Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called the US military “woke” and “emasculated” compared to Russia’s military in a tweet on Thursday.
Cruz based his criticism on a TikTok video comparing a Russian recruitment ad with a US Army commercial spot. While Russia’s ad featured moody lighting and buff, shirtless men writing in the dirt, the US Army clip offered an animated telling of the life of US Army Corporal Emma Malonelord, who was raised by a lesbian couple in San Francisco.
Insider reached out to Cruz’s office for additional comment on the tweet.
“After graduating high school at the top of my class, and after meeting with an Army recruiter, I found it: A way to prove my inner strength,” Mannelord says in the clip.
Malonelord is one of five military members featured in the Army’s newest commercial series featuring a diverse array of recruits. The series, dubbed “The Calling,” aims at sharing “a rich tapestry of stories that represent the diverse upbringings and life experiences that make up today’s Army,” according to a US Army press release.
Cruz never served in the military. During a 2015 interview with CNBC’s John Harwood, he said that he had “considered it many times” but had never enlisted. “I will say it’s something I always regretted. I wished I had spent time in the service. It’s something I respect immensely.”
Authorities arrested a member of the Wisconsin National Guard on Monday in connection to his participation in the January 6 Capitol insurrection, marking the fourth service member to be charged in the deadly pro-Trump riot.
Abram Markofski, a private first-class, and his friend, Brandon Nelson, were arrested in Wisconsin on Monday and charged with four counts, including entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds and violent entry or disorderly conduct, according to the Justice Department.
Markofski and Nelson both admitted to entering the Capitol on January 6, after the duo drove to Washington, DC, from Madison, Wisconsin, the day before in order to see then-President Donald Trump speak, according to a probable-cause affidavit.
The Justice Department
Investigators found photographic evidence of both men inside the building during the riot, court documents said. Markofski’s cellphone GPS data also appeared to place him in areas that are “at least partially within the US Capitol Building” during the riot.
Markofski and Nelson appeared in a Madison court on Monday, where a judge released them ahead of a May 10 virtual hearing, according to The AP. The men have also been barred from entering DC.
The Biden administration plans to withdraw all American forces in Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the deadly terrorist attacks that dragged the US into a decades-long conflict, The Washington Post first reported Tuesday.
“We will begin an orderly drawdown of the remaining forces before May 1 and plan to have all US troops out of the country before the 20th anniversary of 9/11,” a senior administration official said Tuesday, confirming The Post’s reporting.
Under the deal negotiated by the Trump administration with the Taliban, the US was expected to have all US forces out of the country by May 1.
“We have … long known that there is no military solution to the problems plaguing Afghanistan, and we will focus our efforts on supporting the ongoing peace process,” the official said Tuesday.
“That means putting the full weight of our government behind diplomatic efforts to reach a peace agreement between the Taliban and the Afghan government, but what we will not do is use our troops as bargaining chips in that process,” the official added.
In March, Biden said that “it’s going to be hard to meet the May 1 deadline,” explaining that for tactical reasons, “it’s hard to get those troops out.” He stressed, though, that “it is not my intention to stay there for a long time.”
The next day, the Taliban said that “if God forbid, all foreign troops [do] not withdraw from Afghanistan on the specified date,” then the insurgent force “will be compelled to defend its religion and homeland and continue its Jihad and armed struggle against foreign forces to liberate its country.”
It’s unclear if the Taliban will follow through on that threat with the new September deadline, but the administration is hopeful the new plan will prevent renewed fighting.
“If we break the May 1st deadline negotiated by the previous administration with no clear plan to exit, we will be back at war with the Taliban, and that was not something President Biden believed was in the national interest,” a person familiar with the planning told The Post. “We’re going to zero troops by September.”
The senior administration official said Tuesday that the US has “told the Taliban in no uncertain terms that any attacks on US troops as we undergo a safe and orderly withdrawal will be met with a forceful response.”
The original agreement for a full withdrawal by May 1 was conditions-based, requiring all sides to “demonstrate their commitment to advancing the peace process.”
US military leaders have repeatedly said that the Taliban has not lived up to these commitments. Biden’s plan to withdraw, however, “is not conditions-based,” the official said Tuesday.
“The president has judged that conditions-based approach, which has been the approach of the past two decades, is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever,” the official added.
The official said the September 11 deadline was set largely due to “operational and logistical issues related to ensuring that we have a safe and orderly withdrawal” and that it may be “completed well in advance” of that date.
The US will also coordinate with NATO allies and partners about the drawdown of their forces over the same time period, the official added.
The war in Afghanistan, which began on October 7, 2001, has been America’s longest-running conflict. The US has been steadily pulling troops out of the country amid negotiations with the Taliban.
The plan to pull troops out by September comes as the US shifts its focus to what are considered to be higher-level threats, such as rivals like China and Russia.
