By Matt Agorist
After reporting that President Donald Trump’s military parade would cost taxpayers a whopping $12 million earlier this year, a new estimate released this week dwarfs that number. On Thursday, it was announced that the president’s celebration of the military industrial complex will cost taxpayers an additional $80 million, bringing the total cost to $92 MILLION.
The Department of Defense will provide $50 million and other agencies like the Department of Homeland Security will cover the remaining $42 million, a U.S. defense official with knowledge of the assessment told CNBC. The total price tag is $80 million more than the original $12 million the Pentagon estimated it would cost last month.
To “honor” the military, the president is forcing them to march down the streets of Washington D.C. on November 10. The parade is reportedly going to feature about eight tanks, helicopters, fighter jets, other armored vehicles and troops.
Although it is still set for November 10, a Pentagon spokesman said on Thursday that it could be delayed until 2019.
“The Department of Defense and White House have been planning a parade to honor America’s military veterans and commemorate the centennial of World War I,” Colonel Rob Manning said. “We originally targeted November 10, 2018, for this event but have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019.”
Hopefully, it is delayed indefinitely.
While many of Trump’s supporters love the idea of the parade, to those of us who’ve been in the military, the idea of being forced to march down the streets so that civilians can ooh and ahh at the military’s weapons is most assuredly not appealing and serves little more than an insult to the troops who will be forced to practice for weeks all so the warmongers can beat their chests.
Sadly, this will be promoted as a way to honor the troops while completely ignoring the only way to truly honor them—by ending all the wars. If you really want to support the troops, stop using them as pawns in the spread of empire and the expansion of the military-industrial complex. If you really want to support the troops and veterans, how about we address the fact that tens of thousands of them sleep on the streets every single night in the country they offered up their lives for.
To show how much of an insult this parade is to troops and veterans, according to a recent report, the cost of this parade could directly benefit the 40,000 homeless veterans—by feeding them. Instead, it will go to fuel, logistics, drills, and flyovers.
As Newsweek reports, Feeding America, a non-profit organization and the nation’s largest hunger-relief and food rescue group, found the average cost-per-meal in the U.S. was $2.94 in 2015, the latest data available. The organization culled data from several organizations and agencies, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and found the cost-per-meal ranged from a low of $2.04 in Maverick County, Texas to a high of $5.61 in Crook County, Oregon.
What this means is that the cost of the parade could eliminate hunger among homeless veterans by providing all of them with three meals a day, for at least 8 and a half months at the average estimate.
While we didn’t ask all 40,000 homeless veterans if they prefer a parade or eating for nearly a year, we are betting the prefer the latter.
If we look at housing costs, the cost of this parade could also be put toward shelters or even apartments and could supply every homeless veteran with nearly $400 a month for rent, effectively getting them off the streets for six months or more.
Instead of chest pumping and back patting, if Trump wants to support the troops and veterans, he should start by addressing the problems plaguing them right now, like suicide. Sadly, none of this has happened.
When 307,000 veterans die waiting for care they were promised by this country while the president gloats over military equipment, something is seriously wrong.
When the entire country looks the other way while there over 40,000 veterans living on the streets with no home as the president forces active duty military members to put on a show for him that could feed and house these veterans, something is seriously wrong.
When Americans remain silent as a veteran kills himself or herself every 65 minutes, every single day, every single month, of every single year as troops and Humvees and tanks parade down Pennsylvania Avenue celebrating the war that caused these deaths, it’s time to seriously consider a national conversation about what “support the troops” really means. And no parade will ever do that.
Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project, where this article first appeared. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Facebook.