There are a lot of solid conservatives frustrated and appalled by the Biden Riots, and a lot of those folks wonder why Donald Trump doesn’t just make it all stop – you know, sort of like Grandpa Badfinger implicitly promises he will do if we restore the garbage liberal establishment, except with military force. “Call up the Guard,” right? But what folks do not understand are the practical problems with Trump using troops (sending federal law enforcement officers presents similar problems, but also a unique and big one – there just aren’t as many federal cops as there are soldiers). The devil is in the details, and the devil here makes Trump pulling the trigger on the troops in the current situation a very bad idea. We should support his strategic patience and not do what the Democrats want by getting mad at the president for refusing to stumble into an ambush.
Let me share some background. After I got off active duty the first time, I joined the California Army National Guard. For the next 23 years I participated in, planned, and commanded during multiple civilian support operations. I was in the Los Angeles Riots, the Northridge Earthquake, and I commanded two battalions along with other forces in northern San Diego County during the 2007 fires. I planned ops from platoon to state headquarters level, and wrote about civil support ops in Infantry magazine and even in a first-of-its-kind law review article. So, I know a little about this stuff.
And what I know tells me that, despite our fantastic soldiers’ abilities, this is a bad idea.
But why? Let’s address the donkey in the room – Democrat governors, mayors and district attorneys do not want military forces deployed and will at least refuse to cooperate with them, if not actively hinder them. That makes a blue city like Portland a “non-permissive environment,” and the military is certainly designed to operate in them. That’s why when the military moves in force with, say, an infantry brigade combat team (IBCT) of 5,000 soldiers plus support elements (thousands more), we essentially deploy a small town with everything we need to survive – food, fuel, ammo, medical, maintenance, commo, power, transportation, even lawyers. Typically, in cities engulfed in chaos, it’s a permissive environment. The cops work with us. They take custody of arrestees, hold them, and the DA prosecutes them. Hospitals take in our wounded and sick. We use local government property to operate out of. We have access to the infrastructure of society. But what if the Democrat regime refuses to allow all that? Then the troops are on their own; it’s now an invasion, and while doable logistically, it takes a massive footprint.
A permissive environment solves some, but not all of the issues we will review. A non-permissive environment makes the whole thing exponentially worse.
First, let’s think through the force package. Who do we send, and under what rules?
We keep hearing about the National Guard, but few understand it. The Guard is a reserve force trained and equipped just like active duty troops and containing a large number of active duty veterans (I joined after serving in Desert Storm). It works for the state governor – the Democrat who hates Trump – unless it is “federalized,” in which case it becomes an active duty unit and Trump is its commander-in-chief. Now, federal troops are barred from enforcing civilian law by the Posse Comitatus Act, unless the president invokes the Insurrection Act. On state status, Posse Comitatus does not apply and Guard forces are not prohibited by federal law from enforcing civilian law.
Got it? Seems complicated, huh? Yeah, because it’s a giant cluster fark that only gets more farked as we dive in to the details of implementing the idea of sending in soldiers.
Oregon has the 41st IBCT. It has five “maneuver battalions," the ~500-soldier or so sub-units that would actually be on the street (well, maybe two-thirds tops of those units’ personnel would actually be on the street with guns. All the rest are support, as are the IBCT’s other units). Only three battalions are actually in Oregon, and one of those is an artillery unit. The rest are in other states. What is the readiness of the 41st? Are elements deployed overseas? What’s their manning? Their maintenance readiness? Who knows?
Maybe Trump uses federal forces, like the 82nd Airborne Division’s ready brigade. Now they have to fly from Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, to Portland. Can they land at the airport? Remember, it’s a non-permissive environment. Will the Democrat regime refuse to allow them to land, or if they do land, refuse to service the planes? I guess we need to send in an Air Force airbase unit to run things. That’s more troops.
And how are we supporting this rapidly expanding force package? Will local contractors serve the military, or be too intimidated to work with the military (they will still be in Portland long after the Army goes home). I guess we could bring in a support brigade. We’re over 10,000 troops now. Say, how do we get their vehicles there? Drive them across the country? Put them on trains? That takes time.