“Afghanistan just does not rise to the level of those other threats at this point,” The Post’s source said, adding that the US would “remain committed diplomatically” in Afghanistan.
Biden has determined “that the best path forward to advance American interests is to end the war in Afghanistan after 20 years so that we can address the global threat picture as it exists today, not as it was two decades ago,” the official said Tuesday.
The French military are testing Boston Dynamics’ famous robot dog Spot in combat scenarios.
French newspaper Ouest-France reported Wednesday that students at France’s Saint-Cyr military school tested five robots on Tuesday and Wednesday to assess their suitability for combat. Boston Dynamics’ Spot was among the robots.
Students tested the robots in three scenarios – an offensive maneuver at a crossroads, a defensive one during both the day and the night, and finally an urban-combat scenario. The students ran each exercise twice, once without the robots, and once with them.
One of the students who participated in the exercises said the robots offered some benefits in reconnaissance. “I was killed during the urban combat exercise without robots, but not the time when the robot had done reconnaissance,” he said.
But Spot was not without its drawbacks, the same student added. “Spot ran out of battery in the middle of combat,” he said.
Spot was provided to the French military via a French company called Shark Robotics. Boston Dynamics’ vice president of business development Michael Perry told the Verge the company was unaware of Spot’s sale to the French military.
“We’re learning about it as you are […] We’re not clear on the exact scope of this engagement,” Perry told the Verge.
Perry also said the company had strict rules forbidding customers from weaponizing Spot, but that this wouldn’t stop the military using it. “We think that the military, to the extent that they do use robotics to take people out of harm’s way, we think that’s a perfectly valid use of the technology,” he said.
To show gratitude toward veterans and active-duty members of the armed forces, many retailers offer special discounts to active and former military personnel, veterans, families of the Armed Forces, and first-responders.
By presenting a military ID or filling out an application online, eligible shoppers can save up to 50% on everything from new tech to insurance.
To make it easier to navigate, we’ve rounded up a list of stores offering military discounts year-round and on Memorial Day, below. And though there are a good amount listed, it’s always a good practice to ask at any store you’re shopping at since many don’t advertise, or in case they require in-person verification.
Check out all the stores that offer military discounts year-round:
Under Armour:10% off online and in-store for Active Duty, Retirees, Military Spouses, Military Family Members, as well as a 10% discount for First Responders, active Police, Fire, and EMT customers. Verify yourself here to get the discount online.
The US Army and US Secret Service are working together to determine which troops participating in President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration need additional background screening, an Army spokesperson told Insider.
The move, which was first reported by Army Times, follows a request from Colorado Rep. Jason Crow, a former Army ranger, for a review of inauguration troops to root out those sympathetic to domestic terrorists, which is how individuals who stormed the Capitol last week have been described.
The Army spokesperson also said that the DC National Guard is providing additional training on reporting known or suspected extremist behavior to troops coming into the nation’s capital.
The US Army and the US Secret Service are looking at additional security screening for some US troops expected to take part in President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week, an Army spokesperson told Insider Tuesday.
“The Army is working with the Secret Service to determine which service members supporting the national special security event for the Inauguration require additional background screening,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
Army Times was first to report this development as security concerns rise after the Capitol siege by a pro-Trump mob and an FBI warning ta ht far-right groups are discussing days of “armed protests” ahead of inauguration.
Crow’s concerns about domestic terror sympathies in the armed forces stem from the assault on the Capitol last week that included military veterans and possibly current service members.
Other veterans in Congress, such as Arizona Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, condemned military personnel who participated in the riots, saying: “In attacking the Capitol, the Congress, and the Constitution that they swore to protect, any current or former military members who may have participated have disgraced themselves and committed serious crimes against the People of the United States.”
The Army spokesperson who emailed Insider said that all US service members take part in the annual Threat Awareness and Reporting Program, which urges military personnel to report known or suspected extremist behavior.
The official said that the DC National Guard is providing additional training to service members coming into DC. There are already several thousand Guard members in the nation’s capital, and the Department of Defense is authorized to deploy as many as 15,000 troops ahead of the inauguration.
As for current members of the military that may have participated in the storming of the Capitol, the Army official said that this is being investigated.
“There is no place for extremism in the military and we will investigate each report individually and take appropriate action,” the spokesperson said.
“The Army is committed to working closely with the FBI as they identify people who participated in the violent attack on the Capitol to determine if the individuals have any connection to the Army,” the official added. “Any type of activity that involves violence, civil disobedience, or a breach of peace may be punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or under state or federal law.”
Talking with Crow on Sunday, McCarthy told the congressman that “DoD is aware of further possible threats posed by would-be terrorists in the days up to and including Inauguration Day and is working with local and federal law enforcement to coordinate security preparations.”