Monday, 18 June 2018

Trump wants a Military Parade


But what has he done to deserve one?
Does he deserve one?

The general consensus appears to be something between 'No' and 'Hell no!'

He was reportedly fascinated and excited by the French celebrations that he witnessed in Paris on July 14 2017 to mark Bastille day and decided that he wanted one for himself.

The spin of course, is that it's for the troops. U.S. Secretary of Defense, James Mattis explained:

"We are all aware in this country of the president's affection and respect for the military'.

Others were not so enthusiastic, with Senator Barbara Lee asking how much this parade was likely to cost and being told by OMB Director, Mick Mulvaney that it was likely to be in the region of $10 million to $30 million.

Would this be a good time to remind people that there are 40,000 homeless Veterans in America, 22 Veterans commit suicide every day and there are Gold Star families that need support?

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-yourself/veterans/

But Trump wants his parade.

Even Brian Kilmeade, of Fox News was heard to remark; 'It sounds like a waste of money to me'.

CNN military and diplomatic analyst and retired Rear Admiral John Kirkby put it like this:

I worry that it's more about honouring Donald Trump than it is honouring the troops in that it's really
about feeding his ego and his love of pomp and circumstance and being honoured. The other thing that bothers me is that it's anethical to American military culture.

We're not against parades, troops march in parades all over the country on July 4. It's not about the parade itself, it's about going down Pennsylvania Avenue with tanks and missiles and that kind of ostentatious military hardware display is just not something that we do. We are the world's most powerful military and we don't need to 'show the gear' to do that. The last thing that bothers me about it is the money.

Despite his claims that 'I am the most militaristic person ever' and 'I am stronger militarily than any of them or that in prep school he received more military training than most actual soldiers did, “I felt like I was in the military in a true sense,” Trump hasn't always seemed to show respect or gratitude to American Veterans.

For one thing he doesn't seem to understand the concept of PTSD, responding to a question on mental health and suicide among veterans with:

“... When you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in this room have seen many times over and you’re strong and you can handle it. But a lot of people can’t handle it. And they see horror stories. They see events that you couldn’t see in a movie, nobody would believe it.

Now we need a mental health help and medical. And it’s one of the things that I think is least addressed and is one of the things that — like your question — one of the things that I hear the most about when I go around and talk to the veterans. So we’re going to have a very, very robust, level of performance having to do with mental health. We are losing so many great people that can be taken care of if they have proper care”.

https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/ForVeterans.aspx



Trump of course, did not serve in the military.


He became eligible for the draft on his 18th birthday, June 14 1964 and was registered with the Selective Service System 10 days later.

He received 4 consecutive student deferments followed by a 5th deferment, this time a medical deferment for 'bone spurs' though he initially claimed not to remember which foot it was in.

'I had a doctor that gave me a letter' he explained to the New York Times. 'A very strong letter on the heels'.

Donald Trump has never seen active military duty (unless there is a movie of that name).

He did however receive the Purple Heart – though as is usually the case with Trump, it wasn't entirely legitimate...

At a rally in Ashburn, Virginia, Trump claimed that he had received a Purple Heart medal from a retired Lietutenant Colonel who supported him.

He told the crowd:

“I said to him, 'is that a real one or a copy? And he told me, 'that's my real Purple Heart. I have such confidence in you' and I said;

'Man, that's like big stuff, I always wanted to get the Purple Heart, this was much easier!'


This turned out to be untrue, NBC's Katy Tur tweeted later that she had spoken to the Veteran and he had told her that it was a copy of his Purple Heart and not the original.

Trump has claimed that avoiding STD's in the 80's was his 'own personal Vietnam', 

adding that;“Its amazing, I can't even believe it. I've been so lucky in terms of that whole world. It is a dangerous world out there, it's like Vietnam, sort of , It's my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier!” Further, referring to women's vaginas as 'potential landmines', he added that: 'There's some real danger there!'


Donald Trump's personal Vietnam.










