Will Trump Say "No Thanks" to a Parade with No Tanks?
March 13, 2018 Common Defense & Danielle McLean / ThinkProgress & Ryan Browne / CNN & Alana Abramson / TIME Magazine
Donald Trump is a step closer to getting his fervently wished for military parade, which is expected to cost taxpayers between $10 and $30 million. But it's likely to be missing some of the oversized hardware that thrilled him at a military procession in Paris. Less than a month after Trump unveiled a fiscal 2019 budget that included $3 trillion in social spending cuts, defense officials late released plans for a massive and costly parade of military might to take place on November 11, Armistice Day, a global day of peace.
ACTION ALERT: Veterans Reject Trump's Military Parade Perry O'Brien / Common Defense
March 13, 2018) -- Donald Trump is ordering the Pentagon to spend millions of dollars to stage a massive military parade in D.C -- soldiers, tanks, jets, all of it. It's clear to me that Trump doesn't actually honor the troops, he wants to force the troops to honor him.
As veterans -- we know we can't stay on the sidelines as Trump continues to turn our comrades into political props, and intimidates our communities with an authoritarian display. That's why, if Trump proceeds with his plan, we need to be ready to mobilize veterans and military family members in opposition.
For Trump it isn’t about the people who serve in uniform. Let’s look at Trump's record:
He lied about donating to veteran charities until we called him out.
He tried to purge transgender troops and immigrants from the military.
He turned the arrival of a fallen soldier’s remains in Dover -- and the ceremony awarding a wounded soldier his Purple Heart -- into gross and exploitative photo ops.
He even smeared a Gold Star family!
We’re not props for anyone's ego and authoritarian agenda. And we're going to fight tooth and nail until the whole country realizes that.
Perry O'Brien is a US Army veteran.
Common Defense is a diverse, grassroots organization of U.S. veterans and military family members who are fighting to preserve the core values we swore to uphold and defend. Together we vow to protect our communities from hate and violence, to serve on the front lines for social, economic, and global justice, and to champion a truly equitable and representative democracy.
Pentagon Okays Trump's Parade, but
Without the Big Guns He Was Hoping For Danielle McLean / ThinkProgress
(March 11, 2018) -- President Donald Trump is a step closer to getting his fervently wished for military parade, which is expected to cost taxpayers between $10 and $30 million. But it's likely to be missing some of the oversized hardware that thrilled him at a military procession in Paris last year.
Less than a month after the Trump administration unveiled a fiscal 2019 budget that included $3 trillion in cuts, US defense officials late Friday released plans for the parade which has been scheduled for November 11, Veteran's Day.
The procession -- meant to be a fearsome display of American military might -- will roll down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capital to the White House, according to a memo obtained by CNN that was sent by the Pentagon to the the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, giving initial guidance for the parade.
There will be no tanks at America's military parade, however -- likely a disappointment to Trump who was enamored by the heavy armor that rumbled through the streets of Paris last July when he watched France's Bastille Day celebration. Officials said they are worried about the possible damage that non-wheeled vehicles could infict upon Washington streets.
The president might be consoled by plans during the event for an aerial display by military planes, including older aircraft. There are also plans for soldiers to wear period uniforms dating back to the Revolutionary War. But it is still unknown whether this will appease the president who has apparently been eager to show off the military dominance of America, which is by far the largest defense spender in the world.
WASHINGTON (March 11, 2018) -- President Donald Trump will get his military parade, but it is unlikely to mirror the Paris Bastille Day event which inspired him as it will not involve any heavy military vehicles like tanks to avoid doing damage to the streets of Washington, according to a Pentagon planning memo shown to CNN.
The Pentagon memo sent to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was issued on Thursday and outlined the initial guidance on how Trump's sought after parade, scheduled for November 11 -- Veterans Day -- will look.
The memo says the parade will integrate with the annual DC Veterans Day parade and focus on the contributions of US veterans from the Revolutionary War to today "with an emphasis on the price of freedom."
