You’ve probably heard that The Creature has decided that U.S. military personnel are his personal trained monkeys and has demanded that the Pentagon give him a big military parade “like the one in France.” He’s referring to aÂ Bastille Day parade he saw last year.
France has had Bastille Day parades since 1880 to commemorate one of the world’s most significant populist uprisings. If France wants to do that, it’s fine with me. But what does Trump want to commemorate other than “I got a bigger military than you do”?
France’s Bastille Day parade, which has persisted through two world wars and a Nazi occupation, has also been usedÂ to emphasize a very different message, which could be summarized as:Â We are only strong together.Â What Trump may have missed while watching the Paris parade last July was that its organizersÂ have frequently invited foreign troopsÂ â€” from Morocco and IndiaÂ to the United States, BritainÂ and GermanyÂ â€” to march alongside French soldiers or to even lead the procession. Instead of the French flag, French soldiers sometimes wave the European Union flag, even though the political bloc does not have its own army.
On a continent where Trump has never had many supporters, defense analysts worried on Wednesday whether the presidentâ€™sÂ possible misunderstanding of military traditions was a sign of a broader problem. â€œAt what point does healthy appreciation for the military turn into unhealthy obsession?â€ asked German defense expert Marcel Dirsus. Brian Klaas, a fellow at the London School of Economics, referred to Trump’s planÂ as a â€œstrongman military paradeâ€ andÂ an addition toÂ â€œTrumpâ€™s wannabe despot checklist.â€ …
…Â â€œTrump plays with the subject so carelessly and recklessly as if it were some kind of video game,â€ Aaron David Miller, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars who has advisedÂ several secretaries of state, said on Twitter. â€œMy headâ€™s exploding.â€
The way Trump discusses nuclear weapons echoes a pattern observed among military officials in the past, researchers have noted. They were referring to a 1985 study byÂ Carol Cohn,Â who analyzed militaryÂ remarksÂ that compared nuclear war with â€œan act of boyish mischief.â€
Cohn saidÂ thatÂ those kinds of remarks were an expression ofÂ a â€œcompetition for manhoodâ€ and â€œa way of minimizing the seriousness of militarist endeavors, of denying their deadly consequences.â€ She concluded thatÂ they posed a â€œtremendous dangerâ€ in real life.
The next question is, how much would the damn thing cost? NBC News:
President George H. W. BushÂ held a military paradeÂ in Washington on June 8, 1991, to mark victory in the Persian Gulf War. The cost of that parade was $12 million, according to aÂ C-SPAN reportÂ at the time, which amounts to about $21 million once adjusted for inflation. At the timeÂ it was calledÂ the biggest victory celebration in Washington since the end of World War II, with a crowd of around 200,000.
I doubt that Gulf War parade measured up to what France does every year, so it wouldn’t be big enough for Trump. The NBC News story quotes politicians of both parties expressing queasiness at the potential cost as well as at the appropriateness of tanks and big weapons, possibly nuclear, being paraded down Pennsylvania Avenue.
The Pentagon is exploring the idea of holding Trump’s Parade on November 11 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. That would make it less political, they think. But that’s all wrong for the Armistice plus 100, I say. For the end of World War I there should be lots of children with doves and flowers, not military stuff.
I say the Pentagon should tell The Creature to blow it up his ass. If he wants a parade, he can hire these guys:
Or, if he’s so taken with France’s Bastille Day, maybe we can round up a few hundred thousand people and re-create it by storming the White House? If someone else wants to organize that, I’m in.