Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley defended the teaching of critical race theory to military members, stating that they were learning about it to gain "situational understanding about the country for which we are here to defend."
"But I do think it's important, actually, for those of us in uniform, to be open minded and be widely read in the United States Military Academy is a university. And it is important that we train, and we understand," said Milley responded to a request from Representative Chrissy Houlahan to comment on the issue during a House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.
In regards to the Capitol riot on January 6, Milley stated "I want to understand white rage, and I'm white, and I want to understand it. So what is it that cause 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."
Milely said he wanted to keep an "open mind here, and I 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," he continued.
Milley stated that he’s read books from Communist leaders, and asked if that made him a Communist, drawing parallels to reading from critical race theory texts.
"I've read Mao Tse Tung, I’ve read Karl Marx, I've read Lenin, that doesn't make me a communist. So what is wrong with understanding, having some situational understanding about the country for which we are here to defend," said Milley.
He said he found it "offensive" that people were accusing military personnel of being "woke… because we're studying some theories that are out there"
Those theories, Milley states were based on what started with "Harvard Law School years ago, and it proposed that there were laws in the United States, antibellum laws prior to the Civil War, that led to a power differential with African-Americans that were three quarters of a human being when this country was formed. And then we had a civil war, an emancipation proclamation to change it. And we brought it up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It took another 100 years to change that."