Tuesday, December 7, 2021

His Own Private Army

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to bring back the Florida guard to make sure that he has an army that obeys him and no one else. Via Charlie Pierce:

There are a number of things with which I would not trust Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. These certainly include the health of his constituents, but that horse has been out of the barn, wheezing its life away for a while now. However, right at the top of the list is the notion that Governor SuperSpreader should have his own private army. From floridapolitics.com:

Hoping to distinguish Florida as the most military-friendly state in the nation, Gov. Ron DeSantis rolled out a budget proposal Thursday that would develop new armories and establish a secondary paramilitary force in Florida, among other objectives. A veteran himself, DeSantis is recommending more than $100 million to support the Florida National Guard. The bulk of the funding — roughly $85 million — would fund the construction of three additional armories, located in Homestead, Gainesville and Malabar, as well as expansion of a readiness center in Miramar. The armories would collectively house more than 1,500 troops, DeSantis said…Unlike the Florida National Guard, the FSG would answer solely to the Governor. No federal deployments. No federal missions. No federal dollars.

Also no oversight of any kind.

Once, back before the prion disease destroyed the higher functions of the Republican Party—and American conservatism generally—this kind of thing was included in the laws and constitutions of many states. During World War II, for example, the Florida State Guard stepped in when the state’s National Guard personnel were deployed overseas. Twenty-three states already have state guards that are recognized by the federal government. However, as we have learned repeatedly over the past five years, at least, nothing is normal anymore, not if there is the slightest chance it can be used by Republicans to increase their power. Giving Ron DeSantis his own military at this moment in history is wholly and obviously different than letting ol’ Spessard Holland use the state guard during World War II. This is one reason why.

“This program assists law enforcement efforts to reduce the supply of illegal drugs and will continue to fill an unfortunate void left by the (Joe) Biden administration’s open border agenda,” DeSantis said.

Also, more than a few people have noticed that DeSantis’s proposal comes hard on the heels of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s directive that National Guardsmen who refuse vaccination will have their pay stopped and be barred from further training. Nobody believes in coincidence any more. It will be interesting to see how many anti-vax soldiers find their way into Ron DeSantis’ private army. Scary, but interesting.

It is not unusual for a state to have its own national guard contingent. In fact, before we had the United States Army, that’s what we had for defense: each state had its own troops. It has served its purpose during times of national emergencies such as natural disasters, but they’ve also been put in difficult peace-keeping positions such as enforcing desegregation laws in schools and, most notably, supporting local police. One particular event comes to mind: May 4, 1970 at Kent State University in Ohio.

But Gov. DeSantis’s motives are murky at best.  Will the FNG be called out to “protect” voters in the mid-term elections to make sure that only the right people vote?  Or to keep some Democrat from taking over his job if by some miracle he loses the election?

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