The Eight Month Investigation into the January 6 Investigation Didn’t End in March

I was going to hold off responding to this Spencer Ackerman op-ed in the NYT — which attempts to superimpose conclusions of his book onto ensuing events that have disproven some of his predictions — until I finish a half-written review of the book itself (tl;dr: it’s a great history of the war on terror, but entirely unpersuasive as to its main argument and especially sloppy when it attempts to discuss politics). But I got a bit fed up by the way he claims to be speaking about the response to January 6 with an op-ed that doesn’t incorporate anything more recent than March.

“Eight months later, there is no political response to the insurrection at all,” — Spencer claims, linking an article dated March 26 reporting, “Dem Hearings Bend Over Backward to Ignore GOP Complicity in Capitol Riot –“only a security response aimed at its foot soldiers.” That’s his most recent reference in the entire op-ed, as demonstrated by the links he uses:

Elissa Slotkin: 2/1/21

Somali plot: 1/25/19

Somali plot: 10/14/16

Mike Flynn: 7/9/16

Trump on terrorism: 8/15/16

Trump’s birtherism: 9/19/15

How the January 6 insurrectionists saw themselves: 1/5/21

Veterans: 2/4/21

Non-veteran Mariposa Castro declaring war: 1/21/21

Describing the Jan 6 investigation based on what Michael Sherwin’s comments about sedition, while ignoring what he said about holding everyone accountable: 1/13/21

[Sherwin’s resignation: 3/23/21]

Trump sent them: 1/9/21

Opting against 14A: 2/3/21

Dems on empowering the FBI: 2/5/21

DOJ seeking new domestic terror powers: 2/26/21

Slotkin again on monitoring domestic extremists: 3/23/21

“I am not a terrorist:” 1/13/21

Spencer makes no mention of any of the developments you’d look at to understand how the Biden Administration was responding to January 6, including:

  • A new domestic terrorism response that includes social media monitoring of the sort that might have prevented the attack on the Capitol, but few of the other things Spencer and others have never stopped predicting since January 6.
  • A discussion of the actions of the January 6 Select Committee, on which committee Elissa Slotkin (the Democrat Spencer quoted twice and on whom his book focuses) doesn’t sit. The committee has provided a way around the need to placate Republicans trying to avoid angering Trump, to say nothing of committees (like the House Oversight Committee) packed with key figures in the events of January 6. The committee has already moved to obtain the records of the people that Spencer claims have escaped accountability.
  • A description of Merrick Garland’s repeated comments, starting in his February 22 confirmation hearing and continuing since, that DOJ would go where the evidence leads, including to those who incited it. Garland’s DOJ has also found important ways to avoid sheltering Mo Brooks (and by association all other people who were Federal employees the day of the riot, as Trump was), and to waive executive privilege to allow multiple investigations into Trump’s actions to proceed.
  • How DOJ under Merrick Garland and Lisa Monaco has approached the January 6 investigation, notably with its use of the unpoliticized obstruction statute to charge felonies rather than (thus far at least) sedition, the use of interlocking conspiracies that have already started incorporating some organizers and which could easily be used with Trump and his flunkies, and the possibility of terrorism enhancements that would be decided at sentencing, by judges, rather than by categorical application at the start of investigation.

There are definitely ways that the two decade war on terror played a big role on January 6.

More important than the 22 veterans charged by early February is which figures in the organizing conspiracies applied their military experience to ensuring the success of the operation. Key among those is former Staff Sargeant Joe Biggs, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan before he went on to play a key propaganda role in the 2016 election; as I’ve described, Biggs was at the head of both major fronts (East Side, West Side) of the attack, and his network incorporates the key organizers of the larger event. Charles Donohoe, Dominic Pezzola, Gabriel Garcia, Jessica Watkins, and Joshua James are other veterans who allegedly turned their war on terror training to play key roles leading an attack on the Capitol. The second front of the attack on the Capitol that Biggs seemed to have anticipated was opened — either coincidentally, or not — by a bunch of Marines, including one on active duty.

If you’re going to talk about the import of the war on terror on January 6, you also have to talk about the mental scars that veterans have brought back. That was made spectacularly clear by Landon Copeland’s PTSD-driven meltdown in a detention hearing. But even Jacob Chansley’s mental illness has ties to his service. These two are not alone among the men and women whose service scars led them to embrace the false promises Donald Trump was offering.

