I’ve never served in the military. Neither have most of you reading this. We all know that there’s a certain kind of respect you try to give to veterans, to people on active duty, and to people in uniform. It’s just common, appreciative, patriotic decency. Unfortunately, these Republican thugs on the House Intelligence Committee just don’t seem to understand that, or care.
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was a witness today in a congressional hearing. Members of Congress are well within their rights to ask any witness tough questions, including one who’s in uniform, and to try to poke holes in that witness’ testimony. But you do not randomly accuse a military officer of being disloyal to his country because he’s giving testimony you don’t like. And if you are going to omit his rank and address him as “Mister Vindman” you sure as hell don’t do it while you’re in the process of questioning his loyalty to his country.
The Constitution makes clear that civilians don’t have to bow down to military officers. No one is legally required to give special favor to military personnel. But gee whiz, have some decency, will you? Yes, even decorated military officers can end up being criminals; we all saw General Michael Flynn sell out his country in the name of rigging the 2016 election in Donald Trump’s favor. But those allegations against Flynn were made based on the evidence which showed that Flynn turned against the United States. Short of that, you just don’t go there.
As is so often the case lately, Trump’s allies massively overreached by baselessly accusing a U.S. military officer of… whatever that nonsense was. House Republicans made themselves look terrible today in the eyes of average Americans who are trying to decide whether Trump needs to be ousted. They also unwittingly made Vindman even more believable as a witness. But what an ugly, embarrassing mess this is for the United States in general.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report