Rand Paul: Bring US troops home from Afghanistan, then throw parade

Rand Paul: Bring US troops home from Afghanistan, then throw parade
© Greg Nash

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate ratifies long-stalled tax treaty On The Money: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency | Tech giants on defensive at antitrust hearing | Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses The buck stops here: How to restore accountability to the federal regulatory system MORE (R-Ky.) said Wednesday he would support a military parade like the one President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE has asked for if it meant bringing American troops home from Afghanistan.

“Though the martial image of high-stepping soldiers is not one I tend to associate with our nation’s Founders’ distrust of a standing Army, I’m not against a victory celebration. So I propose we declare victory in Afghanistan, bring home our 14,000 troops and hold a victory parade,” Paul wrote in an op-ed for Fox News.

The White House and Department of Defense have confirmed a Washington Post report that Trump asked military leaders to put together a military parade. The concept is still in its early stages, officials told the newspaper. 

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Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Trump's pick to lead Pentagon glides through confirmation hearing Overnight Defense: Highlights from Defense pick's confirmation hearing | Esper spars with Warren over ethics | Sidesteps questions on Mattis vs. Trump | Trump says he won't sell F-35s to Turkey MORE said Wednesday the parade is a reflection of Trump’s “respect” and “fondness” for the military. He said the Pentagon is working on options for the event to present to Trump but dodged answering questions about a parade's potential cost.

Paul wrote Wednesday that a victory parade would serve as a fitting way to end the campaign in Afghanistan, which is the longest conflict in U.S. history. Trump last year increased the number of U.S. troops in the country from 8,400 to 14,000.

“We just don’t know how to appreciate a good thing,” Paul wrote. “A big part of our foreign policy failures is not knowing when and how to declare victory. So, why not a parade?”

"The only reason victory is elusive in Afghanistan is that presidents continue to have an impossible definition of victory," Paul added.

Paul’s comments echo those of a few other lawmakers who have said they’d support a parade that focused on the men and women in the armed forces, rather than a display of military might.

Democrats and some Republicans, however, have criticized the parade idea, saying it mirrors events held in authoritarian countries and would be a waste of money.