In his book, Spencer rightly complains about the Wanted Dead or Alive rhetoric motivating the War on Terror. He also complains about an, “obsession with the baroque, fragmentary details of what became #Russiagate,” (mistaking the equally baroque counter-propaganda hashtag for those focusing in varying degrees of obsessiveness on the investigation itself) that nevertheless ended with Bill Barr corruptly intervening to protect Trump. But Spencer apparently feels the best way to deal with something else — a plodding, but ambitious, attempt to conduct a law enforcement investigation from the attack itself to its kingpins — is to largely ignore it even while claiming to speak for it.

The January 6 investigation, even in conjunction with the Select Committee, will not fix all the problems with the War on Terror. The two together may not hold the most powerful culprits for January 6 accountable — but that’s not for lack of ambition to do just that. But — in large part because this is an investigation of mostly-white people, which goes to the core of how America’s racism and other demons almost brought down its democracy and still could — it looks more like how the US should have responded to the 9/11 attack and not the caricature that Spencer arrives at by ignoring the last six months.

Following 600 cases as DOJ meticulously obtains the camera footage to see how Alex Jones lured unwitting participants to a second front or attempts to document whether key militia members made an attempt on Nancy Pelosi’s life is not sexy. But it’s what Spencer claims we should have done in response to 9/11.

84 replies
  1. BobCon says:

    I think what is behind a lot of unreasonable complaints about the 1/6 prosecutors is a vaguer feeling that broader efforts to investigate the fascist movement aren’t sufficient.

    Critics are not making a distinction between 1/6 and everything they’re seeing in terms of anti-vax violence, PBs marching in Philadelphia, and the rest.

    I think people are also seeing frustrations with local police failures in stopping racist violence (or even enabling it) and projecting it onto the 1/6 investigation. They are expecting the FBI to be carrying out functions of Treasury or IRS or even FEC.

    And of course, a January 6 investigation isn’t going to find out who paid thugs to show up at an antivax last month. Conflating these things isn’t helpful — what makes more sense us looking at what works for the 1/6 prosecutions and seeing how those lessons are (or are not) being applied to other situations.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Is there really a distinction between the big one on January 6th and the smaller events like PDX, most of the anti-vaxxer riots and Lansing MI? The goals were the same, the actors mostly the same, and the methods meshed quite nicely together, so the Select Committee needs to root out the sources. Even the Olympia WA event was one where the PBs went roaming through town looking for “antifa” at an anti-vaxxer rally (cops nowhere to be found, of course) and assaulted a reporter before Tiny Toese was shot used the same playbook.

      I’m interested to see if the Olympia PD will arrest the person who allegedly shot Toese (although he actually could have shot himself, as he was packing heat perhaps in violation of probation terms) in what by all rational accounts was a case of self defense.

      • BobCon says:

        I think in terms of prosecutions, there are definitely sets of separate cases.

        I think the Congressional 1/6 Committee has the opportunity to connect dots between groups in a way that prosecutors cannot because Congress is freer to address broader policy issues. They need to get cracking, though.

        • Rugger9 says:

          The first step is the document request to determine the next places to dig, which the committee has started to the inevitable sniveling and harrumphing by the GQP. Does anyone know the hearing schedule yet?

      • Katherine M Williams says:

        Perhaps it is the slowness of the investigations that frustrates people. Particularly when recalling how the Obama Administration allowed these same individuals and groups to get away with terrible crimes, from War Crimes to the Wall St/Bankers Mortgage fraud schemes, by hiding behind the (insulting) slogan of “Look Forward, not Back”.

        And meanwhile the people who funded & organized the 1/6 insurrection/lynch mob are free, will probably always stay free, and are currently seriously subverting the United States democracy, most pointedly FoxNews and the GOP’s official anti-vaccination and anti-masking efforts which are killing something like a thousand Americans a day.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah, but they are really not that slow at all. They are doing fine, and running a complicated conspiracy investigation exactly as they should be. The “it’s too slow!” cries are absolute bunk. Seriously, 639 people have been charged to date, and they move up the ladder. Chill out.

          • Lady4real says:

            I’m concerned if they move too fast, someone will make a mistake.

            The FBI agent who visited the tattoo parlor of one of the Jan 6th defendant’s attorney is crying foul over it. Was that a prudent move on the investigator’s part?

