One of the Guardsmen said the tragic irony of the situation was not lost on them. “It was bizarre watching live streams of your country being [be]sieged — especially when in a unit called ‘Capital Guardians’ — and having to sit there just mere blocks away from the Capitol and being told to watch traffic instead,” he said, adding that it was particularly frustrating seeing units from outside D.C. respond to the assault while the Guardsmen were told to stay in place.

Other Guardsmen who have since deployed to the Capitol worry they lack the proper equipment — including weapons and armor — to defend themselves if protests again turn violent in the days leading up to Joe Biden’s inauguration…

One of the Guardsmen said they were aware of the concern among their superiors about the image of troops in front of the Capitol — and how it might look like the military was being used to stage a coup. But he said the prevailing sentiment among the Guardsmen, as the situation clearly spiraled out of control, was, “Who gives a shit about optics at this point?”