National Security & Defense

The Corner

On Military Parades, It’s Maddow Versus Maddow

Before I dive into the latest example of our strange political discourse, let me put my cards on the table. I’m moderately pro-parade. In other words, all things considered, I’d like to see the first American military parade in almost 30 years. 

The reason is simple. There are multiple grounds for a celebration. Not only does 2018 mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, it also marks the year that our military crushed the ISIS caliphate. (Yes, ISIS still exists, but its caliphate is gone.) This victory comes on the heels of more than 16 years of continual warfare where our men and women in uniform have acquitted themselves with courage and honor. And make no mistake, their list of victories is long. In addition to destroying the caliphate, our armed forces have toppled the Taliban, deposed Saddam, defeated the follow-on al Qaeda insurgency, and — critically — kept us safe from another 9/11-style attack

At the same time, I won’t be displeased if it doesn’t happen. After all, our nation deeply appreciates its military, and it makes that appreciation known continually. This is not the Vietnam era. We don’t suffer from a lack of regard for men and women in uniform.

That said, military parades should still remain rare, and I suspect that Trump’s motives are mixed, at best. If the parade takes place, however, the Americans who attend and watch will do so with the right spirit — to celebrate the men and women who march past. But this is 2018, and some folks are immediately prone to the most extreme of reactions. Take the tweet below, attempting to organize a protest to stop the tanks:

Those were good questions then, when she made the argument as America withdrew from Iraq following the Surge. They are better questions now, when there is a victory (and an important anniversary) to celebrate today. Oh, and whatever you think of Trump, it’s quite a stretch to argue that he’s trying to give Americans “the willies.”

I’ll worry about military parades if they start occurring more frequently. For now, I not only fail to see that the parade presents a serious problem, done properly, I think it could actually do some good. Now, if Trump wants another parade next year, or if somehow the theme is polluted by Trumpism, then I’ll change my mind. But for now, I’m not willing to rain on Trump’s parade. 

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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