            • bmaz says:

              Yes, am aware of that, it was perfectly fine. It is the defendant, who was not even present as far as I can tell, whining about Miranda. That argument is a joke.

    • Phoenix says:

      There’s also the desire among many to punish Biden for not being one’s ideological twin, which is at the root of 99% of the complaints here.

      As someone who backed other candidates in the primaries but now reluctantly understands that Biden was the only candidate at the time who could have beaten Trump, I am pleasantly surprised at how well he’s doing. Guess he learned a few things in the past 50 years in DC.

      • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

        We don’t know that Biden was the only candidate who could have beaten Trump. There wasn’t a lot of vote splitting and elections now are mostly a function of the enthusiasm of the base.

        That being said, the actors on the Democratic side most responsible for the failure to aggressively fight the rising tide of fascism is the gerontocracy that is Congressional leadership.

        And no matter your opinion of Biden he is absolutely not spending the same political capitol on voting rights that he has on his BIF, which is a huge mistake.

        • PraxEs says:

          I appears to me that we have witnessed rather many premature criticisms of Biden’s leadership. As he did yesterday, he does seem to wait a few beats until he has accumulated all the weapons he needs to win the day. I know of no one who does not recognize the priority of ensuring voting rights, anyone?

          • Lady4real says:

            He has nominated and installed the best AAG for the current crisis, that is voting rights. We must allow her the time she seems necessary for her to rise to the occasion and come out swinging—she won’t miss.

          • FL Resister says:

            Joe Biden has good advisors he listens to when he acts but appears to be holding on to his prejudices about filibuster reform.

    • emptywheel says:

      I’m not even sure that’s true. There’s a broad expectation that the LA anti-vax community will continue to be a focus of FBI attention, and the payments to protestors reeks of fraud. And a CT prosecutor got added to the case of the Grace father and son after dad continued to show up armed at Proud Boy events in the Northwest.

      • BobCon says:

        I absolutely think there is increased focus on the fascist movement at the federal level.

        But I also think that due to the fact that there are a lot of different jurisdictions in play it’s a lot harder to get a handle on them, and reporting tends to be even more scattershot than on 1/6 investigations. People see inaction in one area metaphorically in terms of 1/6 even when that’s not true.

        On top of this, there is a lot of intentional denial by the press in terms of linking GOP leaders at the federal, state and local level to what is going on at different fascist events, or in connecting any events outside of DC to 1/6.

        It’s a level of denial in the press that matches the position Hoover and the FBI had about organized crime in the 1950s. They use a lack of information in specific incidents to deny any connections whatsoever.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It’s also a function of media coverage, which is how most of the world understands these things. Media seem incapable of tracking a long or complicated story, and prefers a clickbait model, which prizes simplistic but profitable outlandish personalities, immediate outrage, and horse race politics.

      The most obvious example is the WH press corps’ longing for Trump’s outrageous lies and incompetence over what it lazily regards as Biden’s boring competence.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        EOH, I agree: it is absolutely a product of media coverage, and the need to gin up enough content (most of it at best highly speculative) to fill hours of air time. Living in the post-Trump media-scape, we need to wean ourselves from those nearly incessant hits of outrage that his blurts and misdeeds used to supply.

        In other words, we need to get a life. Much easier said than done.

  2. P J Evans says:

    He probably sent the book to the publisher in March. Should have waited longer, but when you want it out for Christmas….

    • emptywheel says:

      Sure, and when I write my review of his book I’ll note that’s why he makes claims about a war on terror approach that has since been disproven. But if I were publishing something in the NYT, I would make sure I had updated to account for predictions that had proven erroneous.

      • RWood says:

        NYC traditional publishing houses still move at the speed of smell, this despite the age and speed of the internet. Marketing still rules their kingdom. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for corrections/updates.

        No excuse for the Times though, they dropped the ball on this one.

      • Leoghann says:

        By my fingers, 06 January to 23 March is 79 days. And since that’s eight months, this little jingle applies:

        Ten days hath September,
        April, June, and November,
        And all the rest, except February,
        Which just as nine; try to remember.

        • nord dakota says:

          My mom had a method using one’s knuckles. You start with the knuckle under the little finger of your left hand–that’s January. Then the area between that knuckle and the ring finger knuckle, which is February, with the ring finger knuckle being March. Every knuckle, until you run out of months, is a 31 day month and everything in between is February or a 30 day month.

