So Trump Is Getting His Military Parade

There won't be any tanks, but it looks like President Trump will get his military parade.

President Trump seems likely to get his much desired military parade, but it won’t happen on the Fourth of July and it won’t include tanks or other heavy military equipment:

It looks as if President Trump will get the military parade he has coveted for months. But it will not be on the Fourth of July — and it will not include tanks.

Instead, plans are underway to hold a plane-filled display on Veterans Day in Washington, according to a Pentagon memo sent to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The memo, with Thursday’s date, says its purpose is to “provide initial guidance for the planning and execution” of a procession that would run from the White House to the Capitol and integrate with the city’s annual Veterans Day parade.

Medal of Honor recipients and veterans’ organizations are to be included in the march, which, according to the memo, will feature a heavy dose of history.

“This parade will focus on the contributions of our veterans throughout the history of the U.S. Military, starting from the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 to today, with an emphasis on the price of freedom,” the memo said

In practice, that means “period uniforms,” re-enactments and even the use of an “old guard fife and drum,” the memo says.

The parade will also “highlight the evolution of women veterans from separate formations in World War II to today’s integrated formations,” the memo says. It will close with a “heavy air component,” which officials hope will include older planes.

Why no tanks?

“Consideration must be given to minimize damage to local infrastructure,” the memo notes, adding that there will be “wheeled vehicles only.”

The details come more than a year after Mr. Trump first signaled interest in the possibility of a military parade.

His inaugural committee reportedly explored, but rejected, the idea of highlighting military equipment in his inaugural parade. Then, in July, Mr. Trump watched a Bastille Day celebration in Paris and days later called it “one of the most beautiful parades I have ever seen,” adding that “we should do one one day down Pennsylvania Ave.”

Two months later, while making remarks at the United Nations, Mr. Trump said he was actually looking into staging a Fourth of July parade, noting again that he had gotten the idea after watching the Bastille Day event.

Finally, last month, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis acknowledged that the Pentagon had been “putting together some options” for an event, which would be sent to the White House. A week later Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, estimated that the sort of public display that Mr. Trump had called for could cost between $10 million and $30 million.

Soon after that, Mr. Trump told Fox News that he would forgo the idea if it could not be done at a “reasonable cost,” which might help explain the decision to integrate the new parade with one that already exists.

On some level I suppose, the idea of a parade celebrating what they are it seems inevitable that this military parade would end up being more about Donald Trump celebrating Donald Trump than anything else. As I’ve said before, it’s become quite clear that Trump is utterly fascinated by displays of military might and that he enjoys the adulation that is typically given to authoritarian rulers. This, I think, explains a good part of the reason why he seems to find more in common with authoritarian rulers such as Egypt’s President el-Sisi, Saudi Arabia’s il-Saud family, President Duarte of The Philippines and, of course, Russian President Vladimir Putin than he is our democratic allies in Europe and elsewhere. More recently, he expressed admiration for the moves by Chinese President Xi Jinping that effectively make him the leader of China for as long as he wants the job, suggesting that maybe we should try something like that in the United States.

Given that, the idea of being able to put himself at the center of a nationalistic display like the one he witnessed in Paris, or those that are held by Russia, China, and North Korea is no doubt appealing to this President. The fact that the Administration will pass it off as a celebration of “the troops” provides him with the kind of absurd spectacle this is likely to turn into and to make it appear that those of us who are opposed to the idea of what amounts to a celebration of militarism and symbols of authoritarianism as being against the troops. To the extent that there is any dissent from the idea of this parade, Trump will no doubt label it as “un-American” and perhaps he’ll even dust off the claim that such critics are “treasonous just as he believes it’s treasonous to fail to stand up and applaud for the President when you disagree with his policies. This rhetoric will play well with Trump’s base, of course, but it’s also likely to resonate with other Americans.

If such a parade is going to take place, and it now appears that this will be the case, I suppose it’s appropriate that it will happen on Veterans Day. In addition to the fact that it is far too late to schedule anything like this for an earlier date, the initial idea of having such a parade on the Fourth of July was simply impractical given the number of tourists and area residents who will be trying to get into the city for the festivities on the National Mall. Additionally, as the article above notes, there is already a parade of sorts in Washington, D.C. every year on Veterans Day so this would simply be an expanded version of what was already in the planning stages. Additionally, Veteran’s Day this year also coincides with the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, which has quickly become something of a forgotten war and still lacks a monument on the National Mall. All of that is likely to be lost, of course, if this turns into the display of Trumpidian machismo it is likely to become, of course, but that may be the best way to look at all of this. At least there won’t be any tanks in the streets.

 

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Military Affairs, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Fine with me, as long as he has to pay for it up front.




