Witt: Funds for military parade better spent elsewhere

Published 9:28 am Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Apparently, plans are still underway for the military parade slated to be staged in Washington, D.C. Nov. 10.

President Donald Trump issued orders for this parade after viewing a similar event on Bastille Day in France — can’t be outdone by the French.

Estimates for the cost of this parade vary all from $3 million to $50 million, with the most quoted figure set at $12 million.

This $12 million has been labeled as just a “planning figure”.

Of course, since this will be a government operation, costs are probably going to escalate just like every other governmental and military program, so the $50 million mark may very likely wind up being closer to the final cost.

But even the $12 million figure is only slightly less than the costs projected for the joint U.S./South Korean military exercise which was canceled by the president, and which he labeled as “terribly expensive.”

The parade will be filled with military personnel (like they don’t have anything more important to do) who will be dressed in period costumes, taken from various periods of U.S. military conflicts. And the skies will be filled with flyovers, but an agreement has apparently been reached not to use tanks in the phalanx. It was suggested tanks would damage the streets. Naturally, that would run the costs up even more.

The last military parade to take place in Washington was in 1991 to commemorate the victory of the Iraq war (although “victory” may be a disputed term for the outcome of that conflict).

This parade will not celebrate a victory — aleast not a military one. It is possibly being staged to celebrate the president’s victory in November 2016.

But here’s the thing: While there seems to be little compunction about expending $12 million on a two- or three-hour procession along the streets of the nation’s capital, military families (probably some families of those who will be marching in the parade) are having to utilize food stamps to survive.

In 2014, $84 million in food stamps were used in military commissaries and there are no accurate records of how many were used in private sector groceries where families were living off base or no commissaries were available.

Almost anyone in government can expound on the deficiencies in Veterans Affairs facilities, some of which could be addressed with a $12 million input.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders stated, “President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe.”

Well, one way to be supportive is to not ask them to expend their time marching in parades.

Then again, it is easy to see why the president would be supportive of service members since some of them volunteered their lives to allow him to avoid service five times based on dubious “bone spurs.”

Those bone spurs apparently don’t impede his expeditions almost weekly to walk around his golf courses and the trips to Mar-a-Lago — as early as February 2017, according to Fortune magazine, only five weeks into his presidency — had cost $10 million, not even counting the costs to local government.

Imagine what those weekend golf outings have cost 19 months into this presidency.

Chuck Witt is a retired architect and a lifelong resident of Winchester. He can be reached at chuck740@bellsouth.net.