Nine months ago, Army Lt. Colonel Alexander S. Vindman, a decorated Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient, testified during Trump’s impeachment trial that, as the top Ukraine expert in the National Security Council and after having taken part in the infamous July 25 phone call, he had “grave concerns about President Trump’s politicized extortion of Ukraine’s president.”
The commander in chief’s and his enablers’ vengeful and vicious attacks on the war hero were immediate, predictable, vengeful, vicious, and prolonged – up to the moment that Vindman decided to retire.
Trump’s retaliation included Vindman’s firing from the National Security Council, calling him “insubordinate” and reported efforts to deny Vindman “a routine promotion [to full colonel]…after White House officials dug up dirt on him and passed it along to the Pentagon.”
Fox and Friends’ host Brian Kilmeade disgracefully used Vindman’s heritage (Vindman immigrated to the United States from Ukraine as a child), to smear the patriot as a traitorous foreigner. “We also know he was born in the Soviet Union, emigrated with his family, young. He tends to feel simpatico with the Ukraine,” he said.
Except for statements by his attorney announcing the colonel’s retirement, Vindman, respecting military tradition, has been discrete about the vengeful persecution and retribution conducted against him at the highest levels.
However, today on his first day after retirement from the military, Vindman is finally able to speak out – and he does.
In an extraordinary editorial at The Washington Post, Vindman paints a scathing picture of Trump. “An indictment,” Mother Jones calls it.
“After 21 years, six months and 10 days of active military service, I am now a civilian,” Vindman begins.
He continues, “I made the difficult decision to retire because a campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation by President Trump and his allies forever limited the progression of my military career.”
Although a painful experience, Vindman writes, “I am not alone in this ignominious fate,” and points to “those of dozens of other lifelong public servants who have left this administration with their integrity intact but their careers irreparably harmed.”
He recalls his concerns over Trump’s conduct and efforts “to undermine the very foundations of our democracy…” which, unknown to him “were precipitating tremors that would ultimately shake loose the facade of good governance and publicly expose the corruption of the Trump administration.”
Today, his concerns are even more broad and serious. “At no point in my career or life have I felt our nation’s values under greater threat and in more peril than at this moment. Our national government during the past few years has been more reminiscent of the authoritarian regime my family fled more than 40 years ago than the country I have devoted my life to serving, “Vindman says and provides examples of Trump’s mendacity and recklessness which now include the pandemic sweeping through our country while Trump “publicly bemoans his approval ratings.”
Vindman, even as he experiences the “low ending” of his military career, is appreciative of “the loving support of tens of thousands of Americans” for “[t]heirs is a chorus of hope that drowns out the spurious attacks of a disreputable man and his sycophants.”
The colonel believes that “A groundswell is building that will issue a mandate to reject hate and bigotry and a return to the ideals that set the United States apart from the rest of the world,” and he looks forward to contribute to that effort in his retirement by demanding accountability, calling for leaders of moral courage, speaking out about attacks on our national security…
As an immigrant who, like Vindman, also served my adopted country, and who, as Vindman, “could never have imagined the opportunities and experiences” I have had, I share the sentiments Col. Vindman so eloquently expresses at the end of his editorial:
To this day, despite everything that has happened, I continue to believe in the American Dream. I believe that in America, right matters. I want to help ensure that right matters for all Americans.
Read Col. Vindman’s complete editorial, “Coming forward ended my career. I still believe doing what is right matters,” HERE.
The Washington Post: Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman (Ret.), a career U.S. Army officer, served on the National Security Council as the director for Eastern European, Caucasus and Russian affairs, as the Russia political-military affairs officer for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as a military attaché in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.