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  2. Kathy says:

    1) He no longer has to to North Korea to see a military parade.

    2) Someone please tally up the cost and figure out what the military could have used that money for instead.




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  3. Mr. Prosser says:

    Saying this parade will be “for the troops” when it’s the troops who will have to march in it is an irony Trump won’t see. I hope the recognition of the end of WWI and the demonstration of the evolution of female contributions in the armed forces overrides the trumpidian self worship.




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  4. @Mr. Prosser:

    One can hope. As I said, World War One is something that’s largely forgotten in American history at this point and, as I said, it still doesn’t have a proper monument on the National Mall (although there is a small memorial to D.C. residents who fought in the war nearby).




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  5. michael reynolds says:

    Overheard from General Mattis: “Just give the dumb fwck his parade, maybe he’ll shut up about transgender troops.”

    Pretty sure that’s a direct quote.




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  6. Modulo Myself says:

    There’s not going to be dissent. Just laughter, mockery, irony, and endless deprecation. This will trigger more resentment from his base, and then there will be a bigger, dumber parade.




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  7. It amuses me that the character obsessed with military parades in Catch-22 is named Scheisskopf.




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  8. Stormy Dragon says:

    On the bright side, I’m looking forward to the inevitable YouTube where someone takes the coverage of the parade and keeps the shots of Trump waving from his grandstand, but replaces all the parade shots with clips of the Nuremberg rallies, Red Square parades, North Korea parades, etc.




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  9. MBunge says:

    I have to admit, I never knew the French were “utterly fascinated by displays of military might” and French politicians enjoy “the adulation that is typically given to authoritarian rulers.”

    Never let it be said this place isn’t educational.

    Mike




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  10. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I knew three WWI veterans when I was a kid. One was my teacher in elementary school who lost an arm in France. The second was gassed and had chronic lung problems but still spent years as a mail carrier. The third was my granddad who, because he was a professional musician in civilian life, spent the war assigned to the Navy band.




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  11. Kathy says:

    Plan B:

    Have the politicians march in a a parade, led by the Orange Clown himself, and let the troops sit on the reviewing stands to watch.

    As long as they’re provided with a few pounds of rotten tomatoes, naturally.




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  12. @MBunge: If you are actually interested in the topic, I would suggest:

    Why Trump’s military parade won’t be ‘like the one in France’

    and

    Trump wants a military parade “just like France’s.” It’s likely to look more like China’s.

    It also matters that this would be a new thing for the US, rather than based on a tradition that is over a century old.




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  13. Gustopher says:

    @MBunge: The French military parades are an effort to bolster the confidence of their armed forces. They are also specifically held to ensure the troops are marching towards the East — towards the hypothetical invading German army, rather than fleeing from it.




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  14. James Pearce says:

    Plan C: We claim the Veteran’s Day Parade for veterans – not of trade wars or drug wars or wars against immigrants, but actual wars- and give them the glory, ignoring as best as we can the spectacle of our scandal-plagued president.




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  15. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Even $30 million in a budget the size of the DoDs is barely a rounding error.




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  16. James Pearce says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    Even $30 million in a budget the size of the DoDs is barely a rounding error.

    For even more perspective: Jennifer Lawrence’s latest movie, Red Sparrow, cost twice that.




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  17. Kathy says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: A few millions here, a few millions there, and pretty soon you’re dealing with real money.




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  18. James Pearce says:

    @Kathy:

    A few millions here, a few millions there, and pretty soon you’re dealing with real money.

    Yeah, but the point is that the pricetag sounds super-big to us working stiff types who count our yearly salaries in 5 digits, but it’s not a lot of money from an institutional perspective.

    Don’t forget this part:

    To the extent that there is any dissent from the idea of this parade, Trump will no doubt label it as “un-American” and perhaps he’ll even dust off the claim that such critics are “treasonous

    Trump is setting a trap. $30 million and a parade on Veteran’s Day (which we can spin too!) is a small price to pay for NOT falling into it.




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  19. gVOR08 says:

    I didn’t think the military would do this. I expected a puffed up cost estimate that even Trump would decline. But a modest parade tacked onto an existing Veterans Day parade with an emphasis on veterans and history and women is pretty slick. I hope Il Douche doesn’t figure out they’re kind of conning him.

    Cross country flying is cross country training. I expect the airplanes will be charged to a training budget. Moving tanks and other heavy equipment by truck or train to DC would be a real stretch on a training budget, and a big hit to a recruiting budget.




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  20. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Pearce:

    The obvious talking point:

    I wonder how many homeless veterans we could house / take care of with $30 million? If this clown actually cared about veterans, instead of only caring about how he can use them as a propaganda tool, he wouldn’t be wasting money on a parade. He’d be using it to, you know, actually help them

    basically writes itself …




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  21. Scott O says:

    Kim Jong Un is probably planning a bigger parade, with tanks, for the day before Trump’s.