  3. Rugger9 says:

    Now we have the three VT state troopers joining the ranks of fake vaccine card purveyors, it was remarkable to me that their colleagues ratted them out for a change. With so many fake cards out there and the wide spacing we have seen so far in the cases we know about, how long will it be that the card itself can’t be used to show vaccination status? At least in CA we have our DOHS database that reviews and gives you a QR code for verification.

    As for those three, once convicted they should go to prison on a sentence appropriate for attempted murder with enhancements. That was the expected outcome even if they say it wasn’t intended that way.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Normally I would agree, but these are law enforcement personnel deliberately issuing fraudulent docs that will expose others with something known to kill. I’d go for depraved indifference, noting that their first job is to uphold the law as well as a position of trust. However, you’re probably right about what would be charged.

    • P J Evans says:

      Mine is also online at the pharmacy that gave it, and at the place that manages my medical bracelet, though neither of those has all the vax records because they don’t allow for the really early ones (pre-1960 DPT), and the pharmacy’s date selector is a PITA because it doesn’t have a dropdown, but a monthly calendar that you have to scroll through to get to the correct month.

  4. Randy says:

    The conduct you point to by Garland indeed does suggest it is too soon to conclude DOJ will give Trump and his co-conspirators a pass on 1/6. On the other hand, I have seen no indication DOJ intends to proceed with the prosecutions Mueller handed them on a silver platter, the additional evidence of criminal conspiracy with agents of Russia that the Senate Intelligence Committee elicited and that his intervention in the Flynn case and subsequent issuance of pardons suggest, the Intelligence committee’s criminal referrals of Kushner, Bannon etc. for giving false testimony, the finding by the U.S. District Court for E. Wash. that Trump was involved in attempting to suppress votes by obstructing mail service, and Trump’s recorded solicitation of the reversal of Georgia’s Presidential election results — among other likely crimes by Trump and his senior minions. As far as I can tell, you have followed Trump’s malfeasance about as closely as anyone. Have you seen anything to suggest DOJ is not dropping the ball on these matters?

    • emptywheel says:

      I know that DOJ released a slew of 302s in the last 6 weeks that show redactions for ongoing investigations. Those redactions cover things like why Manafort shared polling data with a Russian intelligence officer and some of the weird finance stuff that went on, plus the Thomas Barrack stuff.

      That doesn’t mean they’ll prosecute. It means they haven’t closed the cases.

      • Randy Baker says:

        That is at least somewhat encouraging. Given that there are career prosecutors at DOJ who undoubtedly have come across substantial evidence, in some cases as with several of the Mueller documented matters, compelling evidence, Trump committed serious crimes, I wonder, should Garland order those prosecutors to not proceed, whether any will call him on it by resigning, as did several when Barr obstructed their case against Flynn.

        • emptywheel says:

          These are not easy cases to make. They involve spies who were trying to cover their tracks for whom the consequences of flipping will be significant.

          • Randy Baker says:

            I think at least 3-4 of the Mueller cases are pretty close to slam dunks; the key witness, McGhan, has already testified to the key elements of the offense under oath. Given that he is understood to be a competent adult with no motive to defame Trump, and certainly to not perjure himself, I can’t really see Trump getting out of those.
            The pardon to Flynn, with whom Trump had virtually no personal connection, and on whose behalf he fired Comey, would be pretty tough to explain as anything other than Trump’s having accepted a bribe — Flynn’s continued silence as the consideration.

                • bmaz says:

                  I think I, and more importantly, this blog, have done a sufficient job of that already. In criminal trial law, there are necessary elements to every putative crime.

                  Anybody that thinks this is all a “slam dunk” on the “Mueller cases” is nuts. And does not understand the DOJ rules for charging and how cases play out in front of actual juries. But do tell; why don’t you enlighten the rest of us?

                  • Randy Baker says:

                    I believe decades of litigating criminal appeals has acquainted me with the notion that convictions entail proof of the elements of an offense and persuading juries to credit that proof.
                    So, please explain what it is about DOJ rules for charging — or about D.C. juries — that would make prosecuting Trump so difficult?

              • FLwolverine says:

                The last time I described something as a slam dunk – remodeling a house to flip it – the damn project went $30,000 and 6 months over budget and was sold for about $2,000 profit to a guy who demolished it to build a McMansion.

            • timbo says:

              Why wouldn’t McGhan have motivation to perjure himself? We have no way of knowing the extent of his involvement in this and other matters to any great specificity. To assume that one does have the ability to do that speaks to some sort of potential godlike powers that are not in evidence bigly.

