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Posted by on Jul 3, 2019 in Autocracy, Holidays, Military, Politics, Polls, Satire | 0 comments

Trump’s ‘It’s All About Me,’ Fourth of July Extravaganza

Kevin Siers

The man who never served, who was enamored with the Bastille Day parade of 2017, the man who previously attempted to have a grand military parade in our nation’s capital that would have included “high-tech weaponry, tanks and other heavy equipment,” at costs estimated to be tens of millions of dollars, is now at it again, this time hijacking our nation’s Independence Day celebration.

The following is satire:

Trump promised the nation that, as part of his personal Fourth of July self-aggrandizement, he would have the military place brand new Sherman tanks in “certain areas” of the nation’s capital.

In order that this statement would not become his 10,797th lie, Trump ordered the greatest mobilization of men, women and resources “the likes of which the world has never seen” to produce new Sherman tanks in time for his spectacle.

To that end, he ordered the immediate reopening and retooling of the Detroit Arsenal, the hiring of 10,000 Rosies (the Riveter) and he put his vice president in charge, since William Tecumseh Sherman was no longer available.

Trump – the best tank designer ever — did make two minor changes to the M4 Sherman specifications: The weight would be reduced by 30 tons and its tracks would be rubberized because, as Trump noted, “You’ve got to be pretty careful with the tanks because the roads have a tendency not to like to carry heavy tanks.”

No attempt at satire would be complete without an input from the master of satire, Andy Borowitz, who writes:

Calling it “incredibly exciting news,” President Donald Trump revealed on Wednesday that his long-planned Fourth of July parade in Washington will include a flyover by Russian Su-24 fighter planes.

Borowitz quotes Trump boasting to Tucker Carlson of Fox News, “I’m the first American President who’s had Russian fighters flying over Washington” and saying that he finalized the flyover with Putin at the G-20, where Putin told Trump, “This is the least we can do, after all you’ve done for us.”

According to Borowitz, Trump believes the Russian crews will be thrilled to fly over the nation’s capital, where “…they’ll be taking a lot of pictures.”

This is not satire:

While no estimates are available as to how much Trump’s show will cost the taxpayers, the National Park Service alone is diverting nearly $2.5 million in entrance and recreation fees primarily intended to improve parks across the country to cover costs associated with Trump’s pageant, according to the Washington Post. The Post adds that the $2.5 million represent just a fraction of the cost of a spectacle that will include, in addition to the “brand new tanks,” several aircraft flyovers.

Included in the flyovers will be all three U.S. stealth aircraft: The Air Force’s B-2 Spirit and F-22 Raptor and the Navy’s F-35C Joint Strike Fighter. Also, the Boeing VC-25, known as Air Force One, the Navy’s Blue Angels demonstration team and the (really) brand new VH-92, slated to become Marine One.

The cost to fly the F-35 alone is estimated at $44,000 per hour.

The cost to fly the B-2 bomber is “$122,311 an hour…which is making the trip from its home at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri and back.” But not to worry, officials say this will be considered a training event.

“That will be millions of dollars in and of itself,” estimates Rick Berger, a Defense budget expert at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

The White House is distributing VIP tickets for Trump’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial to Republican donors and political appointees, making the celebration like a campaign event. Groups that advocate for government transparency, non-partisanship and ethics are incensed about the RNC’s involvement.

Jordan Libowitz, of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, says, “This sounds less and less like a government event and more and more like a campaign rally.”

Concerned about the damage tanks could do to the city’s streets, the District of Columbia council tweeted, “We have said it before, and we’ll say it again: Tanks, but no tanks.”

In addition, Trump’s “Abram” (sic) tanks, weighing far more than 60 tons, are worrying National Park Service officials and engineers concerned that “parking” such tanks around the Lincoln Memorial could affect the Memorial’s underground rooms

When Trump wanted his military parade last year, conducted an informal poll to which more than 51,000 readers responded. According to the publication, a 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

This year, however, a slight majority of Americans approves of Trump’s plans.

However, “the poll also showed that only 20% had heard much about Trump’s plans. From that subset of 20% who were more informed, 56% disapproved and 37% approved, the poll found.”

While military leaders have been “requested” to stand next to Trump during his show, many former military leaders have expressed dismay, “calling it the latest example of Trump politicizing the armed services.”

“This looks like it’s becoming much more of a Republican Party event — a political event about the president — than a national celebration of the Fourth of July, and it’s unfortunate to have the military smack dab in the middle of that,” said retired Army Lt. Gen. David Barno, who commanded U.S. troops in Afghanistan under President George W. Bush.

Finally, as I have done every recent Fourth of July, my gratitude and respect go to all our men and women in uniform, whether standing next to Trump during his celebration or whether hunkering down in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan.

We do not need a frivolous display of military might –- especially one reminiscent of those in Russia, China and North Korea — to remind us of what our military have been doing and sacrificing for us, for our nation, for our Independence since that very first Fourth of July.

As David Ignatius so superbly writes in his “The quiet, steadfast narrative of America will endure. Trump’s loud, gaudy tank show won’t”:

The Fourth of July is about fireworks and patriotic music — and, this year, tanks and fighter jets. But we all know in our hearts that it’s really about the values that make us Americans, which have sustained us through good leaders and bad ones. Speeches, like firecrackers, can be loud, but the sound fades, and the quiet, steadfast narrative of America is what endures.

Wishing all our readers a happy and truly patriotic Independence Day.