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NBC News Asks Professor William C. Banks About National Guard and Protests

Posted on Monday 1/11/2021
William C. Banks

Who decides when there are helicopters? Experts weigh in on National Guard monitoring protests

(NBC News | Jan. 10, 2020) It was not lost on many Americans — including President-elect Joe Biden — that after a violent mob of President Donald Trump's supporters broke into the Capitol in Washington, D.C., the delayed use of National Guard troops was far different than it was during the Black Lives Matter protests last year.

In late May, governors called on 43,000 troops nationwide. The nation hasn’t deployed National Guard troops at a comparable scale since the civil rights movement of the 1960s. By comparison, on Wednesday, acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller approved the deployment of less than 6,200 National Guard troops ...

... But the use of National Guard units in June was “fundamentally exceptional and different from the way civilians and the military have ordinarily worked together,” said William Banks, emeritus professor of law at Syracuse University and co-author of "Soldiers on the Home Front," a book about the domestic deployment of U.S. military assets. He fears that the new use of military surveillance technology for domestic protesters presents deeply troubling implications. “The civilian-military relationship, which is critical to the success of our society, has broken down" ...

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