Don't call in the troops

In the current moment the sight of troops on U.S. streets would be more likely to inflame than calm. The media, which is generally discounting the violence as understandable rage at the killing of George Floyd, would say the day of the Trump dictatorship that they long predicted had arrived. They’d be wrong, since constitutional restraints still hold, but that nuance won’t make it to the streets.

U.S. soldiers are trained for combat against a foreign enemy, not for riot control against Americans. The risk of mistakes would be high, and Mr. Trump would be blamed for any bloodshed from civilian clashes with troops. In any case the soldiers aren’t needed at the moment because the National Guard are available and have more experience with domestic unrest and law-breaking. The Guard have made a difference in Minneapolis since Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz deployed them in greater numbers.

The federal government has other, better tools to pursue lawbreakers, as Attorney General Bill Barr has explained. He said on Sunday that “groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate, violent, and extremist agenda.” He again mentioned Antifa, the network of self-styled anarchists who think the U.S. system is corrupt and believe violence is a legitimate tool against police and property.