- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The former commander of the Army’s 1st Armored Division doesn’t want to see a French- or Chinese-style military parade on the streets of Washington, saying such events are not in the U.S. military’s DNA.

Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, now a military-issues commentator for CNN, said in an interview Tuesday that Mr. Trump’s telling the military to study the possibility of a presidential-revue parade in Washington was an “interesting request” that he himself would have taken with “a bemused smile.” He pointed out the massive logistical problems and shortcomings in Washington’s streets.

But he also implied it was un-American.

“It is not in the culture of the United States military,” he said, noting that the U.S. historically has never had a military class and calling such parades the stuff of “tinhorn” regimes.

“There shouldn’t be in my view a whole lot of chest-thumping and these overt means of showing how tough you are,” he said.

Gen. Hertling also said the American military does not want to engage in such activities, saying that “I dislike parades personally very much and I don’t know a lot of soldiers who like them,” citing all the non-soldiering work they require such as preparing weapons and polishing buttons and uniforms.

The general said that while he couldn’t speak for Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and that the military will obey its civilian masters, he speculated that the JCS chief’s reaction to Mr. Trump’s request was that he “probably rolled his eyes, saying ‘oh, we gotta delay that and don’t even bring it up.’ “

“I’m glad I’m not wearing the uniform right now,” Gen. Hertling said.

Mr. Trump was the personal guest last year of French President Emmanuel Macron at that country’s traditional Bastille Day military parade and he called it “one of the greatest parades” he’d ever seen.

Mr. Trump’s request for an American military parade was first reported by The Washington Post, which cited a source saying Mr. Trump told his military advisers “I want a parade like the one in France.”

The story was confirmed by the White House and Pentagon, though official spokesmen at both places downplayed how far along things were.

Pentagon spokesman Charlie Summers said planning was in its “infancy” and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president had “asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”

On CNN, Gen. Hertling sidled up to saying the parade was all about Mr. Trump’s personal ego, deflecting a question from Anderson Cooper that suggested it was with “I have my own thoughts on that, Anderson. I won’t say what they are.”

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