Donald Trump's demand for a military parade in Washington, D.C., is drawing sharp criticism from former military leaders, who see it for the ego-feeding exercise that it is.
Trump has suffered from parade envy for a long time, but on Tuesday, both the Pentagon and the White House confirmed that the planned show of force is in motion. The plan drew immediate backlash from service members, and former military commanders are also speaking out.
On Wednesday morning, retired Rear Adm. John Kirby slammed the parade during an appearance on CNN's "New Day."
I dont like it, not at all," Kirby said. "This is not about showcasing our military. This is about the president showing off. This is all about his ego.
Kirby went on to say that such a display "is beneath us as a nation.
We are the most powerful military on Earth. We dont need to be parading our military hardware down Pennsylvania Avenue to show that to anybody," Kirby said.
The retired admiral concluded by saying that the planned parade would be a waste of resources that could be put to much better use.
"I think this is just a tremendously bad idea, he said.
Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling agreed with Kirby. "It's not who we are as a military," he said. "We don't have to portray military might because the world knows how strong we are."
Trump's fragile ego and dictatorial tendencies are well known, but his consistent exploitation of the military while demonstrating contempt for its members doesn't get as much attention. Trump campaigned, and continues to campaign, as a friend to the military and veterans, but at every opportunity, he shows he is not.
During his first year in office, Trump repeatedly ignored the deaths of U.S. service members whose sacrifices did not suit his politics, even starting a public feud with slain Sgt. La David Johnson's widow. Trump has repeatedly pushed policies that would hurt veterans and their families, and most recently, failed to protect military pay during the Trump shutdown.
Trump has also placed our military servicemen at greater risk with his spasmodic foreign policy declarations, like his nuclear threats against North Korea and labeling of African nations where thousands of U.S. troops are deployed as "shithole countries."
Many veterans have also taken issue with Trump striking his military-friendly pose after avoiding service in Vietnam over a dubious claim of "bone spurs," and later describing the fact that he avoided contracting an STD as his "personal Vietnam."
Double amputee and Democratic senator from Illinois Tammy Duckworth has frequently criticized Trump for claiming expertise on military issues.
I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five deferment draft dodger, she said in January.