He wasn’t the only Fox contributor to deliver thumbs down to the idea today. Brian Kilmeade, co-host of the president’s favorite TV show, called it a “waste of money,” leading WaPo to wonder if Trump might eventually think twice about it. He seems to follow Fox’s lead on everything. A stinkface from the network on the parade idea might be more influential than Mattis or Kelly urging him to reconsider. And yes, that is crazy, but that’s the reality we inhabit now.
Peters makes two points, one familiar, the other less so. Point one: Military parades are a hallmark of countries that feel *insecure* about their military power. America’s held them before, sure — to celebrate a victory at war. A parade as a pure exercise of muscle-flexing would be different. Obsessing too much about projecting “strength” will usually be read, correctly, as anxiety about weakness.
Two: If you think you’re doing the troops a favor by giving them a moment to bask in applause, think again. For many, this’ll not only cost them a holiday, it’ll be a giant logistical pain in the ass.
The Army subreddit is looking forward to the military parade. pic.twitter.com/hjTzBRUtKp
— Soldier Jane (@sgtjanedoe) February 7, 2018
There’s no better use of millions of extra dollars for the military than a parade? I bet every veteran in America could name 10 things they’d rather see the money applied to.
Poor Gen. Mattis was tasked with speaking at the White House briefing today about the budget deal on military spending, knowing that he’d inevitably get a question about the parade. According to Fox News’s own reporting, Trump’s idea had provoked a “collective eye-roll” at the Pentagon, which would rather spend its time worrying about, say, war with North Korea. But Mattis can’t go out there and roll his eyes. So he put the best possible spin on it:
“We’re all aware in this country of the President’s affection and respect for the military,” Mattis said. “We’ve been putting together some options. We’ll send them up to the White House for decision.”
“The President’s respect, his fondness for the military I think is reflected in him asking for these options,” he added.
He’s totally right that the more the parade focuses on servicemen and women, the more palatable it’ll be. That’s why the Pentagon is reportedly focused on doing it on Veterans Day instead of July 4. Celebrating the troops themselves is one thing, using the troops as props to celebrate Trump’s alpha-male MAGA “strength” obsession is another. A parade that consisted of only soldiers marching, without any of the hardware, would be the wisest, most dignified move, but I think Trump wants to see those tanks and jets. What’s wrong with that, Bill Hemmer asks Peters here? What’s wrong with it, says Peters, is that the military shouldn’t be parading through civilian neighborhoods in a country that purports to enjoy civilian control of the military. It’s a small bit of symbolism but it helps normalize an idea of the civic hierarchy that shouldn’t be normalized. The president can pick generals for all of the most important national security and defense jobs but let’s maybe draw the line at bringing out the tanks.
Good news for Trump, though: There’s a 100 percent chance that Democrats will overreach in their criticism of him for this. Some dopes on Twitter are already promising to lay down in front of the tanks if they roll down Pennsylvania Avenue and, as you’ll see below, Dem Rep. Jackie Speier is fretting about Trump being a “Napoleon in the making.” (Unlikely. Napoleon actually served.) In all probability the parade will come off fine and most of the public will enjoy it, with Democrats left huffing in overreaction. If nothing else comes from this except Trump baiting the left into complaining about celebrating soldiers, it’ll be a political win. That’s worth millions of taxpayer bucks and an unholy clean-up job for D.C., no?