John McCain's personal Vietnam.



October 26 1967. 

31 year old Lieut. Commander John Sidney McCain was flying his 23rd bombing mission over North Vietnam as part of a twenty-plane strike against the Yen Phu thermal power plant in central Hanoi.

As he approached his target, warning systems in his A-4E Skyhawk alerted him to the fact that he was being tracked by enemy fire-control radar.
He chose not to break off the bombing run, instead he held his dive until he had released the bombs at about 3,500 feet.

However, as he started to pull up from the dive, the wing of the Skyhawk was blown off by a Soviet-made SA-2 anti-aircraft missile fired by the North Vietnamese Air Defense Command's 61st Battalion.

Knocked briefly unconscious by the impact, his parachute landed him in a lake where he nearly drowned and was forced to inflate his life vest with his teeth, as he had badly broken both of his arms and his right leg.
A badly injured John McCain is captured by Vietnamese civilians in Truc Bach Lake near Hanoi, Vietnam
He was pulled from the lake by a crowd of Vietnamese, who beat and spat on him, stripped him of his clothes and crushed his left shoulder with their rifle butts. He was bayoneted in his left foot and abdomen and transported to Hanoi's main Hỏa Lò Prison, nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton" by American POWs.

He would never again be able to lift his arms above his head.

He was refused medical care for his injuries unless he gave his captors military information – which he refused to do, giving only his name, rank, serial number, and date of birth, the only information he was required to provide under the Geneva Conventions and under the U.S. Code of Conduct).

When pressed for information and for the names of his fellow service members, he instead gave them the names of the Green Bay Packers’ offensive line.

He was eventually given rudimentary medical attention when the North Vietnamese discovered that his father, John McCain Sr was a high ranking Admiral but after 6 weeks in hospital, he had lost 50lb in weight and was transported to a different camp on the outskirts of Hanoi.

In mid-1968, his father, John McCain II was named commander of all U.S forces in the Vietnamese theatre and in response, the North Vietnamese offered him the option of repatriation as a propaganda exercise. 

McCain refused, unless every man taken before him was also released, quoting Article III of the military Code of Conduct, which stated that; 'I will neither parole nor special favours from the enemy”. From August 1968 he was subjected to unremitting and horrifying torture. He was bound painfully with ropes, beaten every 2 hours and suffering from untreated dysentery.

George “Bud” Day and Orson Swindle, fellow POWs, told PolitiFact that POWs sometimes were forced to talk when they were tortured, but they tried to tell lies to mislead their captors. ”We were all tortured and we wrote confessions under the pressure of torture,” said Swindle, who was a cellmate with McCain and active in his campaign. “John McCain never collaborated with the enemy. He, like every one of us, submitted to severe torture. John McCain did nothing dishonorable. He was heroic.”

At one point, McCain broke down and signed a confession. But he deliberately used misspellings, grammatical errors and Communist jargon to show he was writing under duress:

“I am a black criminal and I have performed the deeds of an air pirate. I almost died, and the Vietnamese people saved my life. …”

On Christmas Eve 1968, a church service for the POWs was staged for propaganda purposes;

Refusing to co-operate, McCain ignored North Vietnamese instructions to be quiet, shouting "Fuck you, you son of a bitch!" and flipping the finger whenever a camera was pointed at him.

In all, McCain spent almost six years as a POW, two of them in solitary confinement. He was finally released on March 14 1973 after the signing of the Paris Peace Accords.


He retired from the Navy on April 1, 1981, having attained the rank of Captain.

He was designated as disabled and awarded a disability pension and moved to Arizona.

His military decorations and awards include the Silver Star Medal, two Legions of Merit,the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Bronze Star Medals, two Purple Heart Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, and Prisoner of War Medal.

Clearly none of this impressed Donald Trump, who famously said:

“He’s not a war hero, he was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”














Trump has a history of disregarding the sacrifices that Veterans have made.


