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Trump’s ‘marching orders’ to the Pentagon: Plan a grand military parade

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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 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 is 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.

Still, the official said Trump is determined to have a parade. “The president wants to do something that highlights the service and sacrifice of the military and have a unifying moment for the country,” the official said.

The inspiration for Trump’s push is last year’s Bastille Day celebration in Paris, which the president attended as a guest of French President Emmanuel Macron. Trump was awestruck by the tableau of uniformed French troops marching down Avenue des Champs-Elysees with military tanks, armored vehicles, gun trucks and carriers — complete with fighter jets flying over the Arc de Triomphe and painting the sky with streaks of blue, white and red smoke for the colors of the French flag.

Aboard Air Force One en route home from Paris last July, aides said Trump told them he was dazzled by the French display and said he wanted one at home.

“It was one of the greatest parades I’ve ever seen,” Trump told reporters. “It was two hours on the button, and it was military might, and I think a tremendous thing for France and for the spirit of France.”

Seated next to Macron, Trump added: “We’re going to have to try to top it.”

Several administration officials said the parade planning began in recent weeks and involves White House chief of staff John F. Kelly, but cautioned that it is in the preliminary stages. D.C. officials said they had not been notified of parade plans.

A date has not been selected, although officials said Trump would like to tie the parade to a patriotic holiday. Officials are weighing weather patterns as well as competing events, such as the massive annual Independence Day celebration on the Mall.

Trump officials had discussed Memorial Day on May 28, and July 4, but the Pentagon prefers Veterans Day on Nov. 11 — in part because it would coincide with 100th anniversary of the victorious end of World War I and therefore be less associated with the president and politics. “That’s what everyone is hoping,” said the military official.

It is unclear what role Trump would play, whether he may perhaps serve as a grand marshal or observe the spectacle from a reviewing stand.

The location is still being discussed, though Trump has said that he would like it to proceed along Pennsylvania Avenue, which links the Capitol and the White House. It would be the same route as Trump’s inaugural parade and pass by his family’s showpiece: Trump International Hotel.

Even before he was sworn in as president, Trump was dreaming of America’s war machine on display for the country and the world in front of the White House or Capitol.

“We’re going to show the people as we build up our military,” Trump said in an interview with The Washington Post before his inauguration. “. . . That military may come marching down Pennsylvania Avenue. That military may be flying over New York City and Washington, D.C., for parades. I mean, we’re going to be showing our military.”

With a few exceptions — such as President George H.W. Bush’s 1991 parade down Constitution Avenue celebrating victory in the Persian Gulf War — presidents have avoided displays of military hardware that are more associated in the American mind with the Soviet Union’s Red Square celebrations or, more recently, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s efforts to show off his Taepodong missiles.

“I don’t think there’s a lack of love and respect for our armed forces in the United States,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University. “What are they going to do, stand there while Donald Trump waves at them? It smacks of something you see in a totalitarian country — unless there’s a genuine, earnest reason to be doing it.”

The White House official rejected the suggestion that some associate a military parade with strongmen, saying it would be a “celebration of the men and women who give us freedom.”

“That’s the opposite of a totalitarian government,” the official said.

Weaponry on the streets of Washington is not unheard of. President Truman and President Kennedy had military equipment during their inaugural parades, in 1949 and 1961 respectively, during key junctures in the Cold War, said Michael Beschloss, another presidential historian.

“Set against the backdrop of American history, it does seem to hark back to the harsh days of the Cold War,” Beschloss said. “Those parades were a counterpoint to the parades in front of Lenin’s tomb at Red Square . . . One reason the Soviets had those parades was to distract the world from the fact that the Soviet military was actually much weaker than the Soviets were claiming.”

But generally, the United States has shied away from parading its military assets, calculating that doing so was not necessary for the world’s preeminent superpower.

There is no law or regulation preventing Trump from putting on a military parade, but there are plenty of potential complications that military leaders are likely to raise with the president. One worry is practical: that 70-ton tanks built for the battlefield would chew up Pennsylvania Avenue blacktop.

The military might also want to weigh in on the kind of equipment on parade. One concern is that big displays of missile launchers might evoke Pyongyang-style nationalism more than American patriotism.

After Kim warned last month that he had a “nuclear button” on his desk, Trump replied: “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

The White House official said a parade would have nothing to do with Trump’s feuds with Kim, but would be designed as a broad show of strength to send a warning to all of America’s adversaries.

Then there are the domestic pitfalls. At a time when Mattis and his top generals have been complaining about the state of military readiness and lobbying Congress for more money, pulling equipment off line for a costly parade could send the wrong signal.

There are personal risks for Trump as well. Although he attended a military high school, Trump did not serve in the armed forces, avoiding the draft during the Vietnam War by claiming bone spurs. Critics have previously criticized Trump as disingenuous for basking in the military’s glory.

