Said the historian Douglas Brinkley, "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."
Ah but there is. Trump's tender ego needs to be swaddled and his ravenous megalomania fed. What better way to assure him of his greatness — not America's — than a lavish military parade in which, alongside his secretary of war, he can review his personal troops. "That" — the genuine, earnest reason for a military parade we don't need, paid for with money we don't have (military officials said "it could run in the millions," and they're "unclear how they would pay for it") — is "the opposite of a totalitarian government," said a White House official who's a whiz at job security.
The background story of this farce would make a republican's skin crawl. "The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France," said, of Trump, a military officer anonymously, "because the planning discussions are supposed to remain confidential." Why? Who the hell knows. Added the officer: "This is being worked at the highest levels of the military." We don't much care to be lied to, but in this instance, we hope that is a lie.
If not, the highest levels of the military are spending time on selecting a date for the parade. Trump has said he "would like to tie the parade to a patriotic holiday"; WH aides "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 the 100th anniversary of the victorious end of World War I and therefore be less associated with the president and politics." Which rules out Nov. 11. Some WH or Pentagon toady is sure to suggest June 14, which is not only Flag Day, but Trump's Geburtstag.
Doug Brinkley may be puzzled as to the genuine reason for squandering millions on a pointless parade, but Powerline's John Hinderaker is quite clear on it. "Trump has a unique ability to make liberal heads explode," he writes in "Trump's Parade: Greatest Troll Ever?" It seems this unaffordable extravaganza is just a taunt to amuse the customarily solemn, "waste, fraud and abuse" crowd. "A military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue … will send liberals into a tizzy that the rest of us can enjoy," grins Hinderaker.
Just a taunt — a multimillion-dollar taunt of national cringeworthiness. Imagine pseudoconservative Hinderaker's outrage had Obama staged such a farce. He never served! Hinderaker & Co. would have howled. But about that, with Cadet Bone Spurs as commander in chief, we won't hear a word.
The answer, of course, is that we can have military parades. It's just that most preceding presidents were too tasteful to mount a Stalinlike spectacle showcasing a reputedly peaceful people's military might. But Trump is not only tasteless, he's wildly jealous. If Kim Jong-un can display toys like that, why can't the Donald? After all, they're his toys. And it's his government. And morons like Hinderaker will always be there to cheer.