Pentagon Officials Express Concern Over Trump’s Plans To Use Army To ‘Dominate’ Protesters
Pentagon officials were already concerned ahead of US President Donald Trump’s pledge to ‘dominate the streets’ with the National Guard in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests.
Demonstrations have been surging in numbers and scale all across America following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed and defenceless black man who died at the hands of officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis last week.
Police escalation, rioting and looting has bred increased tension between protesters and law enforcement up and down the country. With that, Donald Trump is prepared to rule the states with an iron fist by deploying the US military – which does not echo the wishes of defence officials.
You can watch a clip from Trump’s speech below:
Speaking from the White House Rose Garden on Monday, June 1, the president said he was ‘mobilising all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson and to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans’. He then explicitly enunciated a reminder that this includes second amendment rights.
As per CNN, some Pentagon officials are concerned over the rashness of potentially invoking the 1807 Insurrection Act, which grants active-duty personnel powers to carry out law enforcement roles in the US, last invoked by George H W Bush during the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
Trump added in his speech: ‘Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming presence until the violence is quelled. If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.’
One official said: ‘There is an intense desire for local law enforcement to be in charge.’ There’s also wariness amid the currently mobilised National Guard troops, some of whom believe deploying the military would be indicative of the country’s failings.
Army Maj. Gen. Thomas Carden, the Adjutant General of the Georgia National Guard, explained:
I believe that we in America should not get used to or accept uniformed service members of any variety having to be put in a position where they are having to secure people inside the United States of America… while we are glad to do it and honored to do it, this is a sign of the times that we need to do better as a country.
Carden also noted that ‘of all the things I’ve been asked in do in the last 34 plus years in uniform, this is on the bottom of my list’, although made a point to add the National Guard’s presence in Georgia allegedly had a ‘significant deter and calming effect’.
Trump’s speech was underscored by the echoes of explosions from nearby protests, as authorities employed the use of rubber bullets and teargas to clear away demonstrators. Later, the president capitalised on the brief quiet conjured by needless escalation by crossing the street to St John’s church for a photo op with a Bible.
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