5 Reasons Why Trump’s Military Parade Fantasy is a Horrible Idea for the Country
Donald Trump Has Had Some REALLY Bad Ideas, But a Military Parade Is Among His Worst
So Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to stage a large-scale “military parade” down Pennsylvania Avenue at some point in 2018. According to reports, the President would like the display tied “to a patriotic holiday“. Compared to threatening nuclear war on Twitter and encouraging white nationalists to take to American streets, a one-day military parade seems rather harmless. But as is the case with just about everything the 45th President does, the undertones and lasting impact of this idea are more dangerous than they appear at first glance.
There are plenty more than this, but here are 5 reasons why this proposal is a horrendous concept for the president and the United States as a whole:
1. It’s a blatant attempt to politicize the armed forces.
While neither party can claim ownership of the military, it’s not a secret that those serving and our nations’ veterans tend to prefer Republican candidates to Democratic ones. Despite publicly mocking Senator John McCain (R-AZ) for being captured when his plane was shot down over Hanoi in 1967 and disparaging a Gold Star Family for their Muslim faith during the 2016 campaign, veterans voted for Trump at a 2-1 margin over Hillary Clinton.
Which is obviously fine. Many vocations, occupations, age groups, creeds, races, and orientations lean towards one of our two major parties. In this age of instant polling and microanalysis, it’s rather easy to put voters into a demographic box. This goes further than appeasing a demographic, however. The President of the United States is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces by constitutional decree. That doesn’t change if the President is a Republican, a Democrat, a Whig, Independent, Green, Libertarian or Socialist.
Commander in Chief Trump, on the other hand, will undoubtedly make this parade about him, and his professed love for the military. And is there any doubt that he will attempt to paint those who oppose spending valuable time, effort and money on a parade as “anti-military”? He’s already used the term in the debate over how to fund the government:
A government shutdown will be devastating to our military…something the Dems care very little about!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2018
2. ‘Cadet Bone Spurs’ Lacks Credibility On The Issue
We’ve already mentioned the classless and insulting remarks about McCain as well as the heartless attacks on Khizr and Ghazala Khan. During the presidential campaign, when Retired Lieutenant Colonel Louis Dorfman presented Trump with his Purple Heart medal, the candidate responded:
“Man, that’s like big stuff. I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.”
It’s ironic that he always wanted the Purple Heart, because when given the opportunity to put himself in a position where it would have been a possibility, he ran away. Or, if we’re to believe his medical reports, hobbled away.
In an in-depth profile in August 2016, the New York Times detailed how a young Donald Trump — in prime fighting age and condition — avoided the draft during the Tet Offensive of the Vietnam War:
Back in 1968, at the age of 22, Donald J. Trump seemed the picture of health.
He stood 6 feet 2 inches with an athletic build; had played football, tennis and squash; and was taking up golf. His medical history was unblemished, aside from a routine appendectomy when he was 10.
But after he graduated from college in the spring of 1968, making him eligible to be drafted and sent to Vietnam, he received a diagnosis that would change his path: bone spurs in his heels.
The diagnosis resulted in a coveted 1-Y medical deferment that fall, exempting him from military service as the United States was undertaking huge troop deployments to Southeast Asia, inducting about 300,000 men into the military that year.
The deferment was one of five Mr. Trump received during Vietnam. The others were for education.
His military credibility is so strained that veteran Senators in both parties have openly mocked his draft-dodging techniques. McCain told reporters last October that during Vietnam, wealthy young men “found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur“.
Meanwhile, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) has taken to publicly calling Trump “Cadet Bone Spurs“.
Trump has often blamed Democrats for cuts in military funding (even though you don’t have to go on a 5 hour google trail to realize the cuts referenced began in the Republican House which passed the Budget Control Act of 2013). As the original Washington Post report pointed out, financing a parade isn’t exactly cost-effective:
Shows of military strength are not typical in the United States — and they don’t come cheap. The cost of shipping Abrams tanks and high-tech hardware to Washington could run in the millions, and military officials said it was unclear how they would pay for it.
