Who doesn’t like a military parade?

Posted: February 10, 2018 by ng36b in Afghanistan war, opinion/news, war

Everyone thinks Trump’s military parade is a dumb idea. Well, everyone in the media anyway, and sadly there is a vocal minority in the military that is attempting to lend their voices as well.

We’ve done military parades before. CNN of all places had a neat wrap up of pictures from previous military parades. While we haven’t done them for a while, that is probably due to under sizing and under-resourcing our military. The last big military parade was in 1991, when we had almost 530 ships. Only a few years later, in 1995, we were under 400, and now we are under 300. Similar downsizing happened for the other services.

Despite not having parades, we’ve kept some appearances up. The Navy Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds still travel to all parts of the country. We still do Fleet Weeks in various cities. The Marines still have the best commercials. For many coming into the military, it is these outreach efforts that are often the first, and sometimes only, military introduction they get before joining.

We’ve become a nation detached from its military. Almost none of our current Congressmen have served or have sons or daughters that serve. It’s become almost vogue for college professors, who have a significant impact on our young people, to openly display contempt for the military. The media finds fault with President Trump’s lack of military service, while ignoring the previous President and previously attacking President Bush’s service (remember the Killian document?).

Whenever I travel in uniform, I am shocked at how often people approach me to simply ask basic questions about the military. I shouldn’t be surprised though. We get misrepresented in the media all the time like we’re some kind of blood thirsty bounty hunters, when in reality most of us don’t want to go to war. Once you see the price of conflict, and know that your life is on the line, you tend to want to preserve peace.

The conversations I have with private citizens need to happen more often. A military parade, especially in the heart of Washington DC, where policy makers don’t feel the consequences of disastrous foreign policy decisions, is the perfect venue for this. Imagine the large number of military personnel that, after the parade, have to go into the local area for dinner. They are going to interact with people. The weird questions that I get all the time will happen on an order of magnitude we haven’t seen in a while.

I’m sure there would be problems. Someone might bring out the whole “baby killers” piece again. A military member might get drunk and punch someone at a bar. I’m sure the sensational things would get covered by CNN. But the quiet conversations would happen too. Maybe some policy makers would exercise more caution on foreign policy in the future after seeing the young men and women that bear the brunt of failed policy.

Considering that disastrous foreign policy has cost of billions in the past, a million dollar parade is a small price to pay.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

But the author would love to be in a military parade…just sayin’!

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