Gerald F. Seib is the executive Washington editor for The Wall Street Journal penned an editorial late Tuesday night asking Republicans who oppose the Jan. 6 Commission to think about the consequences of not having it.
He began by explaining that there will be many investigations into the attack on the U.S. Capitol with dozens of trials for attackers and congressional committees. Not having the commission doesn't mean it's going to disappear, far from it.
"But here's one other consequence if Washington chooses to move down the road without such a commission: The political system will have shown that it remains incapable of reversing the very problems that produced the violence in the first place—severe partisanship, rampant mistrust of the other side, a new willingness to question election results," he explained.
Seib argued that Washington will model the future off of behaviors that led to the attack in the first place, which could ultimately lead to another one. Attackers have already indicated that they "would willingly do it again."
"One could make a plausible case that the three most traumatic days in America in the last 60 years were Nov. 22, 1963, the day President John Kennedy was shot; Sept. 11, 2001, the day terrorists struck New York and Washington; and Jan. 6, 2021, the day the Capitol was attacked and democracy's work stopped by an angry mob," said Seib.
He recalled that after the Kennedy assassination and the Sept. 11 attacks commissions examined what happened and how. Americans deserve to have the same questions answered.
Republicans are understandably afraid of the role that their own people had in the attack and critiques of former President Donald Trump.
"Those are legitimate concerns. But they aren't unprecedented, and nobody should be naive in assuming the creation of either Warren Commission or the 9/11 Commission was simple or inevitable at the time," Seib noted.
He explained that it was the same fears that President Lyndon Johnson had about the Warren Commission, that the Soviets or Cuba were involved in the assassination and it could lead to war. Similarly, many were concerned about the impact the Sept. 11 Commission would have.
"But in each case, the fear of what could happen if there wasn't an independent inquiry came to outweigh concerns about the problems one might create. And in the end, each panel served the principal purpose for which it was created," he wrote.
But in each case, key takeaways helped produce recommendations to stop future attacks.
"With a modicum of bipartisan trust, today's concerns about a commission—particularly Republicans' understandable worries about how its staff would be formed—could be addressed. But that modicum of trust seems nonexistent," closed Seib. "More likely the nation will learn the answer to the key question: What happens if we don't do this?"
Democrats have indicated that they intend to hold a vote on the Jan. 6 Commission this week.