Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton was blasted by the left for believing federal troops should be sent into areas around the country where left-wing riots had been busy destroying, rioting, and assaulting, but when it came home to where the left actually sits in power with a riot that was primarily against them, they suddenly wanted thousands of troops around as protection.
After the January 6 riot, Democrat leadership has kept the National Guard close by, but Cotton, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, knows there’s no credible threat and that it’s time to send the troops home. Democrats, however, are gripping tightly to the reins.
Penning a new op-ed for Fox News, Cotton couldn’t help but recall how upset the left got when he suggested sending in troops to quell the left-wing riots across the country, remembering that they got so upset that Cotton’s piece on the subject at the New York Times cost its op-ed editor his job.
Fast forward to January 6, the left’s attitudes suddenly changed:
But when a different mob chanting different slogans threatened our Capitol, many of my critics sang a different tune.
I’m ruefully gratified that so many of them have rallied to my side. Perhaps they’ll show more gratitude for law enforcement the next time a mob threatens public safety and order, no matter what cause the perpetrators claim to support.
The National Guard announced that around 15,000 soldiers would be returned to their homes this week with around 7,000 remaining until this weekend, but as Cotton says, many will remain. As a member of the Intelligence Committee, Cotton is curious as to why they will remain seeing as how no credible threat is present:
I sit on the Intelligence Committee, but I’m aware of no specific, credible threat reporting—as distinguished from aspirational, uncoordinated bluster on the internet—that justifies this continued troop presence. Thus, I believe the rest of these soldiers should also go home to their families and civilian jobs.
Cotton goes on to say that the lesson of the Capitol riot “is not that we should quarter a standing army at the Capitol just in case, but rather that our security measures should be calibrated to the actual threats.”
Leading up to the January 6 riot, Capitol security leadership, including Washington’s Democrat mayor Muriel Bowser, all failed to do what was necessary to prevent violence at the Capitol, with the House and Senate Sargeants-at-arms rejecting requests for National Guard backup, and Bowser insisting that Guardsmen who were deployed come unarmed. Bowser also sent a letter to the acting Attorney General, saying she didn’t need additional federal law enforcement.
Then the riot happened, and both sergeants-at-arms have resigned for their failure. Bowser remains employed, however.
The failures haven’t stopped there. Cotton goes on to say that Democrat leadership is now drawing all the wrong conclusions from what happened on January 6:
Rather than drawing the right lesson from these failures—that security measures should be calibrated to actual threats—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Capitol Hill security overreacted, egged on by excitable cable news pundits and Democratic partisans eager to portray President Donald Trump’s 74 million voters as “domestic terrorists.”
Virtually overnight, the Capitol and National Mall transformed into a so-called “Green Zone” protected by no-scale fencing, razor wire, and 26,000 soldiers.
These security measures were plainly disproportionate to the threat—indeed, they would have been disproportionate even if another violent mob had in fact attempted to disrupt the inauguration.
With the inauguration behind us, the Capitol should return to normalcy.
Cotton notes that if anything does arise, then federal troops can be called in very swiftly and that now the greatest threat to the troops right now is the coronavirus, which nearly 200 of our soldiers have tested positive for.
Cotton concludes by saying that security fears should not force the city that belongs to the people to be closed to them:
Though access to the Capitol will remain limited for a while longer because of the pandemic, it should not become a fortress because of security fears.
After the Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 attacks, many federal buildings became bunkered compounds. But the Capitol is the seat of our Republic; it belongs to the people. And absent an extraordinary threat, all Americans should be able to see it for themselves, walk its grounds, and—once the pandemic has abated—meet with their elected representatives.
The last few weeks have shown, to paraphrase Ecclesiastes, that there is a time to send in the troops, and a time to send them home. Those decisions must reflect actual security needs—not ideological pandering and kneejerk reactions.
At this point, Democrats keeping the troops around looks more like a reason with a double edge.
For one, they’re afraid of a coup happening after having been sold their own sensationalism about people attempting to seize power and harm lawmakers.
Secondly, it’s a message to any who would that there is military strength at the Capitol and it’s stronger than anything that could possibly threaten them.
It’s not the right message to send the American people primarily because the group that rioted at the Capitol is long gone with many of them arrested. The rest of the American people are not insurrectionists, and that includes the people who participated in the rally surrounding Trump.
It’s time allow the troops to come home and open up the Capitol again.