An Honourable Man: Alexander Vindman

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman served this nation with honour and integrity for 21 years.  A career U.S. Army officer, he 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.  He received a Purple Heart medal for wounds he received from an IED attack in the Iraq War in 2004.  In October 2019 he testified before the United States Congress regarding the Trump–Ukraine scandal.  On February 7th, two days after the U.S. Senate let the nation down, failing to uphold their oaths and failing to convict Trump on well-proven impeachment charges, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman was fired, or rather “reassigned within the army” and in a tacky gesture, escorted off the White House grounds.  Last month, he resigned, citing untenable circumstances of bullying and harassment by Trump and his sycophants.  What follows is an OpEd he wrote that was published this morning in The Washington Post.  Lieutenant Colonel Vindman is a man of honour and integrity who served this nation well.


Alexander Vindman: Coming forward ended my career.

I still believe doing what’s right matters.

VindmanOpinion by Alexander S. Vindman

August 1, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. EDT

After 21 years, six months and 10 days of active military service, I am now a civilian. 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.

This experience has been painful, but I am not alone in this ignominious fate. The circumstances of my departure might have been more public, yet they are little different from those of dozens of other lifelong public servants who have left this administration with their integrity intact but their careers irreparably harmed.

A year ago, having served the nation in uniform in positions of critical importance, I was on the cusp of a career-topping promotion to colonel. A year ago, unknown to me, my concerns over the president’s conduct and the president’s efforts to undermine the very foundations of our democracy were precipitating tremors that would ultimately shake loose the facade of good governance and publicly expose the corruption of the Trump administration.

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.

Our citizens are being subjected to the same kinds of attacks tyrants launch against their critics and political opponents. Those who choose loyalty to American values and allegiance to the Constitution over devotion to a mendacious president and his enablers are punished. The president recklessly downplayed the threat of the pandemic even as it swept through our country. The economic collapse that followed highlighted the growing income disparities in our society. Millions are grieving the loss of loved ones and many more have lost their livelihoods while the president publicly bemoans his approval ratings.

There is another way.

During my testimony in the House impeachment inquiry, I reassured my father, who experienced Soviet authoritarianism firsthand, saying, “Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.” Despite Trump’s retaliation, I stand by that conviction. Even as I experience the low of ending my military career, I have also experienced the loving support of tens of thousands of Americans. Theirs is a chorus of hope that drowns out the spurious attacks of a disreputable man and his sycophants.

Since the struggle for our nation’s independence, America has been a union of purpose: a union born from the belief that although each individual is the pilot of their own destiny, when we come together, we change the world. We are stronger as a woven rope than as unbound threads.

America has thrived because citizens have been willing to contribute their voices and shed their blood to challenge injustice and protect the nation. It is in keeping with that history of service that, at this moment, I feel the burden to advocate for my values and an enormous urgency to act.

Despite some personal turmoil, I remain hopeful for the future for both my family and for our nation. Impeachment exposed Trump’s corruption, but the confluence of a pandemic, a financial crisis and the stoking of societal divisions has roused the soul of the American people. 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. I look forward to contributing to that effort.

In retirement from the Army, I will continue to defend my nation. I will demand accountability of our leadership and call for leaders of moral courage and public servants of integrity. I will speak about the attacks on our national security. I will advocate for policies and strategies that will keep our nation safe and strong against internal and external threats. I will promote public service and exalt the contribution that service brings to all areas of society.

The 23-year-old me who was commissioned in December 1998 could never have imagined the opportunities and experiences I have had. I joined the military to serve the country that sheltered my family’s escape from authoritarianism, and yet the privilege has been all mine.

When I was asked why I had the confidence to tell my father not to worry about my testimony, my response was, “Congressman, because this is America. This is the country I have served and defended, that all my brothers have served, and here, right matters.”

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.

30 thoughts on “An Honourable Man: Alexander Vindman

  1. Hello Jill. The loss of that promotion really hurt his retirement pay. Plus if he could have stayed in he would have gotten more in retirement. So tRump stole money from this good man’s pocket in revenge. Hopefully the next president will reward him with the promotion and back pay. Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

    • Trump may have robbed him financially, but Trump has robbed others of their very soul, their integrity, and in the long run that is worse. Vindman still has his honour intact, and I suspect will come out way ahead of where he would have been … just a thought. Some have suggested he may enter politics, and I think he’d stand a good chance and be a fine, honest politician. Time will tell, but I do hope he is awarded the Medal of Freedom some day, for he is surely deserving. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, could you please copy and paste the following lines at the beginning of my above comment. In repeated sympathy with other Word Pressers who are having problems with disappearing chunks of prose.Thank you.

