I am basically a pacifist. Well, a conditional pacifist. I think the best way to keep the peace in this day and age is to have a strong military. To act as a deterrent to dictators like Putin and Kim . But not to use the military for political stunts. Like border patrol.
So, I do not glorify the military. I see it as a necessary arm of government, much like the EPA or Social Security. Also, keep this in mind. Although some claim that the US military is underfunded, the fact is that the US spends quite a bit on national defense.
For example, in 2017 the US spent $610,000,000,000 (That’s billion). The next 6 countries, in order, spent: China ($228 billion), Saudi Arabia ($70 billion), Russia ($66 billion) , India ($64 billion), France ($58 billion). In other words, the US spends MORE than the next 7 or 8 nations combined. Just some perspective.
Once a year (actually more often than that) we take time out to honor the dead veterans from past wars and honor the current veterans. Speeches are made. Wreaths are laid. Songs are sung. Flags are waved.
On Veteran’s Day in particular. The most important day for remembering. A day that even the most avowed pacifists recognize as a day to say “Thank you” to veterans. Thank you , Dan, my reluctant veteran friend. Thank you, Bob and Rich, the two gay married veterans who live down the street. Thank you Sean and would be veteran Connor, both stationed overseas. Thank you to my deceased father in law, Bill. And on and on and on.
But President Trump did not honor the veterans this weekend. While all the leaders of Europe marched in Paris, France to honor the millions who died in the “War to End All Wars”, Mr Trump and Mr Putin decided not to show up. While other members of the administration drove to the American cemetery outside of Paris, Mr Trump decided not attend, the excuse being it was raining.
Every president places a wreath at Arlington on Veteran’s Day to honor the Americans who have died in wars. It is a 10 minute drive from the White House. For two years in succession Mr Trump has failed to do so.
Mr Trump, who had a doctor’s excuse to get him out of the Vietnam War, has not been present to honor veterans. They are not high on his list of priorities. The man who used a bogus doctor’s excuse of “heel spurs” to avoid service. The man who castigated John McCain for being captured and held captive and tortured. The man who said he knows more about military strategy than the generals.
Not showing up.
Perhaps that is the best way for him to honor the veterans. Not showing up.