Seeing the Round Corners

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January 26, 2021


The need for National Guard troops to protect the Nation’s Capitol from potential riots during the Presidential inauguration was most likely grossly over exaggerated.

The riots that occurred on January 6th left senators, congressman and obviously Capitol Police shell shocked as preparations were at full-speed for the inauguration of President Biden.

After portions of the nearly 26,000 National Guard troops rushed to Washington, D. C. were vacated from the Senate chambers, then were pictured standing, laying and sitting on a cold, bare parking garage floor (some even sleeping on the ground), there was outrage from the public and lawmakers.

One Guardsman said they felt incredibly betrayed. Once allowed back into the Senate, one Guardsman said, “We’re going to make a big show of marching back in the building.” (This according to the Military Times:  We were in the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Center parking garage and they kicked us out of the parking garage to make us walk half a mile away to the Hart Senate office building parking garage where we can’t be seen.”)

The blame game of where communications broke down went crazy wild to put it mildly. How could nearly 26,000 troops be ordered to D. C. without the Capitol Police knowing and making proper preparations for such a number.

The Bidens’ efforts to apologize for treatment of the soldiers can only be characterized as tacky. First Lady Jill Biden showed up with baskets of chocolate chip cookies, and said that the Bidens’ son, Beau, served in the Delaware Army National Guard. An especially harsh comparison from outside the D. C. area was comparing President-elect Biden in his basement as was done during the campaign and the Guards sent off to the garages in the Capitol basements.

The blame game and denial of who was told what was endless, starting with the Capitol Police Chief stating she did not instruct the National Guard to vacate the Capitol Building facilities; two Capitol Police officer (anonymously and unauthorized to speak) contradicted her statement; all finally leading to Senator James M. Inofe, R-OK, said “ ‘multiple members of military leadership’ had told him a uniformed Capitol Police officer told them to leave the Capitol Visitor Center,” leading Inofe to opine “The troops didn’t move on their own,” and further, “This isn’t a blame game, but I want to know what happened so we can make sure it can’t happen again.”

Others involved in trying to determine what had happened stated, “If the Capitol Police in any way, shape or form pushed the Guard into a cold garage (40 degrees outside by some reports), then there’s going to be hell to pay.”

According to the National Guard Bureau, by Thursday, January 21st, only 10,600 of the nearly 26,000 remained on duty. As many as 7,000 troops may stay in D. C. until the end of the month. These troops reportedly were asked to volunteer to stay until March 12th,   but no confirmation on how many, if any, volunteered. 

Some of the troops were securing the Capitol itself,  monuments, Metro entrances and the perimeter of Central D. C. which had been pretty much locked down for several days leading up to the inauguration ceremony. Various Capitol Police officers (speaking anonymously) said there was  little planning before the riot or guidelines from department leaders once the riot began.

The grim and despicable statistics of the January 6th riot were five people dead, including one Capitol Police Officer who was hit in the head by a fire extinguisher and another officer who apparently committed suicide after the attack.

Some Congressmen wanted the troops to return to their home states. More to the point, Representative Tom Cotton R-AR was concerned about the unflattering picture created by the large number of troops in the Capitol, and said it made the Capitol look like an armed fortress. Cotton further opined it was time for the National Guard troops to return to their families and jobs, “If there was a ‘credible threat’ against the Capitol, local law enforcement and federal agencies could respond to the crisis rather than relying on the Guard.

At least greater recognition for the National Guard troop conditions may be the result of the fiasco. From this writer’s position, National Guard troops are rarely give recognition for the dreadful conditions they are expected to serve in across the country. Hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and floods come to mind.

The final issue of the fiasco is that “hundreds of troops deployed to the Capitol have now reportedly testing positive for COVID-19 or are now in quarantine.” Need it be pointed out the horrendous impact on their families – both financial and the separation from them.

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