Time Line to Disaster

Saturday, January 9, 2021 4:03 PM

The antecedents of a cluster fuck response to a predictable riot.

According to after-the-incident talking heads:

Mon. – Tues.

The Pentagon, by request of the D.C. mayor, narrowed the D.C. National Guard’s mission to traffic control, noninclusive of crowd or riot control. In turn the Pentagon prohibited:

  • the issuing of ammunition or riot gear
  • interacting with protesters unless in self-defense
  • sharing equipment with local law enforcement, or using Guard surveillance and air assets without the Secretary of Defense’s explicit sign-off
  • binding the Guard to that “sign-off” pre-condition before it could activate its quick-reaction force only as a last resort
  • military officials claim to have urged D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser to request more support from federal law enforcement, but that she didn’t do so until Wed


Trump rallies his supporters to march to the Capitol and “fight hard” to stop the certification of the Biden presidency and overturn the election, while naming Vice President Pence as failing to standup for him, and intimating that other members of the U.S. Congress were complicit in stealing his presidency. His legion of seditious puppets dutifully followed his orders to go and wreak havoc, as the so-called protest devolved into the full-scale coup attempt he had been telegraphing before he lost the Presidential election and actively fomenting for weeks after.

At some point, Wednesday, the Pentagon evaluated, i.e, woke up to reality, that things were out-of-control, and activated the full D.C. Guard, lifting previous limits and assigning a new mission:

  • arming guardsmen with riot gear, but not guns, before they headed to create a perimeter around the Capitol
  • later calling the governors of other states to send their Guard forces as reinforcements
  • three hours elapsed in the shift from traffic policing of the Guard to full-fledged riot response
  • as time ticked away, the Capitol Police found themselves overwhelmed and rioters stormed the building, forcing lawmakers to take cover and barricade themselves in their offices
  • the Pentagon left it to federal law enforcement to clear the Capitol of the rioters
  • by evening Guard units helped the Capitol Police and federal and city law enforcement reestablish a perimeter around the building

Thur. – Sat.

In the ensuing who did what and when narrative of finger pointing following the security disaster that could have resulted in the assassination of the principle leadership of our government and a successful coup, some of what is being bandied around for our consumption is:

  • the Capitol Police hadn’t requested help from the Guard ahead of Wednesday’s events
  • early Wednesday afternoon, its chief made an urgent plea for backup from 200 troops during a call with top Pentagon and city officials
  • the Secretary of the Army said that wasn’t going to be possible
  • (An army official speaking on behalf of the Secretary of the Army who was de facto commanding the D.C. Guard, but not on the call, said “optics” of soldiers inside the Capitol building was not something they wanted
  • Mayor Muriel E. Bowser asserted that the Capitol Police “made it perfectly clear" that they needed extraordinary help, including the National Guard
  • a U.S. defense official said the Army general on the call didn’t formally deny the request, but reemphasized the negative optics of uniformed personnel inside the Capitol – claiming Bowser later agreed and stipulated that if needed, D.C. police positioned away from the building would reinforce the Capitol Police inside; the Guard would then backfill their positions
  • by Thursday, National Guard forces from across the Mid-Atlantic region were moving into the Washington area

In all the rhetoric of the event day, the indisputable truth remains. Donald Trump lost the election; sowed the seeds of discontent, hate, sedition and rebellion to hold power. We are in the throes of a new era in American history, where anti-democracy forces are arrayed against the republic, seeking to replace it with some demented notion of a new order without law, order, equality or justice for all. The ideal of the more perfect union declared in the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution is more distantly unrealized than perhaps at any time in our history, since the cessation of the Civil War.

The stakes could not be any higher. The angle of list from the flooding of racism, and the roll from the buffeting seas of hate threaten to capsize and sink us. This is no time to sit on the sidelines hoping it will all go away. Moment to moment, we rise to the occasion or let evil drag us away.