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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Parades . . .

". . . parades. . . are a lot of work to rehearse, don’t do anything for morale, and are expensive in terms both of time and preparation. . . . (an) expensive parade reminds me less of our French allies and more of the old Soviet Union “Who has the biggest missile?” extravaganzas, or the truly creepy North Korean jitterbug marching style galas, with the even creepier “young leader,” Kim Jung Un, urging his nation of sycophants on in wildly over-the-top applause, which has a clap-hard-or-die feel to it. . . The last time we did a big parade like this was several decades ago and it cost over $10 million. Some estimates have the cost of a big one today topping $20 million, which would include moving all the tanks, missiles, jets, helicopters and military bands to Washington. . . Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has correctly stopped handing out little “challenge coins” from his office — symbolic tokens that officers in our armed forces give to troops. As he told me, they don’t contribute to readiness or combat capability. . . I’d recommend we apply the same logic to this kind of parade. . .
For the men and women who have to put in the time planning, rehearsing, creating a security plan (a parade would be an extraordinarily juicy target for the Islamic State or Al Qaeda, by the way), setting up the stands, cleaning up, taking down the stands, and getting all their gear back home would, frankly, not be having a lot of fun. This would no doubt fall on a holiday weekend (Memorial Day, Fourth of July or Veteran’s Day, of course) so there goes their hoped-for and much deserved weekend break. . . We know that we have the best-funded, most war-experienced, highest morale military in the world. . . it is a fact. We don’t need a puffy parade to show the world we can fight. . . I’d prefer to see our Department of Defense. . . focus on planning for war, pushing the VA to improve, funding military families with good medical and childcare benefits, and honoring our fallen with ceremonies as they are laid to rest. Those are the best ways we can honor them. . ."

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