Thursday, July 4, 2019

Trump's Tanks but no thanks

A trial run - Trump's military coup

Huff Post reports that the U.S. Military Tries To Reassure Spooked Public As Tanks Roll Into Washington D.C.. Military vehicles move into the capital city ahead of President Donald Trump’s Independence Day event.

The NY Times Wednesday Evening Briefing (email) reports:

Battle tanks and fighting vehicles are being moved onto the Washington Mall, in preparation for President Trump’s “Salute to America” for Thursday’s July 4 celebrations.

Aside from the problems of the vehicles’ weight (the District of Columbia was, after all, built on an actual swamp), there is some concern from retired and active-duty military officers, and even some Defense Department personnel, about the appearance of politicizing the armed forces.

As a retired four-star Marine general put it, “Put troops out there so we can thank them — leave tanks for Red Square.”

But that’s not what this is about, right?

It is unclear what the salute will cost taxpayers, but at minimum, it’s in the millions of dollars.

Consider also how ill prepared DC is for the transport of hugely heavy vehicles. The Guardian reports: Washington on ‘tank watch’ as military vehicles roll in for Fourth of July. Residents spot tanks ahead of Trump’s celebration but question if US capital’s roads and bridges can support such heavy vehicles.

My colleagues and I had to fight for years to secure funding to repair structural defects in Arlington Memorial Bridge, over which tens of thousands of my constituents commute every day,” Virginia representative Don Beyer wrote on Twitter. “It has a weight-limit of 10 tons; an Abrams tank weighs over 60 tons.”

Trump himself seems to accept this, though his knowledge of military equipment also seems lacking.

“You’ve got to be pretty careful with the tanks, because the roads have a tendency not to like to carry heavy tanks so we have to put them in certain areas,” Trump said of the planning. “But we have the brand new Sherman tanks and we have the brand new Abrams tanks.”

It was not clear what Trump was referring to as Sherman tanks have been out of use by the military for decades.

All that is the least of our collective national worries. The optics of Trump’s self-aggrandizing military parade are exactly those you would expect from a military coup by a third-rate tin-pot dictator. Those are not what we as a nation have come to expect and revere.

Let me ask you this. If Trump can get away with thumbing his nose at our constitution and judicial system then what stops him from taking the capitol by force?

I woke up this morning with the equivalent of a political Necker Cube. On Frame 1, I visioned a ring of tanks surrounding Capitol Hill with guns pointed inward. On Frame 2, I visioned a ring of tanks surrounding Capitol Hill with guns pointed outward. Take your pick.

And have a happy independence Donald J. Trump Day.

A trial run - Trump's military coup

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