Today in Authoritarianism Watch

Donald Trump (still) wants a big military parade, like the one he saw in France and couldn't stop gushing about: "It was a two-hour parade. They had so many different zones. Maybe 100,000 different uniforms, different divisions, different bands. Then we had the retired, the older, the ones who were badly injured. The whole thing, it was an incredible thing."

Except, of course, he wants that but even more so.

Greg Jaffe and Philip Rucker at the Washington Post: Trump's 'Marching Orders' to the Pentagon: Plan a Grand Military Parade.
Trump's vision of soldiers marching and tanks rolling down the boulevards of Washington is moving closer to reality in the Pentagon and White House, where officials say they have begun to plan a grand military parade later this year showcasing the might of America's armed forces.

Trump has long mused publicly and privately about wanting such a parade, but a Jan. 18 meeting between Trump and top generals in the Pentagon's tank — a room reserved for top-secret discussions — marked a tipping point, according to two officials briefed on the planning.

Surrounded by the military's highest-ranking officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Trump's seemingly abstract desire for a parade was suddenly heard as a presidential directive, the officials said.

"The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France," said a military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the planning discussions are supposed to remain confidential. "This is being worked at the highest levels of the military."

Shows of military strength are not typical in the United States — and they don't come cheap. The cost of shipping Abrams tanks and high-tech hardware to Washington could run in the millions, and military officials said it was unclear how they would pay for it.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the Pentagon have confirmed that this is a real thing in the world.

Not only is it unclear how much this authoritarian display would cost or whence the funding would come, but also: "It is unclear what role Trump would play, whether he may perhaps serve as a grand marshal or observe the spectacle from a reviewing stand."

Maybe they can just commission a gold throne for which taxpayers can foot the bill, too, so the Almighty Glorious President can watch his military parade go by as it proceeds down Pennsylvania Avenue and passes by Trump International Hotel.

A White House official said that the parade "would be designed as a broad show of strength to send a warning to all of America's adversaries."

Which I can only assume is the gruesome punchline to this vile joke, because a draft dodger who doesn't understand the basics of foreign policy overseeing an ostentatious military carnival does not send the message that America is strong, but that we are weak and foolish and insecure — and being led by the very personification of our nation's most shameful qualities.

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