And Washington is already responding. Senator Dick Durbin told NBC News:
“Take the money that the president would like to spend on this parade [and] instead, let’s make sure our troops are ready for battle and survive it and come home to their families,”
“It’s not our style, it’s not the way we do business, and I really object to it. And I think it’s going to cost a lot of money. So what’s really in it for the American people?”
Even Republicans are skeptical of the price tag, with Representative Lee Zeldin telling CNN “cost would be a factor”.
4. We Are A Nation Still At War(s)
It is true that America has staged large-scale military parades in the past. The last ones took place in 1991, following the allied forces victory in Operation Desert Storm. I’m old enough to remember. For most of the spring and summer of ’91, cities and towns across the land held parades and celebrations, with New York City and Washington, DC having the largest. Small towns welcomed home their native sons and daughters who saw combat. It was described at the time as a national healing, or catharsis, a decade-and-a-half after the more ambiguous and controversial end of the Vietnam War.
But while President Trump pleases his ego by standing on a dais or balcony waiving to tanks and missiles, America’s military is engaged in hostilities across the globe.
- We have a military presence in over a dozen African nations.
- Soldiers and Marines are currently stationed in Syria, assisting with the fight against ISIS.
- There are at least 11,000 active duty members of the Armed Forces still in Afghanistan, our longest-running conflict.
- Almost 9,000 troops are still in Iraq.
The optics of the Commander-In-Chief boosting his ego while American lives are on the line in contentious situations is insulting at best.
5. Look At The Other Nations That Feel The Need To Hold These Parades
Let’s let twitter explain in visual detail…
— Liveuamap (@Liveuamap) February 5, 2018
If you don't think this #PARADE demand is disturbing you're #NotPayingAttention. The only 2 countries who routinely have shows of military might are #NorthKorea & #Russia. If you like this kind of thing I suggest you get your passport and emigrate,
PS: Hitler liked parades too. pic.twitter.com/XbkSeMNGp8
— RC deWinter (@RCdeWinter) February 7, 2018
If Donald Trump (famous descendant of the German Drumpf chain immigration family) wants a proper military parade, he should seek advice from his pals Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un. And watch old footage of Nazi military parades. Great goose-steps! pic.twitter.com/BBv0qPrtx6
— Hans de Vreij (@hdevreij) February 7, 2018
To Our Glorious Leader:
One reason France conducts an elaborate military parade on their national holiday might be to help erase the national memory of Nazi Germany's show of force in Paris on June 14, 1940. We have no such bad memories.
Let's keep it that way.
— phbehnken (@phbehnken) February 7, 2018
Something like this?
Nazi Parade 1933 pic.twitter.com/zhHdJDMNPC
— Juan L. Collado (@jlcollado) February 7, 2018
The Saudis throw a military parade every year as pilgrims make their way to Mecca. They also beheaded 100 people in 2015, including migrant (female) workers who were accused of witchcraft.
“Saudi Arabia, they make $1 billion a day…I love the Saudis." – Donald Trump (2) pic.twitter.com/Pahw2UsChv
— Kaz Weida (@kazweida) February 7, 2018
The organization Vote Vets even chastised the president for “authoritarian tendencies”
Retired Major General Paul Eaton says @realDonaldTrump's parade idea underscores his authoritarian tendencies, and that our military is not there to be "used and abused" to prop up his image.
VoteVets full statement on Trump's orders for a military parade. pic.twitter.com/Am7uSSWZfo
— VoteVets (@votevets) February 7, 2018
We’re better than this, America.
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Ed Hanratty is a Reverb Press contributor and freelance political journalist. A lifelong New Jerseyan, he prides himself on having just enough Garden State sarcasm and skepticism to keep his bleeding heart in check. Keep up with Ed’s work and random ramblings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the links below…but not Snapchat — that’s where he’s decided to draw the social media line. (For Now)