Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia, September 2019
Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Conservative American pundits and politicians have found a surprising new punching bag: the “woke” U.S. military. “Anti-American indoctrination [is] seeping into parts of our military,” Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, railed in a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee in June. “Holy crap,” Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, tweeted in May in response to a recruitment ad showcasing the U.S. Army’s diversity. “Perhaps a woke, emasculated military is not the best idea.”

In the ongoing controversy over “critical race theory” (CRT)—a framework for analyzing racism that was once confined to the

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