Honoring the troops without politicizing their service has long been a dilemma for presidents. President Barack Obama’s frequent focus on wounded troops fighting to resume their lives struck the wrong chord with some conservatives.

One of George W. Bush’s biggest blunders as president came in 2003 when he landed on an aircraft carrier bearing a “Mission Accomplished” banner to claim victory in the Iraq War.

Former aides say Bush would have loved a big parade, but they recognized a problem: The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan never ended. Such subtleties — the U.S. is now dropping bombs in seven countries — don’t seem to have factored into Trump’s calculations.

With the midterm elections approaching and Trump’s approval ratings at historic lows, the lure of honoring the troops is powerful.

“Who flipped the coin for the Super Bowl on Sunday?” asked Peter Feaver, a former Bush White House official and professor at Duke University. “It was Medal of Honor winners. Why? The military brings us together.”

But Feaver also issued a warning for Trump, who is known for his excesses.

“A military parade,” he said, “is the kind of thing that can easily be overdone.”

Source

by on Feb. 6, 2018 at 7:31 PM
Replies (251-257):
Pema_Jampa
by Ruby Member on Feb. 10, 2018 at 12:13 PM
Merci !!

Quoting goldpandora:

In a nutshell, the parade is on the 14th July, date of the Storming of the Bastille (1789), and the beginning of the French Revolution. The 14th July 1790 was also the day when the Paris Commune founded a national "Fédération" embracing regional "fédérations" and the first parade was held with soldiers from the "Fédération". It was not a show of force, it was a parade to demonstrate union, a celebration of the Revolution. 10 years later, in 1870, was the first veritable military parade, intended to show that France's army had fully recovered after their defeat at the hands of the Prussians. The military presence in the public holiday became definitive in 1919 after the end of WWI

These days it's pretty well anchored in tradition and it isn't about flexing military muscles. More and more it tends towards being a celebration of peace (about protecting peace, not making war), inviting military representatives from other countries, and it's often heavily symbolic (e.g. German soldiers invited on the 10thanniversary of the Franco-German reconciliation at Verdun, British Battalions invited to celebrate the 100thanniversary of the Entente Cordiale).


There, will that do ? 😊

Quoting Pema_Jampa: What like help veterans when they come home? Healthcare?

Lol yeah right. Come on you know these aren't priorities for these people.


Quoting Sparkles4Lui: I damn sure would have been irate. This is a serious waste of money. Money that should actually be used to really support our troops in meaningful ways.

Quoting Sweet_Faith: Once again this is in honor of our military and the USA IS a free republic. If BO had done this you'd all be praising him. The only reason you all have a problem with this is because it's Trump.

Quoting LittleLizette:

Can you name a democratic country that parades its weapons down the street in peace time?  Just one?  

And it wasn’t an analogy.  It’s what people think of when they hear the words Military parade with weapons. 

Quoting Sweet_Faith: That analogy is ridiculous, this is America, we are a free world and a gtlteat country! Lets be real here, This is nothing like that and you know it and so does duckie and everyone else . It's for our military and they are worthy of this and so much more. God bless our troops and God bless America!

Quoting LittleLizette:

Thatâ��s what people think of when they hear the words Military Parade.  North Koreans marching, Russians marching, wars, conflict,, fascism, dictators, goose stepping.  Itâ��s an ugly site to see.  

Quoting Sweet_Faith: You are clueless, smh.

Quoting GrayDuck41:

goldpandora
by Bronze Member on Feb. 10, 2018 at 12:14 PM

De rien !

Quoting Pema_Jampa: Merci !!
Quoting goldpandora:

In a nutshell, the parade is on the 14th July, date of the Storming of the Bastille (1789), and the beginning of the French Revolution. The 14th July 1790 was also the day when the Paris Commune founded a national "Fédération" embracing regional "fédérations" and the first parade was held with soldiers from the "Fédération". It was not a show of force, it was a parade to demonstrate union, a celebration of the Revolution. 10 years later, in 1870, was the first veritable military parade, intended to show that France's army had fully recovered after their defeat at the hands of the Prussians. The military presence in the public holiday became definitive in 1919 after the end of WWI

These days it's pretty well anchored in tradition and it isn't about flexing military muscles. More and more it tends towards being a celebration of peace (about protecting peace, not making war), inviting military representatives from other countries, and it's often heavily symbolic (e.g. German soldiers invited on the 10thanniversary of the Franco-German reconciliation at Verdun, British Battalions invited to celebrate the 100thanniversary of the Entente Cordiale).


