President Trump’s Plan For Military Parade Draws Bipartisan Backlash
President Donald Trump‘s call for a Red Square-styled military parade down the streets of Washington, D.C. has drawn backlash from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle called it a waste of money and a break from democratic values.
For the first time since 1991 when former president George H.W. Bush paraded tanks and howitzers down the streets of Washington D.C. to celebrate the end of the first Gulf War an acting president is once again planning a show of might to demonstrate our nation’s military might.
However, unlike Bush’s $12 million victory celebration that “left deep marks in the asphalt” from all the heavy machinery being paraded down the streets, president Trump’s would be noticeably absent of reason for such an elaborate show of force.
According to an unofficial poll by Military Times, 89 percent of the roughly 54,000 responders said that a parade would be a waste of money and that our troops are far too busy to participate.
Paul Rieckhoff, the CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, added that “it’s overwhelmingly unpopular. Folks of all political backgrounds don’t think it is a good use of resources.”
A lot has changed since Bush’s time, the United States is currently engaged with numerous nations in conflicts around the globe. Military leaders are already warning of mounting unpreparedness among troops and a break from training in order to plan, move the equipment and then execute a parade could impact the battle readiness of current U.S. forces.
“I think confidence is silent and insecurity is loud,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.). “America is the most powerful country in all of human history; you don’t need to show it off.”
Joe Walsh, a prominent conservative talk show host and former Republican representative of Illinois, also found the idea of moving troops and equipment from the front lines to the Capital just to parade down the streets of D.C., as a misuse of resources. “Obama wasn’t a King. Trump isn’t a King either. My side needs to quit treating him like one. We don’t elect Kings in this country, remember? No military parade,” he tweeted out.
Obama wasn’t a King.
Trump isn’t a King either. My side needs to quit treating him like one.
We don’t elect Kings in this country, remember?
No military parade.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) February 7, 2018
On the other side, Democratic lawmakers have been calling the parade an affront to American principles. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wa.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee called the military parade “a departure from the values of our constitutional democracy.”
“We are a nation of laws, not of one person,” Smith said. “In the past, we held military parades to celebrate major national events such as the Gulf War or the end of World War II, as achievements by the American people who fought and supported those efforts. A military parade like this — one that is unduly focused on a single person — is what authoritarian regimes do, not democracies.”
Others were concerned about the cost of such an extravagant display of arms. Four Democratic lawmakers in a letter addressed to Secretary of Defense James Mattis wanted to know the costs to plan the parade, the route, and the training operations that would have to be postponed to accommodate the event.
Senators Dick Durban (D-Ill.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) wrote in the letter addressed to Mattis that “every penny of the millions of dollars that the parade would cost and every second of the tens of thousands of personnel hours its execution would require, should be devoted to the most essential missions of the Department of defense — protecting the American people and our security interests.”
“At a time of war, with American service members serving in harm’s way, such a parade seems inappropriate and wasteful,” they said.
— The Hill (@thehill) February 8, 2018
In a White House press briefing, Mattis said that plans for a celebration are already underway, without getting to much into the specifics of it he said, “we have been putting together some options. We will send them up to the White House for decision.”