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  22. James Pearce says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Sure, but replace “homeless vets” with “the wall” or “defeating ISIS” and the limits to that rhetorical approach become apparent.

    Why not just let it be? The harm will be minimal, the cost not prohibitive. Yes, there are more important things to be doing, but it’s not like I expect Donald F’in Trump to do them. A military parade is one of his best ideas (which is not saying much about the merits of a military parade, but says a lot about Trump’s ideas), and if he thinks it’s going to burnish his credentials as CIC, he’s an even bigger clown than I thought.

    So we throw a military parade….cui bono? Not Trump.

    So we throw a fit over the military parade….cui bono? Definitely Trump.

    We can outsmart this guy. IF we resist our own impulses.




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  23. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Sure, but replace “homeless vets” with “the wall” or “defeating ISIS” and the limits to that rhetorical approach become apparent.

    Maybe they do on Planet Pearce. Here, on Earth, they just lead to “You care more about a wall than you do about homeless veterans?? Seriously??”

    Like I said, this narrative writes itself. In one move, Democrats get to position themselves as the protectors of veterans AND force GOP’ers in Congress to abandon Trump.

    Why not just let it be? Because nobody ever won a football game by playing only defense. It’s well past time that Democrats grew some balls …




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  24. Scott says:

    Seems to me that the Veteran’s Day parade should be about the Veterans. Let them march. And let people cheer. I see it as something more like the Olympics opening ceremony where they all march in smiling and laughing and people clapping. That is a parade I could get behind.

    The only problem I have is this old veteran can’t fit into his uniform anymore!




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  25. James Pearce says:

    @HarvardLaw92: So we’re back to the “Planet Pearce” crap again, huh?

    There is not, and there will never be, a choice between having this military parade and providing for homeless veterans, or anything else. $30 million is not a lot of money in the big scheme of things, and if you make it about cost, this is what Donald Trump is going to say at his next pep rally to rapturous applause, “They complained about the money. I had the most glorious military parade in human history, bigger than Caesar’s, Napoleon would be jealous, let me tell you, and they said it couldn’t be done, but $30 million, which isn’t very much money, by the way, not for me, I make that in a day, that’s all it took. Are these people a bunch of cranks or what?”

    And the Nazis cheer.

    Democrats aren’t going to position themselves into anything but knots if they take this on, and we lay-liberals should just claim the parade as our own. F Trump. He wants to throw us a parade, we’ll eat his candy.

    Why not just let it be? Because nobody ever won a football game by playing only defense.

    Try this. Go to Google. Type in “Defense wins.”

    Tell me what autocompletes.




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  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Pearce:

    Yeah, but the point is that the pricetag sounds super-big to us working stiff types who count our yearly salaries in 5 digits, but it’s not a lot of money

    If it’s not a lot of money, let trump pay for it from his couch change.




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  27. Kathy says:

    @James Pearce:

    Yeah, but the point is that the pricetag sounds super-big to us working stiff types who count our yearly salaries in 5 digits, but it’s not a lot of money from an institutional perspective.

    As it happens, I deal with similar situations all the time at my job. It’s common to call amounts ten times my salary “a rounding error,” too. Except from time to time they add up to a measurable percentage of a contract.

    It happens in other areas, too. When I do the weekly petty cash reimbursement report, you’d be amazed how a bunch of tiny expenses amount to $500, while the “big” expenses total under $150.




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  28. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    Brazil has a parade like that(It has some children parading with soldiers, cops and firemen). it´s completely boring, no one that I know watches that.

    https://youtu.be/z3ql90K5QXo

    At best this kind of institutionalized patriotism is kitschy. At worse it’s authoritarian and will make people completely cynical towards their own country(At least in Brazil the same people that fetishsizes with the National Anthem and with National Soccer Team Jersey are going to live in Miami in the first opportunity that they get to do so).




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  29. @Andre Kenji de Sousa: Parades are the finest in 19th century entertainment.




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  30. James Pearce says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    If it’s not a lot of money, let trump pay for it from his couch change.

    Oh I’m sure some federal ethics rule would prohibit such a thing, but this again points to the perils of making it about the money.

    * Trump pays for it out of pocket. He’s the president who paid for a military parade out of pocket, instant hero, maybe not to you, but to your neighbor maybe.

    * Private donations or some “parade bond” scheme. With Trump and Fox News and everyone else working in concert, they’re going to raise $300 million, not $30 million. They can bring the tanks, cuz they’ll be able to pay to fix the roads. “Period uniforms?” Shit, Spielberg will direct it and Hugh Jackman will do a song and dance number.

