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Top conservatives weigh-in on controversial moment National Guard soldiers take a knee before protesters

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Townhall columnist, attorney and veteran Kurt Schlichter, along with actors James Woods and Nick Searcy, criticized a California National Guard commander and his troops for taking a knee before protesters demonstrating against the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd.

In a Twitter thread, Schlichter, who retired from the California Army National Guard in 2015, presented two sides of an argument for and against the kneeling, which took place in Hollywood after Guard troops were essentially cajoled into doing so by actress Keke Palmer.

The action was caught on video and went viral online.

Local reports noted that hundreds of Guard troops were deployed following rioting, looting and violent protests in and around Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica.

Schlichter began his thread by stating he “hit the roof” and was “furious” after seeing the group of Guard troops, led by a captain, take a knee.

“I made my displeasure known in no uncertain terms,” he wrote.

“There is a counterargument and I wanted to bring it to your attention so you can judge for yourself. I owe you both sides,” he continued. “It comes from sources in the know who I DEEPLY respect. Like trust with my life respect. I’ll let you decide even as I remain unconvinced.”

“The counterargument is that the captain made a smart tactical call to defuse a hostile situation. The gesture won over protesters, as opposed to the criminal agitators. Nationwide, it helped the Guard. Since then, protesters have been pointing out agitators to the Guard,” Schlichter wrote.

He added that the counterargument also notes protesters won’t see Guard troops as the enemy now because they knelt with them, and that protesters are now pointing out agitators to the Guard. 

Further, the counterargument alleges the kneeling was a “tactical act that had a massive strategic effect,” noting that the commander is a “squared-away” soldier who did not look like “a loser or a sissy.”

Schlichter said that while he was not on the scene and his military nature is to trust the tactical commander on the ground, he’s not convinced kneeling was a good idea.

“My view? I only kneel in church (or I would if I wasn’t one of those protestants who wears cargo shorts to services) and nowhere else. I think it was a terrible message and that our enemies will read it as weakness,” he wrote.

Actor and director Nick Searcy appeared to agree with the observation that kneeling showed a sign of weakness.

For his part, Woods made a rather unique comparison.

“Such a dangerous precedent. For liberals with an IQ of 9, let me make it simple: imagine your local Guard takes a knee for the KKK, to use a horrid scenario. All of a sudden it’s not so great to allow our military to engage in political gestures, is it?” he wrote in a tweet.

Others disagreed and for the same reason — because they believe U.S. troops ought to remain above the political fray, as they are required by law to do.

On that, Rick Ferran, a U.S. Marine veteran and CEO of the military-themed website Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children, blasted the decision by the Guard unit to kneel.

“The plan is set in place. We have seen this before, whether by intimidation or peer pressure. If the enemies of our Republic have control of our Military to push their agenda, everything we do is futile,” he said in a statement posted to the site.

“The Military is supposed to be restricted from making official statements about political issues, participating in public events while in uniform in any context where that may be construed as an official endorsement of a party, organization, movement, or cause, by the UCMJ [Uniform Code of Military Justice],” he continued.

Added Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who also criticized police for taking knees with protesters, “Our leaders are kneeling before the mob, the atavistic ritual of self-abasement of defeat. Suddenly, many are performing this ritual, including police around the country. The mob wants victory. But more than that, it wants the total humiliation of its enemies.”


Jon Dougherty


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