Lt. Col Alexander S. Vindman’s Choice: Duty, Honor, Country or Blind Loyalty (UPDATED)
Born abroad, having immigrated to the United States at a youthful age and having served meritoriously for 20 years in the U.S. Air Force both in the enlisted ranks and as a commissioned officer, it felt like a slap in the face when Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was smeared as a traitorous foreigner for testifying on what his conscience and experience told him was improper conduct by the president of the United States.
I did not, however, want to interject my personal feelings into the story below – and I still don’t.
However, another retired Army commissioned officer with similar immigration background and experiences as colonel Vindman and I, has expressed those emotions much better than I can.
In “Take It From Me, the Attacks on Vindman Are Disgraceful,” retired U.S. Army Colonel Mike Jason, writes how he, at age 11 and along with three younger brothers, also immigrated to the U.S., learned English as a second language and pursued the American dream, which encompasses for the four Jason brothers:
…more than 95 combined years of active duty and 16 combat deployments (and counting) in the Army, the Navy, and the Marines. Our combined awards include a Purple Heart and a handful of Bronze Stars and Air Medals. Two of us graduated from national military academies. One is a naval aviator. The marine has two tours in Fallujah under his belt.
No wonder Col, Jason “seethed over the attacks against Vindman,” that took place “on our most watched television networks [by] men and women who have never fought alongside heroes like Vindman, or my brothers, [and] claim there’s something suspicious about an immigrant who uses his understanding of foreign cultures to serve America.”
We have a whole class of pundits who want to “support the troops” while never having put themselves in harm’s way, and they claim to respect the professionalism and ethical standards of our military. But when one of those troops answers a constitutionally legal congressional subpoena, to provide eyewitness testimony, his loyalty is called into question by those who will not address the substance of his concerns.
I join Col. Jason in hoping that, “despite the attacks against him, Vindman knows he is one of many in a long and enduring line of patriots born elsewhere, and that his many thousands of brothers- and sisters-in-arms admire his commitment to his oath of office and to the Army’s values.”
We have seen and heard how Trump allegedly values, honors and respects veterans. That is until they speak truth to power and its abuse.
Just look at how he has vilified retired, high ranking military officers who dare to disagree with his policies or speak up against his contempt for the Constitution and the rule of law.
Trump heaped calumny upon one of our most respected war heroes, John McCain – and upon his military heroism — continuing his calumny even after McCain’s death. Why? Because McCain disagreed with Trump on policy, politics and values.
Trump has even insulted Gold Star parents.
But how about active duty military?
Trump, a draft dodger himself, basks in the achievements of men and women who risk their lives for duty, honor, country – some will say misappropriates them.
Trump surrounds himself with our heroes and, literally wrapping himself around the flag, he says he loves them.
That is, until one of them puts his oath to support and defend the Constitution ahead of blind loyalty to the commander in chief and his trampling of same.
You see, today Army Lt. Col Alexander S. Vindman, a decorated Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient, is testifying before the House that, as the top Ukraine expert in the National Security Council and after having taken part in the infamous July 25 phone call, he has “grave concerns about President Trump’s politicized extortion of Ukraine’s president.”
Trump’s and his defenders’ responses were immediate and predictable.
Without a single shred of evidence, Trump called the colonel a “Never Trumper.”
His defenders at Fox News were even more vicious.
Focusing on his heritage (Vindman immigrated to the United States from Ukraine as a child), “Fox and Friends” host Brian Kilmeade smeared Vindman: “We also know he was born in the Soviet Union, emigrated with his family, young. He tends to feel simpatico with the Ukraine.”
And Laura Ingraham: “Here we have a U.S. national-security official who is advising Ukraine while working inside the White House apparently against the president’s interest…Isn’t that kind of an interesting angle on this story?”
Duty, Honor, Country or Blind Loyalty — Not even close.
Stay tuned folks, this is just the ugly beginning with more and worse to follow.