The parade will "include wheeled vehicles only, no tanks," the memo said, adding that "consideration must be given to minimize damage to local infrastructure."
It will, however, involve "a heavy air component" with military aircraft flying overhead at the end of parade, including older aircraft "as available," the memo said. The parade will also feature period uniforms from the Old Guard Fife and Drum, a unit that parades in period uniform.
The Joint Staff will be responsible for planning the parade and Northern Command, which oversees US troops in North America, will be responsible for executing it, according to the memo, which was signed by US Navy Capt. Hallock Mohler Jr., the executive secretary for the office of the secretary of defense.
The parade route will run from the White House to the Capitol, with the memo saying that veterans and Medal of Honor recipients will surround Trump in the reviewing area of the Capitol during the event.
News that Trump had asked the Pentagon to begin planning the parade emerged last month.
"We'll see if we can do it at a reasonable cost, and if we can't, we won't do it. But the generals would love to do it, I can tell you, and so would I," Trump told Fox News late last month. "I think it's great for our country in terms of being a cheerleader and the spirit," he added. "We're not North Korea, we're not Russia, and we're not China and I don't want to be."
-- Sen. John Kennedy (R –Louisiana)
"Our military is not there to be "used and abused" to prop up his image."
-- Retired Major General Paul Eaton
"Veterans don't need a Trump themed parade. They need housing, employment and mental health care. If @realDonaldTrump wanted to parade around with the military he could have skipped any one of his five deferments he used to avoid military service."
-- Nathan Fletcher
(February 7, 2018) -- President Donald Trump's reported proposal for a military parade replete with tanks and marching soldiers is facing withering criticism from an unexpected quarter: retired generals.
A number of retired high-ranking military officials have spoken out about Trump's orders for the Pentagon to begin planning a big parade, likely in Washington, DC, since it was reported Tuesday evening by the Washington Post.
Among their objections: Military parades have traditionally been the hallmarks of totalitarian regimes, appearing in the parade would be an unwelcome distraction for rank-and-file servicemembers and it would make it seem like the military is promoting the president and not serving the Constitution.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling told TIME that a military parade goes against US democratic traditions.
"A lot of countries have histories of longtime military conquest and the power and strength of the military supporting the government, but since our inception that has not been who we are," he said. "We're the only nation in the world that defends a piece of paper. An ideology. And to say we're going to strut our stuff with tanks and rocket launchers and things like that, is just not a good representation of what the military does in a democratic nation."
Other military officials found troubling Trump's desire for a parade, reportedly sparked after viewing a Bastille Day celebration in France, especially since it came just days after he declared -- jokingly, his advisers argued -- that Democratic lawmakers who did not clap for him at the State of the Union were "treasonous."
"Donald Trump has continually shown himself to have authoritarian tendencies and this is just another worrisome example," said Retired Major General Paul Eaton, a Senior Adviser VoteVets, a progressive political organization devoted to electing veterans to office.
"For someone who just declared that it was 'treasonous' to not applaud him, and for someone who has, in the past, admired the tactics of everyone from Saddam Hussein to Vladimir Putin, it is clear that a military parade isn't about saluting the military -- it is about making a display of the military saluting him."
"I used to watch them in Bulgaria," retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and National Security Agency, said on Twitter of these type of parades, another reference to the association of these events with totalitarian regimes. "Put me down as a no," he added.
Other former military officials were concerned that the parade would be antithetical to the military's principles.
"I'll let military friends speak for themselves, hoping they don't just salute Trump, but when I served in the US Army, the LAST thing we wanted to do was parade," tweeted John McLaughlin, who served in the CIA under the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.
Hertling added that, in the end, the parade would not actually be for the troops.
"I think having a parade in the middle of the nation's capital is obviously not for the soldiers, it's more for the people that watch," Hertling continued. "And in this case it's one particular person and that's the President."