Where does this military force assemble if the state and local government are not letting them use local facilities? Maybe the military just moves into, say, a stadium parking lot to use as a base. And maybe a federal judge issues an injunction saying it can’t. Oh, we’ll need more troops to defend this logistics and command and control base. And we’ll need a combat support hospital in case the local government refuses to allow local hospitals to treat the sick and wounded.Please, try and maintain a straight face saying there is no way Democrat politicians in a blue city would forbid our troops from getting medical care.
Let’s put the awkward issues of logistics aside and talk tactics, though professionals always think logistics while amateurs only think tactics. What do the troops actually do? Patrol? Got to wait on our vehicles. Do they go arrest looters? For what? If the looters violate federal law – like crossing a state line to riot – that’s easy. You hook them up, turn them over to the federal cops and the US attorney prosecutes them. But what if they commit a state crime, which most routine crimes are? In LA ‘92, we grabbed a crook and handed him over to the LAPD and he went to jail and got prosecuted. But the Portland police will be ordered not to cooperate. Moreover, the Portland DA will not charge them, much less prosecute them. What do you do with them? How do the feds hold a rioter for a state crime that he is not charged with?
Non-permissive environments suck, huh?
Then there is the rules of engagement (ROE) issue. What are the ROE going to be? Basically, the ROE outlines what force can you use on the rioters, with particular interest in when you can shoot them. That’s always a huge deal. You want these soldiers to go out and do something to the rioters, so you need to decide what. Remember, they are the ones who can get prosecuted if they kill someone. Oh, Trump’s Department of Justice won’t prosecute them today, but will a Democrat administration’s DOJ do that tomorrow? Don’t scoff – British ex-soldiers today are, despicably, getting prosecuted for killing IRA terrorists in Northern Ireland back in the 1970s.
Now, the Democrat regime would love nothing more than for a military unit to open fire on “peaceful protestors.” So, would the media. Looking for fairness? How many of the mainstream outlets have reported that one of the criminals Kyle Rittenhouse shot in self-defense was a convicted pedophile? The demagogues are aching for Trump to throw them into the briar patch of a military crackdown. Remember, this whole riot scheme is an information operation designed to present the country as out of control and Trump as, alternatively, ineffectual or authoritarian.
These rioters have no actual power. They don’t hold ground and a determined police response by local cops with a DA who prosecutes them would scatter them. The Democrats are using them to intimidate voters into accepting Biden’s implicit argument that if we allow the liberal establishment back into power, these bad people will go away (they won’t, but that’s what the Dems want you to think). These Antifa and BLM street punks can serve the liberal elite’s cause just as well as martyrs.
Bottom Line: All in all, sending military forces into a non-permissive environment in a blue city is a recipe for disaster.
It’s easy to fume about Trump not waving his magic camo wand and making the Antifa and BLM rioters disappear, but the reality of the situation created by the Democrat regime makes it a disaster waiting to happen. You either go in and essentially invade the cities and use an iron fist to crush the rioters – and make Kent State’s body count look as paltry as the audience for a Joe Biden rally – or you alienate some on your own side when you refuse to save the Democrat demagogues’ bacon by becoming the villain in their information operation.
These hard truths are not to say there is nothing for the feds to do. Until the Democrat regimes decide this needs to end and cooperate, the feds should do one of the few things the feds are good at – taking down large criminal organizations. Antifa is just like the drug cartels with less testosterone, and just like the mafia except with worse clothes and less testosterone. The feds should ignore the street thugs who make up the shock troops. It was no coincidence that 100 percent of the people Kyle shot had criminal records. The feds should focus on the LARPing middle class SJWs and the dedicated Marxist cadre and use RICO, conspiracy, and other federal charges to take them out and lock them up. When little Ashleigh from the suburbs realizes that she’s looking at five years in federal prison instead of heading back to the Evergreen State to finish her Bolivian Trans Dance of the 13th Century degree, the lawyer daddy buys her will get her to sing like a canary about her commie pals. The feds should identify and map the whole criminal organization, identify its players and funding, and wipe it out.
Look, it’s perfectly understandable to be frustrated. But getting mad at Trump because he is not doing something that would turn into the cluster fark to end all cluster farks is doing exactly what the liberal elite and its media minions want. Let Portland and the rest of the blue cities trash themselves. Let the DOJ, which has already charged dozens of these degenerates with federal beefs, do its thing. And make sure you get out and vote straight Republican if you want any hope of this ever ending.
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