The entire United States military — from the Pentagon on down to the rank and file, including veterans — declared a virtual war on Fox News host and Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson. But they did so based on an intentional misrepresentation of his comments.
Carlson ruffled a series of starched uniforms Tuesday when he argued that the priorities touted by President Joe Biden — from uniforms tailored to better fit women to maternity flight suits — were less important than and should never supersede the military’s intended purpose: to fight and win wars. Allowing those priorities to shift — and even bragging about doing so intentionally — would “make a mockery of the U.S. military.”
The immediate response was predictable: outrage. Outrage that Carlson, who never served in the military by the way, would deign to suggest that pregnant women had no business serving in the military. (RELATED: ‘We Are Not A Mockery’: Amy McGrath Calls On Fox News To Apologize For Tucker Carlson’s Military Comments)
But that wasn’t what he said. What Carlson said was substantively no different than what my own First Sergeant told me when I informed him that I was pregnant with my fourth child: “The Army didn’t issue you children.”
That might sound harsh to those outside the military community, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t a warning that I was somehow less valuable or would be treated differently because I was pregnant. It wasn’t an attempt to blow me off and tell me I could no longer come to the chain of command for assistance. Rather, it was a simple reminder that although my personal situation and priorities may have changed, I should not expect the mission — nor my part in its fulfillment — to change. I should not expect the priorities of the Army to change.
And none of those things did change. I worked every day up to the day my daughter was delivered, and I was still expected to pull my weight. When I needed to see a doctor for prenatal care, I was allowed to do so. When my other children were stuck at home with chicken pox, my command worked with me to make sure I could stay with them — but the understanding was that I was still a part of the mission, and if I were needed, I would be expected to make other arrangements. (RELATED: I Was Tear-Gassed, Along With 60 Of My Closest Friends, In An Enclosed Space)
In the United States, we have the luxury of a military that can do things like take care of its pregnant service members. We have the manpower and resources to allow pregnant service members to care for themselves and their babies without taking away from the overall mission. And the reason we have that is that we have thus far not allowed our priorities — mission readiness and strength in combat — to be fully compromised by a focus on issues that are irrelevant to the purpose of winning wars.
All Carlson did was warn Americans that those priorities — if President Joe Biden’s recent comments are any indication — are in danger of being compromised. And he is absolutely correct in that assessment.
Virginia Kruta is an Associate Editor at the Daily Caller. She served 10 years in the Army and had two children while serving on active duty at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.