By Jackson Richman
On Tuesday, it was reported that at a Department of Defense meeting last month, President Donald Trump wanted a military parade in the nation’s capital, having been inspired by one when he was in France last year.
President Trump’s vision of soldiers marching and tanks rolling down the boulevards of Washington is moving closer to reality in the Pentagon and White House, where officials say they have begun to plan a grand military parade later this year showcasing the might of America’s armed forces.
Trump has long mused publicly and privately about wanting such a parade, but a Jan. 18 meeting between Trump and top generals in the Pentagon’s tank — a room reserved for top-secret discussions — marked a tipping point, according to two officials briefed on the planning.
Surrounded by the military’s highest-ranking officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Trump’s seemingly abstract desire for a parade was suddenly heard as a presidential directive, the officials said.
“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” said a military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the planning discussions are supposed to remain confidential. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”
Shows of military strength are not typical in the United States — and they don’t come cheap. The cost of shipping Abrams tanks and high-tech hardware to Washington could run in the millions, and military officials said it was unclear how they would pay for it.
A White House official familiar with the planning described the discussions as “brainstorming” and said nothing was settled. “Right now, there’s really no meat on the bones,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions.
Good. These plans should only be brainstormed and not become reality.
There are a couple good arguments in favor of the parade, the best one coming from National Review writer David French.
In the more than 16 years since 9/11 our military has-
-Toppled the Taliban
-Defeated the follow-on AQI insurgency
-Defeated the ISIS caliphate in Iraq and Syria
-Endured years of grinding deployments while fighting with honor
I’m fine with a parade.
— David French (@DavidAFrench) February 7, 2018
While these victories should be celebrated, after the past few years of military spending at its lowest levels pre-World War I, and with imminent and existential threats facing the United States and the rest of the West, like Iran, North Korea, China, and Russia, the best use of taxpayer funding to demonstrate the military’s prowess is doing so abroad instead of down Pennsylvania Avenue.
There is no time to waste. It is time for America to re-establish itself on the world stage as having the strongest military and confront its threats, which cannot be done by “leading from behind,” a term coined by President Barack Obama.