I’ve been called Mr. National Security by friends and family. Read my writing the past 16 years, and the last 10 months in this space, and you’ll see I take a backseat to no one when it comes to safety precautions and supporting law enforcement and the military.
But I am done seeing the National Guard and hideous temporary fencing around the U.S. Capitol. And it seems most people agree.
Local Capitol-area residents, almost all of whom undoubtedly lean left, reportedly are tired of their neighborhood looking like the Baghdad Green Zone.
Last month, the Washington Post editorial board said, “Walling the Capitol into a fortress so clearly goes against the grain of America’s proud tradition of government open to the people that one would hope the Democratic leadership of Congress would just squelch this bad idea.”
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a wounded combat veteran and military hawk, recently said it’s time to take down barbed wire fencing around the complex and let the Guard return home.
Longtime D.C. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who’s probably never met a Republican, explained, “We should not be relying on security theater based on 19th-century ideas when state-of-the-art options and old-fashioned preparation and cooperation among security forces could have prevented the events of January 6.”
Overstating a threat is one thing; what makes this irritating is how nonsensical the ordeal is.
Last Thursday, after peace prevailed (against an invisible foe) despite conspiratorial progressives suggesting the complex was under imminent threat from QAnon types, the U.S. Capitol Police’s oversight board suggested “the razor wire-topped fencing surrounding the Capitol since the insurrection in January should come down next week.”
It took five writers, but even MSN admitted last week, “National Guard members armed with M4 rifles braced for rebellion that never came. Razor wire lined miles of steel fencing that went unbreached. Threats of a March 4 attack created disruptions but little trouble. Researchers say police overreacted.”
The situation is also ideological. So long as Guardsmen from around the country are in D.C., we are not only spending taxpayer dollars but reminding everyone of the horrors of Jan. 6. And it was a horrible day — though not as horrible as Antifa and BLM nearly every day — nine long weeks ago.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn’t care. Last week she said troops are needed until further notice to protect lawmakers from “all the president’s men,” presumably referring to President Trump’s supporters.
“Between COVID where we need to have vaccinations more broadly in the Capitol so that many more people can come here and do their jobs, and the threat of them of — of all the president’s men out there, we have to — we have to ensure with our security, that we are safe enough to do our job,” Pelosi rambled.
More than 5,000 Guard members currently in Washington, D.C. were scheduled to go home Friday; now they won’t.
That’s because Capitol police — the group unprepared for and overwhelmed by the riots — requested security assistance for another two months.
That puts us in late May, when in normal years, thousands of school groups visit en masse and Memorial Day beckons. Public policy is difficult, but we still need real leadership to say the situation is under control long before that timeframe.