A military parade is designed to show what everyone knows about the American Military viz. It’s huge.
Because everyone knows it, why have a parade to show it?
Politico reports: “members of Congress from both parties joined retired military leaders and veterans in heaping scorn Wednesday on President Donald Trump’s push to parade soldiers and weaponry down the streets of the nation’s capital — calling it a waste of money that would break with democratic traditions.”
Politico also quoted Paul Rieckhoff, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which the publication calls “the largest group of post-Sept. 11 veterans”, saying: “This is definitely not a popular idea [with his members]. It’s overwhelmingly unpopular. Folks from all political backgrounds don’t think it is a good use of resources.” Rieckhoff expressed concern with “anything that politicizes the military.”
Will that deter Trump, the self-proclaimed champion (but cynical user) of veterans? Not bloody likely. Politico adds, “[Defense Secretary James] Mattis told a White House news briefing that preparations for a celebration are underway.”
“Here’s the thing: a military parade that’s not even linked to the end of a war strikes me as deeply un-American. I say this despite my revisionist view of American history, for as the classical-liberal historian Arthur A. Ekirch Jr. wrote in The Civilian and the Military: A History of the American Antimilitarist Tradition (1956), “The tradition of antimilitarism has been an important factor in the shaping of some two hundred years of American history. This tradition, with its emphasis upon civilian against military authority, is accepted as an essential element of American freedom and democracy. Though involved in numerous wars, the United States has avoided becoming a militaristic nation [remember, this was written in 1956.], and the American people, though hardly pacifists, have been staunch opponents of militarism.” Ekirch is supported by the fact that the last three presidential winners called for a more “humble” (to use George W. Bush’s word) foreign policy, although they did not deliver.
The military is about force, the last resort to keep freedom. America is not about force, we’re about individual freedom and the use of reason as written in The Declaration of Independence. “Life”, “Liberty” and “The Pursuit of Happiness”.
America is not a conquering nation. The military is necessary to keep America America so President Trump is on good ground with his support of a robust American military but “Speak softly and carry a big stick” is how Theodore Roosevelt summarized his approach to foreign policy. It’s why and how President Trump approaches America’s place in the world.