    I am a pacifist, I firmly believe every dispute between human beings can be brought to a safe and peaceful conclusion, without the use of arms or violent conlict. Conflict

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am a pacifist, I firmly believe every dispute between human beings can be brought to a safe and peaceful conclusion, without the use of arms or violent conlict. Conflict settled otherwise grates on my consciousness. EVERY CONFLICT CAN BE SETTLED WITHOUT THE USE OF ARMS.
    Every time I hear about military excesses I have to go and listen to Universal Soldier, as written by Canadian singer/songwriter Buffie Sainte-Marie in the early 60s, and successfully covered by Donovan in 1965. This song somewhat soothes my mind, though if necessary I can become the savage beast to aggressively attack an armed foe with non-violent verbalisms, and be victorious.
    The military excess in this particular event is the allowing of a “legal” draft dodger (His father illegally paid a doctor to incorrectly diagnose his son, Donald John Trump, with “bone spurs,” thus allowing him to avoid being drafted. Ironically, this draft dodger was made Commander-in-Chief of the American Armed Forces by virtue of being elected to the Office of President of the Unied States of America in 2016. to put Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman into such “untenable circumstances of bullying and harassment” that Vindman felt he had to end his excellent military service in an undignifying manner.
    Now, normally I would support the draft dodger against the soldier, but in this instance which is so crazy backwards I give my respect to the soldier, and and my undying disrepect to the disreputable draft dodger and utter failure as a human being, Dumbpy Junk Truck Trump! May he nightly dream of being shot to death in front of a firing squad consisting of Black Freedom Riders, highly commissioned military officers, schoolchildren, and Barack Obama, under the supervisory orders of the hippie, rawgod.
    And so it goes…

    Liked by 2 people

    • All his life, Trump has been able to buy what he wanted, or have it bought for him. As you mention, his daddy bought his way out of military service, but then both his father and grandfather also dodged the draft. His daddy also bought his college degree, and gave him millions to get started, not to mention bailing him out financially more than a few times. So, it should be no surprise that he is buying his way out of trouble as he sits in the Oval Office. Remember that there are other forms of currency besides cash. You don’t think those senators really believed Trump was innocent of impeachable offenses, do you? Nope, but they have sold their souls downriver and the result is we have the single most corrupt government this nation has ever seen. If it is allowed to continue, it will be the death of a nation. Vindman, on the other hand, is a man of honour and integrity.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. All the Republican Senators who let the Lt.Col and the Country down by voting not guilty in the Impeachment did in my opinion commit treason.They cost a good man his career and allowed Trump to be his usual vindictive self and to continue selling out his Country to Russia.. His mismanagement of the Coronavirus has cost American lives as I believe his mismanagement of public money during the crisis has seen money go in directions it was never meant to go. The quiet men like Lt.Col,Vindman are the ones who suffer from this criminality that allow Trump to carry on dismantling the country and cramming it;s courtroom benches with Conservative judges.
    Cwtch.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree with you. At the very least, they broke their oath to We the People whereby they swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution, but instead they put their own self-interest before ours. Vindman is a thousand times the man any republican senator is. Ellen mentioned perhaps Vindman will go into politics … wouldn’t that be poetic justice, if he ran for and won a seat in Congress in 2022?
      Cwtch

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Jill, Senators who abetted the president in arguing against this honorable man and others who testified under oath at great risk have let the country down. If the president’s phone call was so perfect, why did his staff try to bury the phone call? Vindeman served with honor; a concept foreign to the incumbent president.

    As for the pandemic mishandling, the tone deaf president is at it again, attacking Dr. Fauci for his being forthright. People are dying Mr. president. Let’s keep our eye on the ball. 25,000 died just in July.

    Keith

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yes, as I just told someone else, Vindman is a man of honour and integrity, while Trump doesn’t even know what those words mean. I saw his attack on Fauci this morning … he comes back again to claiming we’d have fewer cases if we didn’t test so much … what sort of idiot thinks like that? And what sort of world leader bullies and curses experts who are top in their field, just for doing their job? He’s simply got to go … there can be no other choice.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jill, the answer is a leader would not do that. Trump is in a position of leadership, but as General James Mattis noted, the president does not even try to unite us. Right now, I am working on a post, that I need to tailor back the venom. So, let me draft and redraft to make it more readable by those who need to read it. Keith

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Ever notice how the orange idiot cannot stand a true American hero? McCain, Lewis, Vindman, hell even the Navy vet who took a thumping from the orange idiot SS has more hero in him that tRump will ever have.

    Reason being, our orange idiot only knows how to buy, fake, or cheat his way to anything he has ever done. And he darn well knows it. He knows he stands in the shadow of true heroes.

    It takes certain moral characteristics to have hero potential. Our orange leader knows none of them.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Integrity is the word that comes to mind when Alexander Vindman’s name is mentioned. A word that could never ever be used in connection with trump and his ilk. I hope that Vindman decides to enter politics, Congress could certainly benefit from his presence. Thank-you for sharing this eloquent opinion by Alexander Vindman.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yes, I fully agree. Vindman knew there would be a price to pay for doing the right thing, yet he didn’t let that stop him. He and several others who testified in the impeachment hearings have been vilified, fired, and harassed, but they are the ones we should be honouring. He may well have some plans to enter the political arena, based on what he said.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Typically, I would say that he needs some additional government experience before thinking about the presidency, but that thought went out the window when the people of this nation elected a television comedian to the presidency. Vindman does have experience in government, though it’s largely limited to the military, but he’s got four years to learn … should be enough!

        Like

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