              • Randy Baker says:

                I guess he wouldn’t because he already has testified under oath to Congress confirming the incriminating account he gave to Mueller. I only have experience litigating state criminal charges, but unless federal criminal litigation is a totally different animal, I have a tough time imagining how McGhan would avoid conviction on multiple counts of perjury [multiple false statements he made and incidents he reported], and thereby at least some prison time [5 year max sentence for each count]. He also would lose his bar card from which he likely draws considerable financial and other benefit– perhaps even some public respectability. That seems like a lot to take for Trump, with little benefit I can see.

                • bmaz says:

                  Lol. You are full of shit and, as Alan Greenspan one intoned, full of “irrational exuberance”. You do not sound like a person that has tried meaningful criminal cases to a jury in either state, much less federal, courts.

                  And, by the way, NOBODY who calls it “litigating” is legitimate. Criminal trials are not “litigating”. That is a tell. Trial attys call them trials.

                  You are trolling this blog with this bunk. Apparently you never paid attention over the years to the work here. Don’t think you will circumvent it with suddenly Johnny on the spot blather.

                  • Randy Baker says:

                    Criminal Litigation
                    The Criminal Litigation Committee is concerned with the defense and prosecution of all criminal matters, including all state and federal crimes as well as complex white-collar cases and regulatory enforcement matters.

                    “While we agree that this doctrine applies to criminal litigation as well as civil, we find its protection unavailable in this case.” U.S. v. Nobles, 422 U.S. 225, 236 (1975).

                    • bmaz says:

                      Lol. You are citing the fucking ABA to me? You really have no actual criminal trial experience, and are talking out of your ass, aren’t you?

  5. rattlemullet says:

    Just curious regarding the BLM protesters that were arrested and the 1/6 attackers on the capital. How do the charges compare and their respective sentences compare. I read that BLM protester average sentence was 26 months, Is this true? What is the average sentence for the 1/6 attackers?

    As always thank you for this most informative blog.

  6. gmoke says:

    Sebastian Junger in his short book Tribe argues for a psychological debriefing for soldiers coming out of a war zone and returning to civilian life (my notes on the book at It tends to work that way in tribal societies which tend to have warriors separate themselves and purify themselves after a war party before returning to the tribe. Seems like it would be a good way to vitiate the effects of soldier’s heart, shell shock, battle fatigue, PTSD, all names from different wars for the same pathology.

    Of course, the military has not been interested in this idea. One egregious example is the nearly 40 year embargo of John Huston’s Army Signal Corps film “Let There Be Light,” which was about the treatment of battle fatigue after WWII.

    PS: It may even be worse for drone operators who commute daily between a war theater (I use this phrase deliberately) and homelife, who may spend months observing a target before being ordered to kill that person they’ve grown to know from a distance.

    • timbo says:

      Thanks for mentioning that movie. I’ll check it out. Definitely peace is the best solution if possible when it comes to human strife.

    • John Lehman says:

      Amen to bmaz.

      Also at Native American Pow Wows when an eagle feather is accidentally dropped on the Pow Wow grounds, the Pow Wow is immediately halted and an eagle feather pick-up ceremony is initiated. The fallen eagle feather is a symbol of a fallen warrior. In the ceremony a war veteran is asked to do the actual ceremonial pick-up and to share with everyone a traumatic war experience of their’s.

      Yes war is horrible and all involved need healing.

    • Solo says:

      Thanks gsmoke for bringing up the issue of grief, without using the word. That last paragraph on drone operators, what they must gradually and inevitably come to discover about the target, reminds me of the Cold War film, The Lives of Others.

      And also this aching story of “Seka’s Father Across the Street” as told, then played, by Leo Kottke.

      I, for one, am out looking for Junger’s book. Thank you for the tip!

    • gmoke says:

      There’s is another aspect to this. Many first responders, police, fire, EMTs…., serve in the Reserves and National Guard. 20 years of constant warfare come home in many generally unsuspected ways.

      I appreciate that my comment has struck a chord here. It’s something that should create a resonance.

    • ernesto1581 says:

      I’d like to second the appreciations above for your comment, gsmoke.

