UPDATE II:

Except for the Commandant of the Coast Guard, the only ranking member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who had not yet commented on the Charlottesville racism and bigotry was the Chairman himself, Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford.

As pointed out here, Dunford has been busy toning down the bellicose rhetoric on North Korea spouted by his boss.

The General has now taken time to join his fellow members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to also condemn racism and bigotry.

Jim Garamone at the DoD News, Defense Media Activity:

The chairman said he has read the tweets posted by his fellow members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “I have been traveling, so I’ve been following in bits and pieces what’s been happening in Charlottesville and very saddened by the events there and the loss of life of the young lady who was hit by a vehicle,” he said. “I can absolutely and unambiguously tell you there is no place — no place — for racism and bigotry in the U.S. military or in the United States as a whole.”

The chairman said the Joint Chiefs’ statements were important. “They were speaking directly to the force and to the American people: to the force to make clear that that kind of racism and bigotry is not going to stand inside the force. And to the American people, to remind them of the values for which we stand in the U.S. military, which are reflective of the values of the United States,” he said.

The chairman said he was late in responding to the tragedy, “but only because I’ve been in Beijing and not really decisively following the developments over the weekend,” he said.

Update I:

One more military top leader has condemned the hate and racism we witnessed in Charlottesville this weekend.

Chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Joseph Lengyel:

I stand with my fellow Joint Chiefs in condemning racism, extremism & hatred. Our diversity is our strength.

We have not yet heard from the Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Paul Zukunft, but it is only fair to note that the Admiral was one of several top military officers who spoke up when the now bigot-in-chief got up at the wrong side of his bed one morning a couple of weeks ago, and tweeted “an unequivocal ban on transgender people serving in the military,” citing – among other – the “tremendous medical costs …that transgenders in the military would entail.”

When transgender Lt. Taylor Miller of the U.S. Coast Guard was quoted as saying, “I feel very unwanted. Mortified and embarrassed,” the Commandant, according to oldsaltblog.com, reached out to Lt. Miller and to other twelve transgender members of the US Coast Guard to express his support. Zukunft said,

“If you read that story, Taylor’s family has disowned her. … And I told Taylor, I will not turn my back. We have made an investment in you and you have made an investment in the Coast Guard and I will not break faith.”

“And so that was the commitment to our people right now. Very small numbers, but all of them are doing meaningful Coast Guard work today.”

Following last year’s lifting of the ban on transgender individuals in the military, Zukunft, along with then-Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, released the following statement:

The U.S. Coast Guard has been involved in the Department of Defense’s extensive review of this issue, and will align its policies with the other military services…All qualified people who wish to serve in our Nation’s military should have the opportunity to do so. Today’s announcement is another important step in that direction.

BTW, “Zukunft” means “future”

Original Post:

We have all seen the remarkable photo of U.S. Marine Corps four-star general John Kelly standing dejected as his boss was giving “white supremacists an unequivocal boost.” A Marine, a General never defeated in battle — hopefully not to be defeated by this president.

We have not heard General Kelly comment on this shameful episode yet — or take action. He may, or he may not…

However, in an unprecedented move, the four US Joint Chiefs have spoken out and have issued statements publicly and unequivocally condemning neo-Nazis, the Klu Klux Klan and white supremacist groups.

CNN:

The statements are not directly addressing Trump’s comments but are instead presented as a message to the general public, their troops and potential recruits. The statements are notable as US military leaders traditionally uphold an ironclad commitment to stay out of politics.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson was the first member of the military brass to weigh in on the issue, tweeting as news of the violence unfolded on Saturday.

“Events in Charlottesville unacceptable and musn’t be tolerated @USNavy for ever stands against intolerance & hatred,” the post said

The Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller:

“No place for racial hatred or extremism in @USMC. Our core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment frame the way Marines live and act.”

Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark Milley:

“The Army doesn’t tolerate racism, extremism, or hatred in our ranks. It’s against our Values and everything we’ve stood for since 1775.”

Air Force Gen. Dave Goldfein:

“I stand with my fellow service chiefs in saying we’re always stronger together. It’s who we are as Airmen. Integrity, service and excellence…that’s what America’s Air Force is about…”

‘Nough said.

Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist
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