There, will that do ? 😊

Quoting Pema_Jampa: What like help veterans when they come home? Healthcare? Lol yeah right. Come on you know these aren't priorities for these people.
Quoting Sparkles4Lui: I damn sure would have been irate. This is a serious waste of money. Money that should actually be used to really support our troops in meaningful ways.
Quoting Sweet_Faith: Once again this is in honor of our military and the USA IS a free republic. If BO had done this you'd all be praising him. The only reason you all have a problem with this is because it's Trump.
Quoting LittleLizette:

Can you name a democratic country that parades its weapons down the street in peace time?  Just one?  

And it wasn’t an analogy.  It’s what people think of when they hear the words Military parade with weapons. 

Quoting Sweet_Faith: That analogy is ridiculous, this is America, we are a free world and a gtlteat country! Lets be real here, This is nothing like that and you know it and so does duckie and everyone else . It's for our military and they are worthy of this and so much more. God bless our troops and God bless America!
Quoting LittleLizette:

Thatâ��s what people think of when they hear the words Military Parade.  North Koreans marching, Russians marching, wars, conflict,, fascism, dictators, goose stepping.  Itâ��s an ugly site to see.  

Quoting Sweet_Faith: You are clueless, smh.
Quoting GrayDuck41:





LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Feb. 10, 2018 at 12:15 PM
Oh my God that is so relevant and totally changes everything!

Quoting zeesmuse:

LittleLizette
by Silver Member on Feb. 10, 2018 at 3:25 PM

The one that France has had in July every year since the French Revolution?  We have our 4th of July parades.  Trump wanting a random parade with tanks isn’t the same

Quoting goldpandora:

France does...

Quoting LittleLizette:

Can you name a democratic country that parades its weapons down the street in peace time?  Just one?  

And it wasn’t an analogy.  It’s what people think of when they hear the words Military parade with weapons. 

Quoting Sweet_Faith: That analogy is ridiculous, this is America, we are a free world and a gtlteat country! Lets be real here, This is nothing like that and you know it and so does duckie and everyone else . It's for our military and they are worthy of this and so much more. God bless our troops and God bless America!
Quoting LittleLizette:

Thatâ��s what people think of when they hear the words Military Parade.  North Koreans marching, Russians marching, wars, conflict,, fascism, dictators, goose stepping.  Itâ��s an ugly site to see.  

Quoting Sweet_Faith: You are clueless, smh.
Quoting GrayDuck41:





goldpandora
by Bronze Member on Feb. 11, 2018 at 4:15 AM

I'm not comparing anything, just saying that France has an annual military parade with tanks, missile launchers, armoured vehicles, fighter jets, etc. and is a democratic country.

Quoting LittleLizette:

The one that France has had in July every year since the French Revolution?  We have our 4th of July parades.  Trump wanting a random parade with tanks isn’t the same

Quoting goldpandora:

France does...

Quoting LittleLizette:

Can you name a democratic country that parades its weapons down the street in peace time?  Just one?  

And it wasn’t an analogy.  It’s what people think of when they hear the words Military parade with weapons. 

Quoting Sweet_Faith: That analogy is ridiculous, this is America, we are a free world and a gtlteat country! Lets be real here, This is nothing like that and you know it and so does duckie and everyone else . It's for our military and they are worthy of this and so much more. God bless our troops and God bless America!
Quoting LittleLizette:

Thatâ��s what people think of when they hear the words Military Parade.  North Koreans marching, Russians marching, wars, conflict,, fascism, dictators, goose stepping.  Itâ��s an ugly site to see.  

Quoting Sweet_Faith: You are clueless, smh.
Quoting GrayDuck41:






KaleaLani
by Gold Member on Feb. 11, 2018 at 7:18 PM
This was interesting:

https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/your-military/2018/02/08/89-of-readers-say-no-parade/

As the Pentagon continues to work on parade options to present to President Donald Trump, an overwhelming number of Military Times readers have weighed in: Don’t have one.

The informal poll was launched Wednesday after news reports that Trump had requested a military parade and that the Pentagon was working on parade options for him.



As of Thursday afternoon, more than 51,000 readers had responded. The majority, 89 percent, responded “No, It’s a waste of money and troops are too busy.”

The other 11 percent responded “Yes, it’s a great opportunity to show off U.S. military might.”

On Thursday, Pentagon press secretary Dana White said any parade plans were in the very beginning stages, and that the Pentagon had tapped the Army to lead the effort.


“We are looking at several different options right now,” White said. “The Army is the executive agent. But we don’t have those options yet. Its still in nascent stages and when we have those options we’ll provide that to the White House and the president will decide.”


About
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Author

About Tara Copp
Tara Copp is the Pentagon Bureau Chief for Military Times and author of the award-winning military nonfiction "The Warbird: Three Heroes. Two Wars. One Story."
Billiejeens
by Ruby Member on Feb. 12, 2018 at 10:28 AM


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