I served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Capitol insurrection was as a vivid reminder that our foreign policy has undermined the American system, too.
Just about everyone was shocked by what happened at the Capitol building on January 6th. But as a former soldier in America’s forever wars, horrifying as the scenes were, I also found what happened strangely familiar, almost inevitable. I thought that, if only we had taken our country’s imperial history seriously, none of us would have found that day either shocking or unprecedented.
Honestly, it could only seem that way if you imagined our domestic politics as completely separate from our foreign policy. But if we’re to learn anything from that maladroit attempt at a government-toppling coup, it should be that they are anything but separate. The question isn’t whether then-President Donald Trump incited the assault on the Capitol — of course he did. It is rather: Since when have we cared if an American president lies to incite an illegal insurrection?
Kevin Tillman, who works in the software industry, joined the U.S. Army with his brother Pat in 2002 after the attacks of September 11th. He served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Pat was killed in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004.