I served 22 years and took the oath to the Constitution many times. I never thought it could be this confusing. Some have worked hard to make it confusing and continue to do so.
I also never imagined our democracy itself would be under attack. Nor this vulnerable. But here we are.
The plot twist relates to why the military was so slow to responding to the Capital Crisis.
We have heard opinions that maybe the leadership wanted delays so the rioters could stop the counting. Or maybe it was an internal delay by some General. But Heather Cox Richardson explains new information.
This is scarier. The military leadership believed the President would enact the Insurrection Act and use the military to assume control as they deployed.
The concern that Trump had plans for using the military to keep himself in power only grew after we learned that on June 1, Trump’s aides had drafted an order to invoke the Insurrection Act and deploy thousands of troops in Washington, D.C. Then–attorney general William Barr, Esper, and Milley objected and talked him out of it, and from then on, military leaders were vocal about their loyalty to the Constitution rather than to any particular leader.
Immediately after losing the election, Trump fired Esper (by tweet), and Barr resigned on December 23, 2020, so they were no longer there to object should he try again to invoke the Insurrection Act. He and his supporters, including Alex Jones of InfoWars and one-time national security advisor Michael Flynn—both of whom have been subpoenaed by the January 6th committee—repeatedly suggested he could declare martial law to hold a new election or to stop Biden from taking office.
On January 3, all ten living defense secretaries were concerned enough that they published a joint op-ed in the Washington Post, reminding Americans that “[e]fforts to involve the U.S. armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory. Civilian and military officials who direct or carry out such measures would be accountable, including potentially facing criminal penalties, for the grave consequences of their actions on our republic.”
On January 5, Trump asked acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller to have 10,000 National Guard troops ready for the January 6 rally, and Meadows wrote in an email that the National Guard would “protect pro Trump people.”
Goodman and Hendrix make a strong case that Trump and his loyalists were at least considering using the excuse of chaos at the Capitol—as we know, they expected counter-protesters to show up, and appear to have expected violence—to invoke the Insurrection Act and prevent the counting of the certified ballots by force.
In another article I read an essay that fits the day.
It was written by someone who had been a twenty-something year old who lived through a civil war. He said nothing ever happened to tell you that you were living in the middle of a civil war. No one punched you in the nose nor did anyone on TV say this is really bad. Your days were mostly normal…thinking about food, seeing friends. Checking for bombs in your trunk.
A few friend’s family members died. You read the news. You got angry. You wondered what was for dinner. Life went on.
Next time we will not be so lucky. Investigating committees will inform us but not save us. DOJ will not save us.
Autocratic movements are not stopped so easily. They will purge sooner and deeper next time. The trend has not reversed.
But daily life seems so normal.