In the wake of the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, an unprecedented step was taken: placing 25,000 National Guardsmen to protect the Capitol. Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen expressed concerned that with so many white Trump voters in the guard, there could be violent extremists among them. Politico shared these concerns in a piece arguing the military has a hate-group problem. The piece used entirely anecdotal evidence, so is there any real data?
It turns out that thanks to concerns from people like Cohen, the National Guard and the FBI vetted the 25,000 grunts from across the nation to assure no extremists were among them. It was widely reported that 12 guardsmen were removed from the force as a result of the vetting. But now, The Federalist’s Jordan Davidson has gotten clarification from the National Guard about these 12 people.
According to the Guard (emphasis mine):
As stated by GEN Hokanson, Chief, National Guard Bureau, two of the members were brought to the attention of the command for inappropriate texts or statements, while the other 10 were flagged by the FBI during the routine checks that they perform during every inauguration. None of these individuals were flagged for extremist, criminal or threat association.
Their chain of command will review the circumstances and will take appropriate actions, if necessary, or they will be referred to law enforcement.
Now, there are 1.3 million active-duty military members, so 25,000 is only about 2 percent, but it seems rather important that absolutely no extremists were found given the fears expressed by the left. If this were some kind of widespread and incredibly dangerous threat, wouldn’t we expect to find at least one extremist in this force?
Thus far, Cohen has not apologized for besmirching the honor and morals of so many military service members, nor has the media done any kind of about-face on the nature of the threat. This is because the idea that Trump-supporting boogiemen are lurking in our ranks serves their political purposes. Trump was a phenomenon that shook the D.C. establishment to its core, and there isn’t much they won’t do to destroy the movement he created. That includes insulting our troops.
With a military of over 1 million, there are going to be some bad apples of every kind, but the claim that the U.S. military has a serious extremist problem simply isn’t backed up by the facts. It is merely a broader effort to pretend that the extremely small number of people who attacked the Capitol represents some existential threat to the country, one that Trump created.
In the private sector, we have seen these lies give cover to illiberal actions by Big Tech, which destroyed Twitter’s competitor Parler over this supposed threat. The chilling effect these kinds of actions are having is serious and dangerous. According to polling, 62 percent of Americans have political views they are afraid to express. That is not a recipe for a healthy democracy. And pretending our military is rife with Nazis or, more broadly, that support for Trump is some kind of extremist red flag just makes the problem worse.
The fact that exactly zero of the 25,000 guardsmen turned out to be extremists is very good news indeed and important for Americans to know even if it doesn’t fit the Democrat Party’s narrative. At least since the Vietnam era, Americans have been mainly unified in support of our troops. It is a trusted institution. Cohen and the media attempted to undermine that trust. Now that they have been proven wrong, they should correct the record just as loudly. But don’t hold your breath.