Supporters of Tata point out the hypocrisy of the media attention on his tweets versus the many offensive statements Biden has made.
“We will not be lectured by the supporters of a man who once expressed concern that desegregation would turn his neighborhood into a ‘jungle,'” said a senior Pentagon official who supports Tata.
A senior White House official added:
As a person of color, it’s painful to watch the media and democrats attack a decorated combat veteran for tweeting a few off color comments while they ignore the record of a man running for president whose career highlights include working with segregationists to keep black folks out of his neighborhood and pushing a crime bill that snatched from countless black families any chance of a shot at the American dream. If institutional racism exists, Joe Biden is one of its principal architects.
Supporters also point out that after Tata retired, he did not go to work in a lucrative defense contractor job as many generals do and instead went to work in the public sector to improve access to advanced education for Black, Hispanic, and low-income household students.
A 2015 Harvard study
noted success of the Wake County Public School System when Tata was superintendent between January 2011 and September 2012:
[T]he policy succeeded in moving the district toward the goal of equalizing access to advanced math coursework, both by increasing enrollment among Black students, Hispanic students, and students from lower-income families, and by reducing the role of these demographic factors in the course-assignment process.
Tata served 28 years in the U.S. Army, including as the deputy commanding general of 25,000 troops in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2007.
Retired CIA paramilitary officer Ronald Moeller, who served as the CIA’s chief at Bagram Air Base in 2006, remembers going with Tata out to Afghanistan’s treacherous Korengal Valley to visit troops on Christmas in 2007. The outpost they were landing at had been under intermittent fire all day.
When they got the all clear to to land, they were immediately ambushed by the Taliban.
“It looked like the Fourth of July: [rocket propelled grenades] criss-crossing the sky, tracer fire every which way let loose. I and Tata’s aide pushed Tata out of the helicopter and he made a very good [parachute landing fall] on the ground,” Moeller said.
“You could hear the ‘ding ding ding’ of the bullets impacting the helicopter,” he said.
Moeller said he and Tata’s aide had to restrain him a couple of times because wanted to join the fight, armed only with a Beretta M9 pistol.
“He’s a paratrooper, so I get that,” Moeller said.
He said although he was just a civilian, Tata took time to listen to him and ask questions.
“He has a great ability to listen to others, and to make intelligent decisions based on all the input he’s given,” Moeller said, adding that he also wanted contrary opinions and is not afraid to go against group-think.
Moeller said Tata also knows how to get things done. When people were moving slowly, he said, “You always want to be behind and beside him because you didn’t want to be in front of the blast. That’s the paratrooper in him.”
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