Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Bonfire of the Vanities

On July 4th Corporal Bonespurs wants a big military show of force on the National Mall, with more fireworks than ever seen before, to rival what he saw in France in 2017 on Bastille Day. He thought all the gold and red and precision marching in costume made French President Macron look six inches taller. Twitterman felt envy (not for the first time).

He was gonna get himself a Bastille Day Parade.

Or what's a military for? Every strongman in every banana republic knows how to parade his muscle-in-uniform, and we know how Trump admires a strong man. So he's decreed tanks ("Abram," Trump called them) and armored personnel carriers and Bradley Fighting Vehicles strategically stationed around him as he speaks at the Lincoln Memorial on Thursday. He also bragged on camera, “We have the brand-new Sherman tanks.” No one in the military seems to have an idea what the living hell he's talking about, because Sherman M4 tanks haven't been in use since the 1950s.

Fantasies are expensive, but damn the expense! Trump wants an Air Force One flyover (cost: $140,000 per hour). Also the Navy's Blue Angels (cost: $10,000 per jet per hour). And Marine Helicopter Squadron One (cost: unknown). And the piece de resistance (President Macron would approve!), the F-35 stealth fighter (cost: $30,000 per hour).

They'll have to shut down Reagan National Airport for more than two hours on Thursday. But all the really important people will have already jetted in to sit at Trump's feet in the VIP section. Trump wants hierarchy in the seating, with up-front, roped-off spots for his once and future big donors.

The onus is on the US Park Service to satisfy Twitterman's ego. The Park Service is already operating with a maintenance backlog of more than $11 billion. Our national parks and monuments are falling apart from neglect in some instances, but oval-office knob polishing comes first. An Abrams Tank will make serious divots on the Mall.

According to Juliet Eilperin et al., "The Defense Department has not released any estimates of how much the celebration could cost. But the use of numerous aircraft could drive it well into the millions of dollars when counting fuel and maintenance." The cost of the first military parade Trump had planned for Memorial Day last year was about $92 million, including $50 million in Defense Department costs, defense officials said at the time. "The parade was scuttled after the potential costs became public."

Gosh. This self-infatuation of Trump's might actually rival in cost this week what a couple of golfing vacations cost at Mar-a-Lago. We're paying for that shit.

No comments: