The editors of the conservative Wall Street Journal strongly cautioned Donald Trump to refrain from putting members of the military on the streets of the United States because it would only inflame a country already being torn apart by battles between George Floyd protesters and the police.
With the president threatening to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807, which would allow him to send in the troops to restore order, the Journal's editors implored Trump to step on the brakes and not make matters worse.
"Mr. Trump has hinted that soldiers are ready to deploy if need be, and he underscored the point by referring to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Army Gen. Mark Milley, on the call with governors. As they react to horrible scenes of shopkeepers and a truck driver beaten by mobs and churches burning and desecrated, some conservatives are already calling for the President to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 and send in the 82nd Airborne.," the editors wrote. "We think this would be a mistake, though Mr. Trump has the authority. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 generally bars troops on U.S. soil, but it has exceptions for insurrection and emergencies. President George H.W. Bush deployed troops in 1992 to stop violence in Los Angeles after the verdict in the Rodney King case."
Adding, "In the current moment the sight of troops on U.S. streets would be more likely to inflame than calm," the editorial continued, "U.S. soldiers are trained for combat against a foreign enemy, not for riot control against Americans. The risk of mistakes would be high, and Mr. Trump would be blamed for any bloodshed from civilian clashes with troops. In any case the soldiers aren’t needed at the moment because the National Guard are available and have more experience with domestic unrest and law-breaking. The Guard have made a difference in Minneapolis since Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz deployed them in greater numbers."
"The federal government has other, better tools to pursue lawbreakers, as Attorney General Bill Barr has explained. He said on Sunday that 'groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate, violent, and extremist agenda.' He again mentioned Antifa, the network of self-styled anarchists who think the U.S. system is corrupt and believe violence is a legitimate tool against police and property," they wrote, before adding that other measures already appear to be working.
"The feds have access to intelligence and can coordinate across state lines to track organizers. They can employ anti-racketeering laws and can track their money, seize assets and break up networks whose members cross state lines to stir up violence. Mr. Barr said Sunday that he is using 'our existing network of 56 regional FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces' in such an effort," they wrote.
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