Newly elected Republican blasts Pentagon for prioritizing wokeness over addressing veteran suicides
A former Navy SEAL and newly elected Republican lawmaker is sounding off on the Pentagon's failure to address the heartbreaking tragedy of veteran suicide -- even as the military fixates on pushing a woke agenda.
Rep.-elect Derrick Van Orden (R-Wi.) told Breitbart that the top brass are too focused on transgender pronouns and "white rage" to address the issue.
Veteran blasts Pentagon's inattention to suicide
Van Orden said that he has lost about 20 friends, some in active duty and some retired, to suicide. But in his conversations with senior leaders, he has never received a straight answer on how many troops are killing themselves.
"I spoke to so many active-duty officers and senior enlisted guys. I’m like, ‘How many people have killed themselves on your watch?’, and they’re like, ‘I’ll get back to you.’ That means it’s not priority.”
Instead of focusing on transgender pronouns, the top brass needs to be thinking about the families devastated by veteran suicide, Van Orden said.
"The pronouns the Department of Defense [and] General Milley [and] General Austin needs to start thinking about — the pronouns should be ‘dead’ and ‘widow’ and ‘fatherless child.’ Those are the pronouns they need to be focusing on," he said.
The military is also having a recruitment problem, something many suspect is being fueled by the military's aggressively political turn under President Biden.
The poison is coming from the top: General Mark Milley famously testified in a congressional hearing about his burning desire to "understand white rage."
As further evidence of the Pentagon's twisted priorities, Van Orden noted that the Pentagon scrupulously tracks troops infected with COVID, but not suicides.
“They’re listing how many of [our] troops were affected with COVID on these people’s reports, but [they’re] not listing the amount of troops that committed suicide on their watch. It doesn’t make any sense.”
"Take the kid gloves off"
According to official figures, veterans commit suicide at nearly twice the rate of the civilian population. An estimated 17 veterans kill themselves every day, but that already high figure may be only half the true number, a recent study found.
Unfortunately, Van Orden said he is unaware of any senior officers being held accountable for the suicide crisis.
“Any commanding officer of any unit of any size that cannot — off the top of his or her head — tell you exactly how many men and women have committed suicide on their watch should be fired immediately,” he said.
“It’s time to take the kid gloves off of this stuff and take it very, very seriously.”