“We demand that the United States hold no militarism-glorifying parade displaying weaponry of war. Should such a thing be staged, we will visibly support peace on that day.”
But thousands of those petition signers have added further comments, and many others in my email box and social media have put their own twists on it. So, here’s my own personal angle:
The predictable (and predicted) messages of “Why are yall more upset about a parade than about actual wars” are now showing up on social media. For this reason, I think we need to be very clear. I am against a war parade not because it is uncouth and certainly not because it fails to properly “support the troops” or to properly prepare for more wars, and not merely because it costs money or damages streets (are you kidding me?), but because it makes more wars more likely from the Pentagon and from other nations and groups that see the parade. It stirs up war fever. It encourages fear, obedience, violence, nationalism, xenophobia, racism, and Trumpism. It antagonizes foreign governments and people. It teaches the need to praise both personnel and weaponry regardless of what they have been used for or might be used for.
The rarity of such parades in the United States in recent years is not due to the high nobility of our previous U.S. presidents, but rather to the fact that none of the U.S. wars since the Gulf War has been able to even remotely pretend to a “victory.” The point is not that we need a victory after which we should want a parade, but rather that there is no such thing as a victory — the Gulf War wasn’t one either — and we need to recognize that basic truth before we’re all turned into fire and fury. The endless bombings and sanctions, and new wars, and troops in Saudi Arabia, and terrorism aimed at getting troops out of Saudi Arabia, and further militarization of the Middle East, and horrible illnesses among veterans, and all the other horrors that followed from the Gulf War render grotesque the notion that it was a “victory.”
I oppose celebrating the worst thing humanity does to itself, the greatest waste of life and resources, the greatest environmental damage, political damage, cultural damage. People who honestly believe that some wars are necessary are badly deluded but should share my opposition to celebrating war as glorious.
Here are some interesting comments from the petition linked above:
“I strongly feel this would be a instigation tactic to North Korea! America does not need to do this kind of show off. No military parade!” — Carol Lavoie
“As a person who lived through WWII, I am horrified that US is part of a re-militarisation of the world. Guns and armaments cannot be used if they do not exist. The level of conflict in the world today could not be on such a scale if countries such as US had not sold arms all over the world. Please no glorification of War and Armaments.” — Ruth Haig
“This is horrendously despicable and serves no purpose .. this is not his tyrannical regime .. i am humiliated to have to tell friends in other countries this is serious.” — Pamela Patrou
“Should this parade happen, I will declare far and wide that it is anti-American because it celebrates war and violence, and threatens war and violence.” — Steven Crain
“It would be an appropriate display of the current fascist oligarchy but I hope it can be avoided.” — Anonymous
“Didn’t Hitler do this right before starting WWII?” — Bernadette Belcastro
“For f— sake, stop this s— show. Why would there be a “parade” for this treasonous, lying, sexual predator, bat shit crazy, wannabe dictator?” — Tracy Mosier
Now, can we bottle this outrage? Can we direct it toward a major public display of rejection of militarism in favor of nonviolence and decency? Can we make sure that any images a Trumparade sends to the world are images of a public rejection of war? Can we use this moment, in fact, to build a broader opposition to war among all those who ought to oppose it for stripping them of wealth and security and rights and a livable planet? We have to try!