    * The military pays for it. $30 million. A nationalistic, military display, yes, put on to please Trump, yes, paid for by the taxpayer, of course, but one that Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen can giggle over, that your kids can watch, that probably, in all likelihood, really isn’t going to be that big of a deal.

    So we should back off, calm down about the parade –seriously, it’s a parade– and allow it to honor our vets the best it can, because it will.

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Parades are the finest in 19th century entertainment.

    Their 21st Century counterparts are pretty fun too, also a great way to build community and show support.




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  31. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Pearce:

    There is not, and there will never be, a choice between having this military parade and providing for homeless veterans, or anything else

    Then whence cometh all the homeless veterans?

    You know what you do to counter his bullshit? You go hang out with homeless veterans, you get it on video, and you make the point – over and over and over again – regarding how many hundreds of others just like them wouldn’t be freezing to death on the street if we’d taken that $30 million and used it for something more productive than a parade.

    They can’t respond to it, because anything that they say beyond “this is an outrage, and we’re going to spend a fortune addressing it” just calls the hypocrisy of their faux patriotism into specific relief. Oh, and if they do actually spend a fortune on it (which will never happen), guess who gets to take credit for it?

    The people who called attention to it in the first place.

    When they don’t spend the money? Well, we get to trade on that one as well …

    For somebody who has seemingly spent the last year or so whining 24/7 about how Democrats need to stop being so smug and fight, you’ve certainly grown a sense of complacency in a hurry … 🙄

    So we’re back to the “Planet Pearce” crap again, huh?

    We never set it aside. Stop trying to sell bullshit and people will stop complaining about the smell …




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  32. JohnMcC says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa: I’ve heard Miami called the ‘Capital of the Caribbean’ and have noticed that they have conquered the ‘old Spanish Main’ of northern-tier SouthAmerican states. Have those avaricious Miamians reached Brazil now? The United Nations needs notified!

    @Mr. Prosser:There was a fabulous story about my Granddad’s service in WW1. He seems to have been promoted and demoted several times just on the voyage over (apparently there was one huge transport that almost the entire AEF took to France). He survived the Belew Wood fight and sensibly decided that war sucks so he and a friend stole a train and took themselves to Paris where they hid among the crowds for some unknown period before being rounded up just in time to be demobilized. I’ve wished I had his balls.




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  33. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @JohnMcC: I don’t know. I did not have the patience to watch the whole parade. this is boring as f*.




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  34. James Pearce says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Stop trying to sell bullshit and people will stop complaining about the smell …

    “Don’t freak out over Trump’s military parade” is not bullshit. It’s good advice. Or maybe it’s bad advice. That’s up to you.

    It is not, however, an invitation to insult me.




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  35. al-Ameda says:

    This will be Trump’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ military review. Trump is going to turn this into a 2020 campaign rally, there will be a few thousand Trump supporters there ostensibly to ‘honor the troops’ but … yeah.

    And, I have to say that I agree with @James Pearce: who says that it’s not about the money. Yeah, let his Russian connections pay for it. But really, to me $30M in a $4 trillion federal budget? I care more about the environmental regulations these grease ball are rolling back, the trade agreements they are unilaterally abrogating, the use of the federal Department of Education to divert public education resources to private schools, the ongoing actions of the Department of the Interior to open federal lands up for private resource exploitation, and on-and-on.




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  36. James Pearce says:

    @al-Ameda:

    And, I have to say that I agree with @James Pearce

    You know what that makes you right? An astronaut.




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  37. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    “You care more about a wall than you do about homeless veterans?? Seriously??”

    “Well, F’n yeah! If it wasn’t for all those f’n wetbacks and moozlim “refugees” takin’ all the jobs away, there wouldn’t even f’ n BE any homeless f’n veterans.” MAWA!

    (I would have thought you’d have seen that one coming.)




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  38. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @James Pearce: Any time anyone challenges the conventional wisdom, especially on the innertubes, it’s an invitation to insult that person. Particularly if you’re the person being insulted, unfortunately. Roll with it. It’s as American as Chevrolets, apple pie, and Fox News.




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  39. DrDaveT says:

    @James Pearce:

    There is not, and there will never be, a choice between having this military parade and providing for homeless veterans, or anything else.

    Sorry guys; James is right on this one.
    @HarvardLaw92:

    Then whence cometh all the homeless veterans?

    Surprisingly, not from any unwillingness to spend money on homeless veterans. That might have been true 30 or 40 years ago, but not today. We spend more money on veterans than we do for anything else whose name doesn’t start with “Medi-“.

    Now, if you want to talk about homeless NON-veterans… that’s a different matter, and that $30M would work miracles. But that’s not the nation we are at the moment.




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