      I am 70. It has only recently occurred to the friends I grew up with, in a very tight post-war neighborhood, that many of the strange relationships and bizarre behaviors our dads had and exhibited with their children and their wives as we were growing up in the ‘fifties and early ‘sixties could only be attributed to their various experiences in the so-called “Good War,” 1942-45.

      There was no such thing as PTSD then, of course, and the “Shell Shock” of the first war had long been forgotten and belittled. Our dads were told, “It’s over, you’re alive, get on with it!” “It,” of course, being the business of America which, as Silent Cal famously remarked, is business.

      My dad, for example, was a surgeon’s mate on a hospital ship in the Mediterranean, essentially a floating MASH. The kind of mutilation and mayhem he must have dealt with regularly during his four-year deployment (that is, when the crew wasn’t bored stiff and offering free circumcisions to the goyim just to keep their knife skills up to snuff) must have been atrocious and soul-killing, to him and the men with whom he served. And yet I never heard a word of it though he died at 94 a couple years ago except to say that those were the years when he felt most intensely alive.

      I have been thinking, since the expansion of drone warfare ten years ago, about the mental health of those young men sitting in darkened rooms on a base in Nevada or somewhere, closely observing their targets for weeks on time, getting to know them, then wasting them on order with a blast from a drone. And then driving home to light up a barbecue and put their kids to bed. Can’t be good for them or their wives and children…

      anyway: “Let There Be Light (PMF 5019)” is still(!) available to watch on the youtubskis and I encourage folks who are interested to take a look.

  7. obsessed says:

    Off-topic questions on the Rudy front: So Igor Fruman has pled guilty to a reduced charge without any sort of cooperation agreement. Would it be correct to conclude that the prosecutors didn’t believe he had information that would get them any closer to Rudy & Trump, and they just wanted to avoid the expense of a trial so they let him plead to lesser charges? Of the 4 defendants, two have pled guilty without cooperation and the other two (including Parnas) are going to trial. It also seems quite odd (to me) that the judge set the sentencing date for early next year. Is that just par for the course in terms of the legal system moving at a glacial pace? Or will they call Fruman as a witness against Parnas even though there’s no cooperation agreement and hold the sentencing date over his head to ensure his truthful testimony?

      • Rugger9 says:

        What is apparently part of this plea deal is that Igor doesn’t have to cooperate, which is rather curious to me. Why would DOJ cut a deal for (apparently) nothing?

    • emptywheel says:

      Fruman didn’t cooperate bc he doesn’t want to narc out Dmitro Firtash. So he’ll do more time in prison than if he cooperated, but less than if he was convicted at trial.

      • bg says:

        I have a friend given a life sentence for a murder he says he did not commit. He was just denied a new trial by our state’s Supremes. It is a ongoing horror to me that if he is truthful and did not commit the crime, he would have been better off lying, taking a plea and apologizing for something he did not do than going to trial and being given a life sentence for which now there is no reprieve. Either way, he would have been a convicted murderer, but with a plea would probably be out in less than 10 years. I am not equating these various crimes and plea deals, just making a point about how things end up sometimes.

        • bmaz says:

          Usually the system works. Occasionally it does not. If it was a straight up first degree murder charge though, unlikely there ever would have been a plea for as little as ten years, even at the lower end with parole opportunity.

          • bg says:

            Thanks, bmaz. I am going to ask him. I think there was a manslaughter possibility throughout the trial. The judge was thrown off the bench in a retention election for poor judgement on any number of other cases. There are so many possible factors.

            • bmaz says:

              Will be interested to hear. Certainly not impossible was offered such a plea, but that only usually happens with a weak case. That he was convicted to murder with a life sentence kind of militates against that. But who knows? Hard to say without knowing a heck of a lot more.

  8. WilliamOckham says:

    Imagine how much better off the world would be if we had handled the 9/11 attacks the way we’re handling the 1/6 attack. Ignore for the moment whether or not you think that was politically possible. Just imagine if we had actually taken a law enforcement approach.

    • P J Evans says:

      Would have been a lot less expensive in both money and lives. And better diplomatically also. (I was for that approach, even then.)

    • Hika says:

      So much less killing; so many fewer broken people; and so much less financial cost. We would still be living in a wicked, wicked world, but perhaps it would be a little kinder, a little gentler, a little less full of fascist wannabes and idiots who can’t handle a needle in the arm the way they managed when they were toddlers.

    • rip says:

      But not an approach that served the purpose of the attacks.

