Service members, their families and supporters weighed in on Trump’s proposed military parade and overwhelmingly said “no” to the idea.
The Army Times launched an unofficial poll on Wednesday after the news broke that the Pentagon was working on plans for a military parade at Trump’s request.
According to the Army Times:
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.”
The poll is particularly important as Army Times also reported that the U.S. Army has been tasked to head up the efforts to put the parade together.
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.”
Former U.S. Navy SEAL Robert J. O’Neill weighed in on the parade on Thursday, blasting Trump’s request.
“A military parade is third world bullshit,” he tweeted, adding that: “We prepare. We deter. We fight. Stop this conversation.”
A military parade is third world bullshit. We prepare. We deter. We fight. Stop this conversation.
— Robert J. O'Neill (@mchooyah) February 8, 2018
The Atlantic reported: “A military parade in Washington, which might have seemed appropriate at the end of the Civil War, World War I, World War II, or indeed the first Gulf War—all conflicts with clear winners—doesn’t hold the same appeal today.”
“We simply don’t think a national-level parade is appropriate while we continue to have America’s sons and daughters in harm’s way,” Colonel David Lapan, spokesman for General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in 2012 when there were calls for a ticker-tape parade in New York to mark the end of the second Iraq war.
Continuing, The Atlantic reported that while other presidents such as Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, both veterans, “included weapons in their presidential inauguration parades… Trump’s domestic critics point out the president, like the president before him, never served in the military. They also point to the parade’s potential costs, Trump’s admiration of authoritarian leaders, as well as the parade’s Cold War-era overtones as reasons for their reservations toward the planned event.
“What are they going to do, stand there while Donald Trump waves at them?” Douglas Brinkley, the presidential historian, asked The Washington Post. “It smacks of something you see in a totalitarian country—unless there’s a genuine, earnest reason to be doing it.”