academy in Congress just gave a master’s class in political deflection.


In a recent interview with Military.com, Congressman Pat Ryan (D-NY18) was asked about Republican claims that woke policies were undermining military readiness. The author of the article even noted that Ryan didn’t offer specific military policy ideas.


In fact, Ryan refused to offer anything meaningful about whether such things as emphasizing race in recruitment and teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT), help or hurt military readiness, retention, and recruitment.


According to the article, Ryan said, "Especially at a time of great global risk and change and uncertainty between China and Russia and everything else, we need to be the adults in the room here. We need to be the ones thinking not about scoring political points or what's gonna get you more likes on Twitter or hits on Fox News," He added, “I have zero time for the political distractions and BS, and I will very aggressively call that out,"


Adult in the room Ryan avoided the question.


Ryan’s claim that wokeness in the military is “BS,” is itself BS. For example, the new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed by President Biden last month, sets Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) recruitment goals based on race. Ryan’s alma mater offers a lecture titled “Understanding Whiteness and White Rage” and teaches about “White Power at West Point.” The Chief of Naval Operations put Ibram X. Kendi’s CRT bible, How to Be an Antiracist, on the Navy’s recommend reading list.


In 2021 the Secretary of Defense instituted a military-wide stand-down to address the “extremism” in the military. One of the required topics of discussion was, “What is up with us white people?” The same year a US Space Force officer Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier was removed from command of the 11th Space Warning Squadron for calling attention to the fact that the military was encouraging what he considered “fundamentally incompatible and competing narratives of what America was, is and should be.” He recognized the competing narrative as “Marxist in nature.”


Rather than a reflexive swipe at Fox News, Congressman Ryan should tell us if he thinks the military’s hyperfocus on race helps or hinders to combat readiness. If the wokeification of the military is a good thing, Ryan should explain why.


Indeed, it would be informative if Congressman Ryan, given his impressive military background, would have articulated a clear position on these issues. Instead, he essentially declared that the 92% of Americans who didn’t serve in the military should shut up. According to Ryan, "The ultimate irony to me, a lot of people calling this out haven't spent a single day in uniform, and I think that certainly shows in how they've conducted themselves."


Members of Congress represent nearly eight hundred thousand people including active military personnel, their families and veterans. The most solemn duty of a Member of Congress is to ensure that our military is prepared to defend the nation. A Congressman who perceives a degradation of our military preparedness has an obligation to address it, whether they served in the Armed Forces or not.


Ryan made his West Point experience the centerpiece of his two successful 2022 campaigns. His tv ad features him standing with the US Military Academy as a backdrop, discussing how he learned as a cadet how to answer questions directly. It is disappointing that he abandoned this lesson already.


Kieran M. Lalor is an attorney and Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He represented Dutchess County in the New York State Assembly from 2012-2022. Lalor is the publisher of HudsonPowerBroker.com


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