Editorial

Trump Wants a Big Parade. It Would Be a Big Mistake.

The United States has the world’s most capable fighting force. But do we really want to spike the ball at a time when the country is embroiled in two wars, with no end in sight?

The president seems to think so. President Trump, apparently taken by the Bastille Day parade in Paris, which he attended last summer, has instructed Pentagon brass to organize an even bigger show of military strength, down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington — tanks, missiles, jets and rows of uniformed troops marching in precision. “We’re going to have to try to top” the French procession, he told reporters. No date has been set, but the planning is underway.

It’s all a bit silly. But leaving aside, for the moment, Mr. Trump’s insecurities and his desire to do everything bigger than anyone else, there are some serious reasons to reject his idea.

Mr. Trump’s parade would further militarize America’s image. And it would be expensive, costing millions of dollars and most likely tearing up Washington’s streets. Does that make sense when the Pentagon is complaining that its $700 billion annual budget is inadequate, Congress is cutting vital programs, the State Department is being eviscerated and a Republican tax cut for the wealthy has added billions of dollars to the deficit?

The United States used to regularly hold national military parades, generally to mark military victories. They took place after the Civil War, World War I and World War II. Most recently, the first President George Bush presided as 8,800 troops, with weapons, marched through Washington after the 1991 Persian Gulf war ended. But after American combat troops were withdrawn from Iraq in 2011, the Pentagon declined a ticker-tape parade in New York for gulf war veterans, saying it would not be proper while Americans were still fighting in Afghanistan.

So what would be the purpose of organizing such a parade today, with Americans still fighting in Afghanistan and again in Iraq? The White House says Mr. Trump wants to support “America’s great service members who risk their lives every day.” Yet, especially since 9/11, most Americans have been acutely aware of, and overtly appreciative of, the service of military troops and emergency medical workers, who are regularly recognized at public events and in public speeches.

Courtesy: The New York Times