Plea To Lloyd Austin: GOP Legislators Demand Probe Into Left-Wing Extremism Within U.S. Military

By Maria Angelino | Thursday, 04 April 2024 01:50 PM
2
Views 2K

A group of Republican representatives, led by Wisconsin's Derrick Van Orden, a military veteran himself, have called on Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to probe the presence of "left-wing extremism" within the ranks of the U.S. military.

This follows the recent incident involving an active-duty Air Force member who set himself ablaze outside the Israeli embassy.

In a letter to Austin, the GOP lawmakers expressed their concerns, stating, "We write you today as members of Congress, many of us having served our country honorably, in our commitment to the security and integrity of our nation's armed forces. Your dedication to rooting out extremist behavior within our ranks has been well documented and demonstrates a commitment to maintaining the honor and cohesion of our armed forces."

The legislators urged Austin to turn his attention to the "equally pressing issue of left-wing extremism among active-duty service members and veterans." They cited the case of Aaron Bushnell, the airman who self-immolated in February to protest Israel’s invasion of Gaza. Bushnell, a self-proclaimed "anarchist," was described by the lawmakers as having a worldview "incompatible with that of our constitutional republic and entirely inappropriate for a member of the United States Military who had taken an oath to defend it at all costs."

 WATCH: ROBERT DE NIRO CAMPAIGNING FOR BIDENbell_image

Van Orden’s letter further stated, "This act, motivated by his stated desire to protest Israel in what he described as complicity in injustice, demonstrates the potential for ideologically driven behaviors to undermine the values, discipline, and safety of our military community, irrespective of the political orientation of those ideologies."

 IRAN INCHES CLOSER TO NUCLEAR ARSENAL: UN REPORT EXPOSES ALARMING STOCKPILEbell_image

The lawmakers acknowledged Austin's efforts to combat extremism in the military, noting his establishment of a working group on the issue in 2021. The group is led by Bishop Garrison, the senior adviser to the secretary of defense on human capital and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

 WATCH MAHER TO DEMS: IT'S NOT THAT I'VE GOTTEN OLD, YOUR IDEAS GOT STUPIDbell_image

The GOP representatives concluded their letter by emphasizing the need for a comprehensive approach to the challenge of extremism, stating, "It is imperative that our efforts to identify and mitigate extremist influences encompass all forms of ideology that threaten the cohesion and effectiveness of our armed forces."

In response to the letter, a Pentagon spokesperson stated, "As with all congressional correspondence, the Department will respond directly to the Members."

X