Tuesday, October 29, 2019


Many people seem to believe that conservative Trump voters will find it hard not to respect the background of this man:
A White House national security official who is a decorated Iraq war veteran plans to tell House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that he heard President Trump appeal to Ukraine’s president to investigate one of his leading political rivals, a request the aide considered so damaging to American interests that he reported it to a superior.

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman of the Army, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, twice registered internal objections about how Mr. Trump and his inner circle were treating Ukraine, out of what he called a “sense of duty,” he plans to tell the inquiry....

The colonel, a Ukrainian-American immigrant who received a Purple Heart after being wounded in Iraq by a roadside bomb and whose statement is full of references to duty and patriotism, could be a more difficult witness to dismiss than his civilian counterparts.
That's from a New York Times story that was published last night. In his opening statement, Colonel Vindman will say:
I have dedicated my entire professional life to the United States of America. For more than two decades, it has been my honor to serve as an officer in the United States Army. As an infantry officer, I served multiple overseas tours, including South Korea and Germany, and a deployment to Iraq for combat operations. In Iraq, I was wounded in an IED attack and awarded a Purple Heart....

The privilege of serving my country is not only rooted in my military service, but also in my personal history. I sit here, as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army, an immigrant. My family fled the Soviet Union when I was three and a half years old. Upon arriving in New York City in 1979, my father worked multiple jobs to support us, all the while learning English at night. He stressed to us the importance of fully integrating into our adopted country. For many years, life was quite difficult. In spite of our challenging beginnings, my family worked to build its own American dream. I have a deep appreciation for American values and ideals and the power of freedom. I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend OUR country, irrespective of party or politics.

For over twenty years as an active duty United States military officer and diplomat, I have served this country in a nonpartisan manner, and have done so with the utmost respect and professionalism for both Republican and Democratic administrations.
But if you think this will impress Trump Nation, you're dreaming.

Colonel Vindman's background might have impressed voters who admired previous Republican presidents. In the George W. Bush era, or the Ronald Reagan era, a decorated veteran who'd been injured in a patriotic (i.e., Republican) war would have been hard to discredit. The fact that the colonel fled the Soviet Union would have seemed especially impressive during the Reagan years.

But modern Republicans aren't impressed by these credentials, primarily for one reason: Democrats generally are impressed. We like the troops now. We opposed the Iraq War, but we respect military service.

And now -- after telling us during W's presidency that we were traitors for questioning that war -- Republican voters sound practically leftist as they parrot Trump's complaints about "endless wars." They don't trust the military establishment. They don't believe in the international order. They have contempt for people who've spent their working lives in national security. It's all the Deep State. It's all "globalism." (I'm sure they believe Colonel Vindman has some connection to George Soros.)

The first hit job on Colonel Vindman took place an hour or two after news of his testimony broke.
During a panel discussion on The Ingraham Angle, [Fox's Laura] Ingraham turned to law professor Alan Dershowitz and former Justice Department official John Yoo—author of the so-called “Torture Memos”—to weigh in....

According to Ingraham, however, the really interesting part of the New York Times report on Vindman wasn’t that he raised concerns over Trump attempting to pressure a foreign government to investigate American citizens but rather that Vindman is a Ukrainian-American immigrant.
Ingraham seized on this passage in the Times story:
Because he emigrated from Ukraine along with his family when he was a child and is fluent in Ukrainian and Russian, Ukrainian officials sought advice from him about how to deal with [Rudy] Giuliani, though they typically communicated in English.
Here it comes:
“Now, wait a second, John,” Ingraham continued, addressing Yoo. “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, and usually, they spoke in English. Isn’t that kind of an interesting angle on this story?!”

Yoo replied that he found it “astounding” before offering his own bit of astounding speculation.

“You know, some people might call that espionage,” the former Bush administration official suggested.

But contemporary right-wingers may not even need this level of smear to conclude that Colonel Vindman is untrustworthy. Just the fact that he's part of the national security apparatus -- and was part of it before Trump was president -- is probably sufficient.

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