The US Department of Defense (DOD) spent much of March attacking Fox News host and Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson for criticizing them for focusing too much on diversity . Comparing US military ads to those of China proves his point.
The Pentagon lashed out at Carlson after he mocked President Joe Biden for touting “maternity flight suits” and other efforts to make the military appear more inclusive as the DOD’s top priority. Carlson’s criticism seems justified if you look at the way the US military advertises itself and compare it to the advertisements of the Chinese military.
Chinese advertisements are mostly about communicating power and seem completely indifferent to the race or gender of the people featured in them. US military ads look like corporate ads, emphasizing salary benefits, “grievances” and more.
One of the latest Chinese commercials looks like something out of Call of Duty, slapping images of gunfights, missiles and tanks with a rap soundtrack.
The ad shows soldiers blowing up terrorists holding hostages, going so far as to show a terrorist being shot in the head. The message from China is clear: to be a soldier is cool, and our only goal is victory.
Compare that to the US Army’s, titled “US Army Supports Diversity Awareness,” in which the actual war seems to take a back seat.
Here, the Army says its goal is “to create an environment in which people feel comfortable airing their grievances,” because “the Army is a reflection of American society.”
Other ads show soldiers clapping hands with little girls wearing hijabs as music blares in the background. A large text then flashes on the screen: “We are developing battle plans and creating breakthroughs.”
The Army’s concern for diversity goes far beyond its advertisements. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has prioritized educating the military about racism in a bid to root out “extremists” from the ranks. (RELATED: The Army’s Prime Directive for March 17: With Every Decision You Make, Consider Its Effect on LGBTQ People)
Pentagon press secretary and former CNN commentator John Kirby echoed Austin and Biden on prioritizing diversity.
“I want to be very clear from the start that the diversity of our military is one of our greatest strengths,” Kirby said during a March 11 press briefing. “I saw it for myself during long months at sea and in the battles waged by our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I saw him on Capitol Hill last month. And I see it every day right here at the Pentagon.
Other recruitment advertisements in China portray enlistment as a sacrifice made proudly and simply out of love for the People’s Republic of China.
Comparable US military recruiting ads make it look like a college with guns. Chinese advertisements talk about sacrifice. American advertisements often talk about what the military can do for you. The one below is offering a $40,000 signing bonus for “highly qualified candidates.” (RELATED: Secretary of Defense: Pentagon to review diversity in military)
Carlson’s basic argument — that the US military has allowed scrupulous public relations efforts to override its core mission of winning wars — seems borne out by recent public communications. When the Washington Redskins got into hot water in 2019 over allegations that their name was racially insensitive, for example, the DOD quickly released an explainer explaining why its helicopters all bore Native American names.
Then, when Carlson suggested that the U.S. military should focus more on combat, DOD leaders followed suit.
Women lead our deadliest units with character. They will dominate ANY future battlefield on which we are called upon to fight. @TuckerCarlsonThe words of are divisive, do not reflect our values. We have THE most professional, educated, agile and strongest NCO corps in the world. https://t.co/WeqWk6IWDq
— ADM Michael Grinston (@16thSMA) March 11, 2021