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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!
Top Navy official calls out government lawyers for spying on legal team of Navy SEAL accused of war crimes
In a scathing letter, a top Navy legal official on Sunday expressed "grave ethical concerns" over revelations that government prosecutors used tracking software in emails to defense lawyers in ongoing cases involving two Navy SEALs in San Diego.
The letter, written by David G. Wilson, Chief of Staff of the Navy's Defense Service Offices, requested a response by Tuesday from the Chief of the Navy's regional law offices detailing exactly what type of software was used and what it could do, who authorized it, and what controls were put in place to limit its spread on government networks.
"As our clients learn about these extraordinary events in the media, we are left unarmed with any facts to answer their understandable concerns about our ability to secure the information they must trust us to maintain. This situation has become untenable," Wilson wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Task & Purpose on Monday.
Those really sweet, hand-held drones that the Army bought in January were finally put to the test as they were fielded to some lucky soldiers for the first time at the beginning of May.
For many people, millennials are seen as super-entitled, self-involved, over-sensitive snowflakes who don't have the brains or brawn to, among other noble callings, serve as the next great generation of American warfighters.
Retired Navy Adm. William H. McRaven is here to tell you that you have no idea what you're talking about.
Supreme Court refuses to hear yet another challenge to the controversial Feres Doctrine on military medical malpractice
The Supreme Court on Monday denied a petition to hear a wrongful death case involving the controversial Feres Doctrine — a major blow to advocates seeking to undo the 69-year-old legal rule that bars U.S. service members and their families from suing the government for injury or death deemed to have been brought on by military service.
FORT IRWIN, California -- Anyone who's been here has seen it: the field of brightly painted boulders surrounding a small mountain of rocks that symbolizes unit pride at the Army's National Training Center.
For nearly four decades, combat units have painted their insignias on boulders near the road into this post. It's known as Painted Rocks.