UPDATED 2000 hrs MDT: Today PBO's remarks on Ferguson included the following quote -
"OBAMA: I spoke to Jay Nixon about this, expressed an interest in making sure that if in fact the National Guard is used, it is used in a limited and appropriate way. He described the support role that they’re gonna be providing to local law enforcement. And I’ll be watching over the next several days, to assess whether, in fact, it’s helping rather than hindering progress in Ferguson."
IOW, it's likely that if he doesn't like what is going on, he's gonna federalize them. This is a warning to the governor of Missouri (oh, and Texas, too) not to push too far. Can anyone think of Little Rock 9? - W
This was bound to happen- the Missiouri governor has called in the National Guard to help restore order in Ferguson.
This could be problematic- you'd expect that doing this would help restore order, but, it may be an escalation that could backfire. One good point is that this unrest has been small-scale for the most part; there haven't been tens of thousands coming in to add to the festering sore this has become.
The main concern I have is the training of the Guard- as a former commander in MOARNG, we never participated in riot training. Ever. And I doubt any of these units have either, at least not recently. My hope is that the reason they are late to the party is that they've been off somewhere getting that training. You don't just hand out riot batons and shields and line up down the street. That would make things far worse.
In Ohio and Illinois, we received yearly refresher training on riots. My Ohio units were stand-by forces for university and prision riots; Chicago units always get riot training (1968 anyone?). But the units I had in MO didn't have such missions, and anyway they've focused on deployment readiness of late.
Another issue is this- with the involvement of ARNG folks, USNORTHCOM is now watching this VERY closely. Not that they've ignored it to this point- but now it's likely at full attention for the time being. You can bet this has made the Morning Brief for the 4-star there now.
So are we going to see MBRs, batons, shields, and troopers on the street this week? Armored humvees and REAL tanks? Just how far will this go? OR, will the troops just be used to truck in stuff and remain in the background? If people hated seeing cops in cammo, how about now? Luckily, I don't think anyone is going to be issued bayonets.
Will the feds take over the Guard if things go REALLY badly?