With thousands of National Guard troops deployed, Washington D.C. looks like an occupied city during wartime. The only war currently going on is ideological. However, Democrats who are proceeding with a vindictive and constitutionally questionable impeachment against President Trump are worried about protests and demonstrations as they proceed. The easy answer would be to drop it since an election has already removed him.
Instead, they will keep the National Guard troops who were deployed to secure Inauguration Day for a much longer but undetermined duration, according to Politico. This decision seems premature as the investigation into the lack of preparedness of January 6th is ongoing. The FBI and the NYPD appropriately alerted Capitol Police about threats of violence during the certification vote. Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund has stated that he requested to call in the Nation Guard, but security officials for the House and Senate rejected his request.
At this point, it does not appear as if the Capitol was inherently vulnerable. Instead, it seems like it was allowed to remain vulnerable. Neither sergeant at arms for the House or Senate made a public statement, but Sund alleges there were concerns about optics. It is still unknown if the congressional leadership was involved in the decision to refuse National Guard assistance.
If the guard had been called in to assist in securing the Capitol on January 6th, they would have had a clear mission based on intelligence regarding a potential attack. A national tragedy could have been avoided. Now, members of the National Guard tell Politico that there is no specific mission, and they have not received any intelligence about credible threats.
The rank-and-file have so far been given no official justifications, threat reports or any explanation for the extended mission, said two Guard members — nor have they seen any violence thus far.
There is no defined situation, or mission statement. … This is very unusual for any military mission,” said one member, who has deployed twice to Afghanistan. “We are usually given a situation, with defined mission perimeters, and at least a tentative plan on how to execute those objectives.”
The lack of direction is compounded by a lack of accommodations, food, and other resources. At one point over the weekend, the troops that remain were told to leave the Capitol building, where they had been taking rest breaks, and moved to a parking garage adjacent to the Senate. Some have reported to Politico that they have been buying their own meals due to a lack of supplies for the deployment, and many are foregoing better pay from their civilian jobs while they remain in the city.
Former Representative and Army National Guard Major Tulsi Gabbard finds the situation untenable. In an interview on Watters World, she expressed surprise at the treatment of the Guard troops. Host Jesse Watters asked her if the size of the deployment was appropriate. Gabbard responded:
No. The militarization of our nation’s capital was not only unnecessary. Yes, we need to make sure that this transition of power happens peacefully and safely, but to send that message both to the American people and the world that somehow our nation’s capital is under attack and threat of a siege of taking over, I just don’t think that’s the message that we want to send to the American people and to the world.
Gabbard added that the enduring presence of the several thousand troops staying in the capital is a terrible message to send and wondered what our national leaders are trying to accomplish. Watters noted 25,000 troops is enough to take over a country and said the deployment was intended to keep Americans scared of their fellow citizens.
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) January 25, 2021
Some Republican governors are having no part of it. Texas, Florida, New Hampshire, and Montana have all called their National Guard troops home. A reported 7,000 will remain through February 6th, with 5,000 staying until mid-March. Governor Ron DeSantis went so far as to say the National Guard are soldiers, not “Nancy Pelosi’s servants.”
The continued deployment does seem like a considerable expense and a weird message to send our global foes in the absence of credible threats. Call it an overreaction to an underreaction when law enforcement agencies provided intelligence before January 6th. And in the end, it’s not a situation that gives us confidence in our national leaders.