It was the picture you saw everywhere after the Capitol riot, and it had nothing to do with the Capitol riot.
In fact, it was the better part of a year earlier, during the riots that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. At that point, the people with the say-so thought it was a good idea to have the D.C. National Guard protecting national monuments.
So, there they were, lined up in formation on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, in minatory fashion, ready to confront rioters who thought it was high time to topple the ultimate statue.
Of course, there were no National Guard troops at the Capitol on Jan. 6, which gave liberals a good opportunity for a side-by-side photography comparison:
The Trump Admin’s response to a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in D.C.
The Trump Admin’s response to violent domestic terrorists breaching and vandalizing our nation’s Capitol.
Remind me again how there aren’t two criminal justice systems in America? ? pic.twitter.com/LpdmsjiG9l
— Congresswoman Marie Newman (@RepMarieNewman) January 6, 2021
#2020Election #Culture Photos show stark contrast in police response to Capitol riot vs. Black Lives Matter protests: It’s a dark day in America. A mob of Trump supporters have breached Capitol… https://t.co/wrEBlgcB7b | https://t.co/9AaTTqXITl | https://t.co/mfR4u1I3JG pic.twitter.com/an1S7bIaOR
— eStream Studios (@eStream_Studios) January 6, 2021
Insane double standard. The picture on the right is from June 2020 and left is today. It shows if you support Trump you get away with murder..
— CEM OZKAN (@csozkan) January 6, 2021
The irony here is that, according to some of the accounts of why the National Guard wasn’t present at the Capitol on Jan. 6, the scenes from the George Floyd/Black Lives Matter protests might have played a role in their absence. Both the then-chief of the Capitol Police and commanding general of the D.C. National Guard have said the “optics” of the Guard’s presence during the Floyd protests made officials skittish about deploying troops.
So we overcorrected.
There are, as you may have heard, still National Guard troops deployed in the District of Columbia. At the time of Joe Biden’s inauguration, roughly 25,000 were there to protect against anything like the Capitol incursion.
The National Guard Bureau said there were “no security incidents reported involving the National Guard” during the inauguration, so you would think it would be time for a quick drawdown.
You’d be wrong: On March 12, The Associated Press reported, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved a request by the Capitol Police to maintain a 2,300-troop presence in the District for another two months.
The last major threat that was reported in the media was “chatter” involving the insane QAnon-inspired theory that Donald Trump was going to be inaugurated as the real president on March 4, the original Inauguration Day in the Constitution.
I don’t know why this was a threat (if this half-witted vacuousness had any merit to it, after all, Trump shouldn’t need anyone’s help), but — and here’s a real plot twist for you — that crock theory didn’t pan out, so the need for a military presence in the nation’s capital should be zero.
It’s not, and that has some enlisted military people asking questions — like, if we need these troops in D.C. all because of the Capitol incursion, why didn’t we need them during the Black Lives Matter-adjacent riots last summer? You know, the ones in the pictures where we had troops deployed to the Lincoln Memorial, only in places like Seattle?
And, according to the military’s top enlisted leader, those questions are a Very Bad Thing.
Welcome to our new woke Pentagon under the Biden administration.
According to Military.com, Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Ramón “CZ” Colón-López, the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s senior enlisted adviser, said during a Thursday media briefing that these troops were being influenced by TV personalities and that it shows the need for extremism training as well as superiors who are “quick to go ahead and correct them.”
Colón-López told reporters that some troops, when the issue of the Jan. 6 riot is broached, asked: “How come you’re not looking at the situation that was going on in Seattle prior to that?”
“This is coming from every echelon that we’re talking to,” he said.
Instead of asking why this is, Colón-López instead seems worried about what they’re going to do about it, since he’s “concerned about the way that some people are looking at the current environment.”
According to Military.com, Austin “ordered the stand-down Feb. 5 and gave units across the military 60 days to discuss extremism in the ranks with troops.” However, the report said, as per Colón-López, that “as the training sessions took place, some themes emerged that worried leaders.”
The anti-extremism trainers wanted “to make sure that military members understand the difference between Seattle and [the Jan. 6 riot in] Washington, D.C.,” Colón-López said.
“But some of our younger members are confused about this, so that’s what we need to go ahead and talk to them about and educate them on, to make sure that they know exactly what they can and cannot do,” he said.
And then there’s the difference between the two, which Colón-López seemed a bit hazy on — something that’s apparently not unusual in our new woke Pentagon under the Biden administration.
“Those are very, very tough conversations to have with people because sometimes they’re emotional about the subject,” Colón-López said, according to McClatchy DC.
“We cannot confuse a First Amendment grievance because of social injustice organization and some of the criminals that latched on to go ahead and loot, destroy and commit other crimes. There’s two clear, distinct groups right there.”
No one is against rooting out extremists, but the problem here isn’t just implicit bias that in one case, the small group of violent extremists should define the larger group of nonviolent individuals, while in the other instance it shouldn’t.
Even if you buy that last summer’s protests were carried out because of “a First Amendment grievance because of social injustice organization” and this is morally superior to pro-Trump protesters, the issue remains that violent element.
I’m sure Colón-López remembers, but it sounds as if he’s hoping you don’t: Those “criminals that latched on to go ahead and loot, destroy and commit other crimes” created a lawless, six-block area known as “CHAZ”/”CHOP” in which they illegally occupied part of a city. They also engaged in other organized acts of violence that included improvised explosive devices and cracked a police officer’s helmet with a metal baseball bat.
No, there wasn’t an attack as epoch-defining as the Jan. 6 Capitol incursion. That’s not the point. The question is whether we ought to have National Guard troops deployed for such an extended period in D.C. for a violent incident over two months ago when they weren’t deployed in Seattle — or other American cities — when there was ongoing violence.
Colón-López said that when it came to younger troops, “we needed to educate them” about those pesky messages they may see on TV and why they shouldn’t trust them, lest they walk down the primrose path to extremism.
“No, that’s not what that meant,” he corrected himself. “There were people advocating [against] social injustice, racial injustice and everything else, and it is the right of citizens.”
Actually, I think he had it right the first time.
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