WATCH: ‘I’ve Read Mao Tse-Tung. I’ve Read Karl Marx. I’ve Read Lenin. That Doesn’t Make Me A Communist’: Top-Ranking U.S. Military Official Defends Teaching Critical Race Theory

On Wednesday, testifying before the House Armed Services Committee on President Biden’s 2022 budget request, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Mark Milley defended the reading of Critical Race Theory (CRT) texts by the United States military, snapping, “I’ve read Mao Tse-Tung; I’ve read Karl Marx; I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a communist.” Millay claimed there were “thousands of people” who had assaulted the Capitol on January 6 and that he “personally” found it “offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our commissioned, non-commissioned officers, of being ‘woke’ because we’re studying some theories that are out there.”

Prior to Milley’s remarks, Florida GOP Congressman Mike Waltz, a former Green Beret, had referenced a letter the Superintendent of West Point had written to Waltz in response to Waltz’s letter about the teaching of Critical Race Theory at West Point. The superintendent’s letter acknowledged that CRT was taught at West Point. Waltz gestured to members of Congress around him, then said:

This isn’t something that we’re raising; this came to me from cadets, from families, from soldiers, with their alarm and their concern about how divisive this type of teaching is, that is rooted in Marxism; that classifies people along class lines; an entire race of people as “oppressor” and “oppressed.”  I cannot think of anything more divisive and more destructive to unit morale. I want to be very clear: the military needs to be open to all Americans. Absolutely. That is the strength of the United States military. But once we’re in, we bleed green, and our skin color is camouflage. We’re worried about that American flag on our shoulder. That’s the only thing our enemies are worried about. …

The other thing that they raised to me was a seminar that 100 cadets attended titled, “Understanding Whiteness and White Rage,” taught by a woman who described the Republican Party platform as a platform of white supremacy.

When Milley was given a chance to answer the question of CRT being taught in the military, he started by saying that it was important to delve into CRT to “get much smarter” about it: “First of all, on the issue of Critical Race Theory, etc., a lot of us have to get much smarter on whatever the theory is.”

Regarding “white rage,” Milley said, “But I do think it’s important actually for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read and the United States Military Academy is a university and it is important that we train and we understand, and I want to understand white rage and I’m white.”

Then Milley turned to January 6: “And I want to understand it 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? I want to find that out. I want to maintain an open mind here and do want to analyze it. It’s important that we understand that because our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and guardians, they come from the American people so it is important that the leaders, now and in the future, do understand it.”

“I’ve read Mao Tse-Tung; I’ve read Karl Marx; I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a communist,” he stated. “So what is wrong with understanding, having some situational understanding about the country for which we are here to defend?”

Milley got defensive about charges that the military has gone “woke”: “And I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our commissioned, non-commissioned officers, of being ‘woke’ or something else because we’re studying some theories that are out there.”

Then Milley quoted a Harvard Law School version of American history: “That was started at the Harvard Law School years ago and it proposed that there were laws in the United States, anti (sic) bellum laws prior to the civil war that led to a power differential with African-Americans that were three-quarters of a human beings when this country was formed, and then we had a civil war and Emancipation Proclamation to change it. And we brought it up to the Civil Rights Act in 1964, it took another hundred years to change that.”

He concluded, “So, lookit, I do want to know. And I respect your service and you and I are both Green Berets, but I want to know and it matters to our military and the discipline and cohesion of this military and I thank you for the opportunity to make a comment on that.”

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