He finished construction of his retail and luxury condominium in 1984. In 1991 he wrote a letter to John Dearie, the then chairman of the state Assembly Committee on Cities, advocating that they ban vendors on 5th Avenue - including the disabled Veterans.

'The image of New York city will suffer. I hope you can stop this very deplorable situation before it is too late”.



“While disabled veterans should be given every opportunity to earn a living, is it fair to do so to the detriment of the city as a whole or its tax paying citizens and businesses?” Trump wrote in a 1991 letter. “Do we allow Fifth Ave., one of the world’s finest and most luxurious shopping districts, to be turned into an outdoor flea market, clogging and seriously downgrading the area?”

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-yourself/veterans/

Khizr Khan’s wife ‘probably … wasn’t allowed to have anything to say’


Further controversy ensued at the Democratic National Convention when he seemed to feud with Gold Star family, Ghazala and Khizr Khan who had lost their son Humayan Khan in Iraq.

Mr. Khan, addressing Trump directly, pulled a small constitution from his jacket pocket and held it above his head.

“Have you even read the United States constitution?” he asked of Trump.

“Have you ever been to Arlington cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America – you will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”

In an interview with the New York Times opinion writer Maureen Dowd, Trump’s only comment was: “I’d like to hear his wife say something.”- which I doubt. He doesn't usually seem too interested in what women have to say and I don't think Melania (wherever she is) is especially talkative in public.

Trump does have a habit of projecting his own opinions – the truth as he would like it to be rather than the actual truth – onto other people and attributing his own claims to them.

“If you look at his wife, she was standing there,” Trump said. “She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.”

The family denied this, with Mr. Khan, a Harvard-educated lawyer replying that his wife had not spoken at the convention because it was “too painful” for her to talk about her son's death.

“Mr. Trump”, he said, “is totally void of any decency because he is unaware of how to talk to a Gold Star family and how to speak to a Gold Star mother”. He also said that one of his son's personal "heroes" was Arizona senator and former prisoner of war John McCain.

Mrs. Khan choked back tears as she told MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell later, that she “cannot even enter the room” where her dead son's pictures are. When she saw her son's picture on the screen behind her in Philadelphia she said “I couldn't take it. I controlled myself that time, it's very hard”.


US Army Capt. Humayun S. M. Khan who was posthumously awarded a bronze star and purple heart for his heroism in Iraq, where he died in 2004.

Trump Attacks Gold Star family on Twitter











































Predictably, there was a public backlash for his cruel and callous comments.

Paul Rieckhoff, founder and CEO of IAVA, (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America)

said to Rachel Maddow;

“... a direct attack on a gold star family for their patriotism is unprecedented. This is about honour, this is about integrity and it's completely out of bounds.

Gold star Moms are sacred. There are 22 million Veterans in America. You don't attack their patriotism, you don't attack their integrity – 14 Muslim-American soldiers are buried at Arlington.

This is a learning moment for America, where they are learning a lot about gold star families, they're learning a lot about our military, they're learning a lot about the sacrifices of Muslim-Americans”.

John McCain, the GOP presidential nominee in 2008, urged Trump “to set an example” and said: “I cannot emphasize how deeply I disagree with Mr Trump’s statement [about the Khans]. I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican party, its officers, or candidates.”

Obama had this to say:
“As commander-in-chief, I’m pretty tired of some folks trash-talking America’s military and troops,” the president said. “No one – no one – has given more for our freedom and our security than our Gold Star families [those whose family members died in service].


“[They] have made a sacrifice that most of us cannot even begin to imagine. They represent the very best of our country. They continue to inspire us every day, every moment. They serve as a powerful reminder of the true strength of America. We have to do everything we can for those families and honor them and be humbled by them.”

Khizr Khan responded to Trumps remarks by saying on CNN that Trump had a “black soul”.

Ghazala Khan told NBC, as she had written in the Washington Post a day before, that the reason she had remained silent on stage was that she was too overcome by grief over her son’s death to speak about it.

