The United States has long rejected the holding of military parades featuring tanks, missiles and other heavy weapons as a symbol of authoritarian regimes like the Soviet Union, North Korea and other countries. We commonly have parades with marching military and military bands in Washington. What we generally have not done is add heavy weaponry — the signature display of so many of the history authoritarian enemies of this country (though, as some have pointed out on this blog, there have been exceptions where tanks or missiles were present in inaugurations). Trump’s desire for military equipment at the presidential inauguration was reportedly rejected by the Pentagon as running counter to the long traditions of the country. Now Trump appears to be close to getting such a parade, modeled on the Bastille Day parade. A military official told The Washington Post is quoted as saying“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France.” (The current results show 77 percent against such parades with around 800 polled. The Army-Navy Times is reported opposition at 89 percent). Opposition is also coming from Republicans who are calling it “cheesy” and “wasteful.” The Navy Seal who killed Osama Bin Laden has called it “third world bulls**t.”
Ironically, as many on this blog know, I am a military history buff and love to review both vintage and modern weaponry. However, I like our tradition in not holding such military parades. Our military has long maintained its apolitical and professional distance in our system. We celebrate and honor our military but do not use heavy weapons as props. We also avoid the high costs associated with such parades. However, people of good faith can disagree and I wanted to ask the blog about the consensus (if any) on this issue below.