The last time the U.S. military had a parade in Washington, armed servicemen and women had just come back from the Gulf War in 1991 and President George H. W. Bush wanted to celebrate the victory. But another one might be on the horizon.
President Trump has allegedly asked his staff to plan a military parade later this year, according to a report by the Washington Post. During an interview with Boston Public Radio Wednesday, national security expert Juliette Kayyem pointed out the flaws of this move.
"It's insecurity, it has totalitarian tendencies, it's boredom, it's deflection from the Mueller [investigation], it's all the above," she said.
Both Republican and Democratic legislators have come forward criticizing the idea, citing cost and uncertainty about the purpose of the parade.
"A military parade costs millions," said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), on Twitter. "Let's fix military housing, hire more VA doctors, fund telehealth, DOD schools, support the commissaries, daycare for families, or give more flight training time."
A military parade costs millions. Let’s fix military housing, hire more VA doctors, fund telehealth, DOD schools, support the commissaries, daycare for families, or give more flight training time. Our highest defense priority must be the service members, not the politicians.— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) February 7, 2018
Kayyem opposes the parade for additional reasons.
"Totalitarians generally are weak leaders, because obviously they don't have public support," she said. "They often use military parades like this, not as a display of strength to the outside world, but as a display of intimidation to the inside world — and that's what makes me nervous."
Kayyem said the President's suggestion that Democrats who refused to applaud during his State of the Union speech are un-American or treasonous illustrates his problem with those who disagree with him — an opposition to dissidence that puts his request for a parade in a different light.
"I do think that he views dissent of him as a reflection of treason," said Kayyem.
Juliette Kayyem is the CEO of ZEMCAR, host of the SCIF podcast, a professor at the Kennedy school, and a WGBH and CNN contributor. To listen to her interview in its entirety, click the audio player above.