      Two possibilities:
      1. Demoralize the Westerners so they would crumble and accept that they were not the gods of the world.
      2. Enable the establishment of a paranoid xenophobic militaristic regime in the west that could pretend for world dominance – while making boatloads of money.

      I think both have happened. But the demoralization of the arrogant western empire culture needed to have yet another defeat to show that it is impotent.

    • Eureka says:

      We kind of can imagine, given how the 1993 attack was handled.

      Elections … and Brooks Brothers Riots … and court appointments have consequences.

      Same with “friendships” with the House of Saud.

      • Eureka says:

        In follow-up, happened upon MSNBC mid an old Ashcroft clip — they are replaying NBC news from the night of 9/11/01 from (now) midnight to 5am Eastern, catch it if you can. The language is of a DOJ response … before it wasn’t. Very instructive to the ‘envisioning’ element of WilliamOckham’s exercise.

        Bannon, Miller, and Trump are war profiteers of the worst kind, speaking of hijackers…

  9. Savage Librarian says:

    Speaking of suggestions for Spencer Ackerman, I have two, though they have to do with visuals that are off putting. Specifically, the recent interview he did in a yellow room made him come across a lot more like Christopher Rufo than he might realize.

    First, he might want to consider relocating the painting directly behind his head while he was speaking. It was distracting for a number of reasons. It definitely competed with his interview.

    Also, I would probably cross the street if I saw somebody that looked like him approaching me. If you do an internet image search for ‘fascist hair’ you’ll see why. That doesn’t mean I think Spencer is a fascist. But it does speak to how strongly visceral a visual representation can be.

    Either Spencer is not aware of these things, or he doesn’t care. Either way, it is unsettling.

    • Tracy Lynn says:

      Wow. I had never heard of “fascist hair” before so I looked it up. Had no idea that was even a thing. Thanks, SL.

  10. Vinnie Gambone says:

    Voltaire: It is forbidden to kill therefore murderers are punished, unless they kill large numbers to the sound of trumpets..

    ” He jest at scars that never felt a wound.”

  11. Vinnie Gambone says:

    No doubt combat vets hurt in ways noncombatants can’t possibly fathom. Training and combat are two different things. Anyone in a war zone is in harms way even if you are just a clerk. Being near those who have wounds and scars can effect your thinking and values. I have to wonder though how many vets among the inurectionist saw real combat. How many wish they had and now see insurection as their chance to finally fulfill their hero wishes. The idea of honoring the veteran died for me when so many vets ignored Trum’p’s John McCain insult. Many still fly POW flags which adds to that insult. Bravado is not bravery. Mouthing slogans, claiming to be patriots and then hunting down reporters and sucker punching people who just look like they might be antifa, or whatever. This is a perversion.There is no fucking honor or bravery in that. Its the same collective psyche as in post WW1 Germany that gave rise to that monster Hitler. For a vet to cheer a POS like Ttrump betrays the honor they so vehemently claim to cherish. They are not patriots they are pussies, especially the wolf packs. We have all seen them growing up-tough guys in a crowd, take it in the ass crybaby punks one on one.
    These are not Patriots, they are despicable sociopaths . I am ashamed for them, but they deserve no breaks. They can and never win over the true spirit of America. I am trying not to hate them, but I do.

    • John Lehman says:

      “ We have all seen them growing up-tough guys in a crowd, take it in the ass crybaby punks one on one.”

      Reminds me of 17th century quote from a guy named Bill about …”cowards dying a thousand deaths….”

  12. Vinnie Gambone says:

    Gsmoke, immense thanks for your review and citations which i’ve e passed on to friend who runs suicide hot line and counseling for Veterans. Caseload tripled since the kabul 13. Only had time to glimpse myself, but WOW. Comments on first responders and others so insightful. John Huston’s flick. The question should always be not what’s wrong with this person, but what happened to them. Hard row to hoe for the helpers and the helped. I like to just swarm them with the love and afection of children of all ages all the time because as we know its hard to resist the power of a child’s smile and laughter. Adults have only word salads to offer. A hug from a kid ? Works wonders. Thanks gsmoke. Thanks to you all for caring so much.

  13. perris says:

    Why are democrats calling the insurrection “The big lie” it’s is too tame, it should be “disgusting lie” and “insurrection lie”

  14. fuster says:

    even back in the FDL days, I considered Wheeler to be the best journalist on the site
    and Spencer, as ambitious as he was, had to agree with my assessment.

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