(TMU) – In a recent report, Politico interviewed ten members of the National Guard who had recently been deployed to suppress demonstrations in different parts of the country, and found that many of them felt uncomfortable with the role that they were being asked to perform.
Some of the troops who were interviewed even expressed support for the demonstrations and said that they would have been among the protesters in the streets if they were not required to be in uniform instead.
Pvt. Si’Kenya Lynch of the DC National Guard was one of the soldiers who said that she supported the protesters. She also revealed that her brother was among the group of protesters she faced that was teargassed.
She said that she saw him coughing a lot after the tear gas was fired into the crowd, but added that she understood why he was there.
“I was happy to see him out there … to walk for me when I couldn’t,” she explained.
Another guardsman who was interviewed described their deployment as “F***ed up,” and said that they were ordered to forcefully disperse crowds that had gathered peacefully.
“The crowd was loud but peaceful, and at no point did I feel in danger, and I was standing right there in the front of the line. A lot of us are still struggling to process this, but in a lot of ways, I believe I saw civil rights being violated in order for a photo op. I’m here to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and what I just saw goes against my oath and to see everyone try to cover up what really happened. What I saw was just absolutely wrong,” the Guardsman told Politico.
DC Guardsman Spec. Isaiah Lynch, who’s unrelated to Si’Kenya Lynch, said that he thought he was being deployed to protect the police from the protesters, but after watching the situation develop, he found that the police were typically the aggressors.
“I felt that we were more protecting the people from the police,” he said.
Maj. Gen. William Walker, commander of the DC National Guard, attempted to address these issues in a statement this week, saying that, “We have a lot of National Guardsmen who are struggling with this, because unlike in combat when you have an enemy, these are our neighbors, our friends, our family.”
Despite suffering a moral dilemma when faced with these orders, many of these soldiers still followed the orders. An estimated 42,700 National Guardsmen across 34 states complied with the orders that they were given to quell the protests, regardless of how sympathetic their opinions were on the matter.
However, a report this week from The Intelligencer suggested that there are a significant number of National Guard members who are thinking about quitting because they don’t want to engage with US citizens.
Still, it appears that there are some members of the military who will enthusiastically put down protests with force. A recent investigation by Unicorn Riot uncovered that one of the National Guardsman who was deployed to the protests openly promoted neo-nazi information online, and was diagnosed with COVID-19 less than a month before his deployment.
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