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There’s A Big Problem With That Viral Military Spouse Photo
As a one-time ‘Ebola czar’ under President Barack Obama, Democratic political operative Ron Klain spent months fighting to stop viral outbreaks. On Friday, though, he found himself in the middle of one.
May 11 marked Military Spouse Appreciation Day, which Klain decided to celebrate by bitching about the alleged gender and racial composition of the military spouses who joined Ivanka Trump and the White House in a now-viral tweet.
The assertion by Klain is clear: the White House is whitewashing the military!
But there’s a big problem: this photo doesn’t show what Klain says it does.
The photo was actually taken at the annual Joint Armed Forces of Washington Luncheon (JAFOWL) on April 24, not the White House. In fact, it only shows members of the Air Force Officers' Spouses' Club. I mean, you don’t have to be a clotheshorse to notice the dress Ivanka is wearing in the Klain photo matches the one she wore on April 24 and not the one she wore on May 11:
Here’s the thing: Klain’s not totally wrong. A 2016 Pentagonreport on DoD demographics found that minorities make up a third of enlisted and nearly a quarter (23%) of officers, an increase in recent years. And when it comes to elevating the voices and stories of underrepresented veterans, this photo is a fine illustration of exactly what not to do.
But it’s not even the right f*cking photo, and the JAFOWL context matters in explaining why there’s a lack of representation here. First, a little background on the group:
In June of 1977, the Navy Officers’ Wives’ Club contacted Art Buchwald’s office to ask if he would speak at one of its luncheons. Answering the telephone himself, Mr. Buchwald declined, saying that he received too many requests from military wives’ clubs. When asked, “What if all five of the clubs sponsored a joint luncheon?” he said he would accept the invitation. The presidents of the other military officers’ wives’ clubs in the area were contacted and all agreed it was a great idea! Thus, the Joint Armed Forces Officers’ Wives’ Luncheon became an annual affair.
Given that the wives in this photo chose to marry Air Force officers — 20 percent of whom identify as a racial minority, below the rate for officers across the entire U.S. armed forces — it would make sense that there might be a distinct under-representation of black and Asian military spouses, and it’s certainly a problem. But the issue isn’t that the White House only invited white women — it’s that organizations like JAFOWL, though they serve the military and veterans communities admirably, are stuck in the f*cking 1950s.
Many others believe that groups like JAFOWL reinforce a hierarchy where officers’ spouses have a louder and more prominent voice than enlisted spouses, and Military Spouse Appreciation Day is a fantastic chance to get the Pentagon’s attention on like this. Sadly, Ron Klain ruined it with an inaccurate cheap shot at the White House — and in an age where all quarters of the government shout down their critics as “fake news,” this sort of inaccuracy can muddle the waters on a subject indefinitely.
As the commander-in-chief might say: Sad!
North Korea threatens to resume nuclear weapons and ICBM tests if US-South Korea military exercises proceed
SEOUL (Reuters) - The United States looks set to break a promise not to hold military exercises with South Korea, putting talks aimed at getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons at risk, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
The United States' pattern of "unilaterally reneging on its commitments" is leading Pyongyang to reconsider its own commitments to discontinue tests of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), the ministry said in a pair of statements released through state news agency KCNA.
Customs and Border Patrol denied a Marine vet entry into the US for his a scheduled citizenship interview
A deported Marine Corps veteran who has been unable to come back to the U.S. for more than a decade was denied entry to the country Monday morning when he asked to be let in for a scheduled citizenship interview.
Roman Sabal, 58, originally from Belize, came to the San Ysidro Port of Entry around 7:30 on Monday morning with an attorney to ask for "parole" to attend his naturalization interview scheduled for a little before noon in downtown San Diego. Border officials have the authority to temporarily allow people into the country on parole for "humanitarian or significant public benefit" reasons.
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer took the reins at the Pentagon on Monday, becoming the third acting defense secretary since January.
Spencer is expected to temporarily lead the Pentagon while the Senate considers Army Secretary Mark Esper's nomination to succeed James Mattis as defense secretary. The Senate officially received Esper's nomination on Monday.
U.S. Special Operations Command may be on the verge of making the dream of flying infantry soldiers a reality, but the French may very well beat them to it.
On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron shared an unusual video showing a man on a flying platform — widely characterized as a "hoverboard" — maneuvering through the skies above the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris armed with what appears to be a dummy firearm.
The video was accompanied with a simple message of "Fier de notre armée, moderne et innovante," which translates to "proud of our army, modern and innovative," suggesting that the French Armed Forces may be eyeing the unusual vehicle for potential military applications.
A lawmaker wants to know if the Pentagon ever exposed the American public to ticks infected with bioweapons
If you've ever wondered if the Pentagon has ever exposed the American public to ticks infected with biological weapons, you're not alone.
Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) authored an amendment to the House version of the Fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act would require the Defense Department Inspector General's Office to find out if the U.S. military experimented with using ticks and other insects as biological weapons between 1950 and 1975.
If such experiments took place, the amendment would require the inspector general's office to tell lawmakers if any of the ticks or other bugs "were released outside of any laboratory by accident or experiment design."