A theatrical congressional hearing on the issue of alleged extremism in the armed forces kicked off on Wednesday, starting things with a partisan squabble over whether the hearing was merited, with members of Congress taking turns slamming each other and the session as a whole.
According to Just The News, the afternoon hearing which was before the House Armed Services Committee was focused largely on how one defines hate speech, the scope of extremism within the ranks of the military, and how such issues should be addressed. The panel members all agreed that hate groups have to be banned from the military, the fighting all started over what the actual purpose of the session was.
“This hearing is a joke,” Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz stated, going on to note: “This is about converting the military from an apolitical institution to an institution controlled by the political left.”
Rep. Adam Smith, the Committee Chairman, and a Democrat, scoffed at such a notion and then sought to spin a narrative that painted Gaetz up as someone who just wants to stir up trouble.
“Mr. Gaetz is the best example of the demagogue problem that we have today,” Smith retorted.
“The hearing was conducted while the Pentagon continued its service-wide mandatory stand-downs to address extremism in the ranks. More than a dozen service members privately told Just the News that they have not encountered endemic extremism that officials seem to believe exists — but none from the military were invited to testify on Wednesday before the committee,” Just The News said in their report.
There was no eyewitness testimony given, so members of Congress and civilian witnesses took the opportunity to address what they see as the main scope of the issue.
“I want to root out of the military those who actively participate in vile and violent hate groups,” Rep. Mike Rogers, a Republican from the state of Alabama stated. “But it’s important to remember that extremist behavior is already prohibited by the Uniform Code of Military Justice and by each service’s own regulations.”
“This is far from the largest military justice issue facing our armed services,” he went on to add.
House Democrats then went on to say that no amount of extremism within the armed forces is tolerable. Smith then went on to refer to a rise in anti-government sentiment within the military.
“If you disagree with the U.S. Constitution and you disagree with the laws of this country so strongly that you think our government is no longer legitimate, then you have no business serving in the U.S. military, and you should get out now,” Smith went on to say.
Active duty troops who watched the hearing were quite flabbergasted at the comment that came from Smith.
“Where does he get this?” a soldier asked. “We are here to defend our country, not destroy it.”
“Not one person in my unit disagrees with the laws of our country,” a second soldier stated.
Marine Corps veteran Michael Berry who is part of the First Liberty Institute, which is an advocacy group that focuses their efforts on promoting religious liberty, said, “We should be criminalizing conduct and not their thoughts, because that’s nearly impossible to do.”
So Congress did what Congress does. They waste time engaging in a sophomoric cafeteria food fight about a phantom issue. Democrats engage in myth-making and illusion creation about racism, white supremacy and hate speech while the country boils over. And Republicans foolishly obliged by participating.