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As DC Politicians' Soldier Stunt Drags on, Military Command's Backup Plans Kick In

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We knew sending 26,000 National Guard troops into the District of Columbia for the inauguration was going to be a waste of resources even if everything went flawlessly.

In one sense, it did. “There were no security incidents reported involving the National Guard,” a statement from the National Guard Bureau after the inauguration read.

“Our ability to move 26,000 Soldiers and Airmen to DC from every state and territory in less than two weeks would not have been possible without the support of our governors and their adjutants general.”

So, thanks for coming, guys. No real threats after all. But would you mind sticking around for a spell? We’ve heard chatter some of those armed militias that didn’t materialize the first time around might be planning something on the “historic” Inauguration Day on March 4. (No, seriously.)

Aside from being a tremendous waste of resources, it also turns out it apparently wasn’t flawlessly planned — so when a food contract went bad, the Guard had to start ordering from Washington restaurants.

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On Friday, Military.com reported that Guardsmen still deployed to the nation’s capital after the inauguration — which numbered about 7,000 at the end of last week — were eating what National Guard Bureau spokesman Maj. Aaron Thacker termed “a large quantity of various food choices off of the local economy.”

“There are contingencies to the master feeding plan that are put in motion in the event that the primary feeding plan has an issue,” Thacker said in a Thursday email.

“The claim that Guard troops were short of meals first surfaced on social media,” Military.com reported.

“In a since-deleted Nextdoor post, a northern Virginia resident asked neighbors whether they knew of any restaurants or organizations willing to work with the Guard to provide food, citing a lack of supplies that particularly affected troops self-isolating in hotel rooms after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Have our politicians disregarded our National Guard troops in D.C.?

“Military.com reached out to Guardsmen deployed to D.C., some of whom said the food situation was initially ‘not great,’ citing incidents in which rations delivered to hotel rooms were delayed. But the troops, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said these appeared to be isolated incidents, not systemic problems.”

It was systemic enough, however, that restaurants had to be called in. The Guard Bureau wouldn’t say how many troops were fed by the restaurants or how much was spent on meals.

Now, granted, there was also a further safeguard, with “tens of thousands” of “Meals, Ready-to-Eat” at the military’s disposal. Our troops weren’t going to starve, although the fact the Guard Bureau had to resort to buying from restaurants is a pretty dire backup plan. That said, it helped the local economy and Guardsmen doubtlessly preferred it to MREs.

The question is whether or not this could have been avoided, either by not sending the troops or by better preparation. But how dare we question the price when we got to see an impressive show of power and photo-ops like this?



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Not too long ago, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was among many Washington, D.C., politicians taking selfies with the National Guard. They were greeting them, buying them pizzas, showing them love. They should have, after all. There were 26,000 military personnel in the capital for the inauguration, all to protect them from the evil Trumpist threat lurking around every corner.

But let’s not say they were treated well.

There were the infamous shots of Guardsmen sleeping in a parking garage after being booted out of the Capitol.

Roughly 200 of the troops who were sent to D.C. contracted COVID-19. They’ve been quarantining in the city before they return.

The incident caused several states to order their National Guard troops back. Now, it turns out local businesses actually cared about the troops more than our politicians did.

Military.com pointed out that “18 restaurants around Capitol Hill donated meals to troops — from pizza to burgers to doughnuts. Some, including local chain We the Pizza, offered residents the chance to donate pizzas to the troops at $3 per head.” The USO, meanwhile, also partnered with corporations to bring in food for the troops.

“Corporations and other groups make donations to the USO … and the USO decides how to offer those donations as support to the military,” Thacker said. “[But] those donations are not a replacement for any food provided by the military — it is only a supplement to boost morale.”

They got to eat some Chick-fil-A, though, according to Military.com. That’s always something.

While the food contract issue probably won’t elicit the same reaction as Guardsmen sleeping in parking lots, it’s yet another sign that the troops were disposable props — and expensive ones, at that — which nobody seemed to know much what to do with.

On the downside, you could get COVID-19 and have to sleep in parking garages. On the upside, at least they got some decent meals out of this. Compliments, of course, of the American taxpayer.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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