After Trump saw the parade during Bastille Day in France, he knew he had to have one, too. Just another way for him to feel like a big strong ruler, and appear more like a fascist. Unfortunately, it appears that Trump is going to get his wish.
The parade will take place on November 11 which also happens to be Veterans Day. The activities are estimated to cost $10 to $30 million USD, though this figure could have been larger, as the idea of using tanks has just been withdrawn. The event will now only include wheeled vehicles, as they will likely do much less damage to public roads. Even without this added cost, the amount in question is still incredibly high and leaves many wondering if there aren’t better uses for the money.
It seems a pretty easy argument to say that there are better avenues for dispensing this money. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development there were 40,056 homeless veterans in the United Sates in 2017. This was an increase of 1.5 percent over the previous year. The money from the parade could easily be used to help feed these veterans. Even one of the most conservative estimates purports that the funds could be used to feed these 40,000 homeless veterans for over two weeks, according to Newsweek.
There are numerous other ways that the money allocated to pay for this dog and pony show could be redirected that would be exponentially more beneficial to the US. To be fair though, this is a relatively minor expense when you compare it with the obscene amounts of money we spend on maintaining the current military apparatus.
The estimated military budget for 2018 is $886 billion. This is a long line in an ever ballooning pile of money for “defense,” though more often offense, is often incredibly wasteful. Though that doesn’t mean that all of the establishment won’t line up to vote for it.
Take, for example, the passage of a massive $700 billion defense policy bill last September. The bill was over a half a billion dollars more than Trump asked. However, it passed 89-9, yes you read that right. Almost every single Democrat, the ones you hear complaining about Trump all the time, voted to give him more money than he asked for. Many of these same Democrats voted in favor of reauthorizing government spying at the beginning of this year. So, many that call Trump a traitor were willing to give him the ability to access all of their data, that is some sound logic right there.
Back to the issue at hand, the defense budget and its misuse. This nearly $900 billion dollars, what is it used for exactly? Well one thing it’s used for is America’s illegal wars. The US is currently engaged in almost double-digit illicit wars. These include in Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Niger. Though to be fair to Trump, though I don’t know why I would be, most of these were also going on under Obama.
The point of all of this is that we are wasting money killing, mostly innocent, people overseas. I won’t get into the money we waste on military bases and military bureaucracy, but if you are interested, the information is easy to find.
My point in all of this is that we could get these homeless veterans off the street with the money we waste daily. We could not only feed them, but house them, as there are currently more unoccupied homes in the US than homeless people. We could fund universal healthcare, though that one actually wouldn’t cost us anything as it actually save the country money over the waste in our current system. We could rebuild our infrastructure which gets a grade of D+. I could go on for hours about how we could help those returning from our illegal wars with PTSD with the money that we spend on killing brown children, but suffice it to say that there are a million things that we could do with the money that we waste on the military.
While Trump’s military parade is just a small nick among gaping wounds, it is symbolic of the larger issue. It’s obvious and it should lead people toward calling for reform. This is not an argument against the military, there is no doubt we need a military and I have a lot of love and respect for veterans. In fact, this is why I say this, I want to prevent troops from dying in senseless wars and those that come home from being cast aside like a spent shell casing. We need to also work to fix our broken system, as to serve them and the country as a whole better.
Photo Credit: Holly Mindrup