Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Pentagon Says It Doesn’t Want Active Duty Troops Facing Protesters

via Breaking Defense.
 The Pentagon is distancing itself from President Trump’s suggestion to use active duty troops to quell the protests and rioting that have erupted across the country, even as more National Guard forces from around the country pour into the nation’s capital. 

A senior defense official told reporters at the Pentagon today that “we really would like all of this to stay a National Guard response. We don’t want to see Title X forces. That’s not what we want to do.” The official spoke on the condition of anonymity. Title 10 is the law that governs the active duty military, while Title 32 is the legislation under which the National Guard is normally mobilized by governors of the states.

The remarks come as Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley come under fire from civilians and several recently retired generals for remarks made Monday comparing US cities to a battlefield, and for following the president through Lafayette Park just after it was cleared of peaceful protesters by federal police firing tear gas, using flashbangs and driving protesters back.

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith, is calling on both men to come to Capitol Hill next week to explain what’s going on. Smith made his announcement of a planned hearing minutes after the defense official gave the Pentagon’s version of what happened Monday..

Esper and Milley, according to the Pentagon’s telling, apparently did not know what was going to happen when they left the White House alongside the president and other Cabinet officials. “Their understanding was they were walking out of the White House to walk through Lafayette Park to review efforts to quell the protests,” the official said, suggesting the two most powerful military leaders in the country didn’t understand, or weren’t briefed, on the presidential stroll. The official also said Esper and Milley did not know the people outside had been gassed and pushed out of the park.
Story here. 


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