“I didn’t talk because I don’t have the heart when it comes to Humayun. I can’t,” she said. “I can’t talk – my words will be not that strong or I will start crying.”

Trump tells grieving Gold Star Widow that her husband:

'Knew what he had signed up for'


Trump drew further criticism in October 2017, for disrespecting another Gold Star Family when he was accused of telling grieving widow Myeshia Johnson that her dead husband had 'Known what he signed up for”.

For 12 days, Trump said nothing, not even a tweet, about the four Americans killed in action, and had no contact with their Gold Star families.

According to two people who overheard the call, Trump told Johnson that her husband "knew what he was signing up for" although his death must still be painful. One witness who confirms these were Trump's words is Sgt. Johnson's mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson.

The other is Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) , who was with the family when Trump called.


From left to right:

U.S. Special Forces Sgt. Bryan Black
U.S. Special Forces Sgt. La David Johnson.
U.S. Special Forces Sgt. Dustin Wright
U.S. Army Special Forces Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson

All four were killed in Niger, West Africa on October 4, 2017.

He denied speaking to Sgt. Johnson's widow disrespectfully, both on live tv and also on Twitter. He tweeted:


Sgt. La David Johnson and three other U.S. soldiers were killed in an ambush by militants aligned with the Islamic State during an operation in Niger on Oct 4. They were escorting 30 Nigerien troops through an area about 120 miles North of Niamey. Two other U.S soldiers and eight Nigerien troops were injured also and Sgt. Johnson's body was found 2 days later on October 6th.

Johnson, a native of Miami Gardens, Florida, had enlisted in the Army in January 2014 as a Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic. His awards and decorations include:

The Army Acheivement Medial, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Army Parachutist Badge, the Army Air Assault Badge, the Driver and Mechanic Badge and the Marksmanship Qualification Badge - Sharpshooter with Rifle.

Trump was apparently unaware that he was on speaker-phone at the time and his callous remark was overheard by Sen Frederica Wilson who was in the car with Sgt. Johnson's wife and mother at the time.

Trump claimed that Sen Wilson was lying., however both Army Sgt. La David Johnson's mother and Mrs. Johnson herself confirmed that he HAD said those remarks to them while they were in the car on the way to the airport where fallen Sgt. Johnson's body was being repatriated.

Sgt. Johnson's mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson stated;“President Trump DID disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband”.

Myeshia Johnson herself stated quite clearly:

“The president said that he knew what he has signed up for, but it hurts anyway. It made me cry because I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said he couldn't remember my husband's name. The only way he remembered my husband's name is because he told me he had my husband's report on front of him and that's when he actually said 'La David'. I heard him stumbling on, trying to remember my husband;s name and that's what hurt me the most because if my husband is out there fighting for our country and he risked his life for our country then why can't you remember his name?”

Trump supporters fake a facebook post and falsely claim it was written by Gold Star Widow Myeshia Johnson

Trump supporters faked a facebook post which they claimed was from Mrs. Johnson in which she seemed to support Trump , criticise Senator Wilson and accused her of lying about Trump for political gain.

Slight problem though. It was fake news..

Look at the date of the post.

17 October 2017 which IS the date of the condolence call, but the time listed is more than an hour BEFORE the acutall call, which was actually 4:45 ET time.

So unless Mrs. Johnson had access to a time machine then she didn't write that facebook post.







Furthermore the picture shows a Facebook profile with a square profile picture – but Facebook implemented an update in August 2017 which changed the shape of the profile picture from square to round.

Again – time machine?

Nonetheless there are still many people who still believe that Mrs. Johnson called Senator Wilson a liar and claim that she supports Trump. It's not true.

So do you still think that Donald Trump deserves a military parade costing up to $30 million while homeless Veterans sleep on the streets and commit suicide at a rate of 22 every single day?

So who, if anyone actually deserves a military parade in their honour?

This guy?
Donald Trump on the left, receives a bowling trophy in 1964
Or this guy?
Lieut. Commander John Sidney McCain in 1965







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