Lt. General (Ret.) Jerry Boykin
It was an appalling misuse of a military uniform, a discredit to the image of the U.S. Army, and a degrading slap to the men and women who serve our nation. National Security Council European Affairs Director Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman recently appeared in his uniform before the House Intelligence Committee demanding to be referred to by his rank, Lieutenant Colonel. Vindman alleged President Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky was “inappropriate.” What was astonishingly inappropriate was Vindman’s failure to use appropriate military regulations and long-standing protocol to render a complaint against the commander in chief.
All branches of the military have an established chain of command. If Vindman had an actual, valid concern regarding the president’s conversation with Zelensky, he should have followed protocol, talked to his superiors or requested an inspector-general investigation into the phone call—not buddy-up with partisan attorneys who carefully coached him and supplied him with talking points for his testimony.
Vindman’s actions were simply disgraceful. To date, there’s no evidence Vindman took an honorable course of action as previously described. Instead, what happened during the hearing was more akin to an act of insubordination in which a low-level Army analyst appeared to contravene the civilian authority of our duly elected commander in chief to set foreign-policy objectives, as the Constitution prescribes.
As Charles Hurt, opinion editor at The Washington Times, writes, “Nowhere in the Constitution does it say anything about any kind of policy analyst—in uniform or otherwise—who has any authority whatsoever to override or undermine foreign policies set by those elected by the American people.”
“Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was not a persuasive witness and did not move the story forward, because in spite of the obvious patriotism reflected in his record, he was annoying—smug and full of himself. He appeared in full dress uniform with three rows of ribbons,” said columnist and commentator Peggy Noonan.
Robert J. O’Neill, the Navy Seal who killed Osama Bin Laden, tweeted, “I wish the left wouldn’t use his uniform to make him a saint. He’s an operative with an agenda.” Similarly, Mark Geist, a Marine who fought at Benghazi tweeted, “Vindman is a disgrace to all who have served. Transcript of his previous closed door testimony he clearly admits to undermining the @POTUS foreign policy and now he has chairman Schiff advising him on how to answer questions.”
These American heroes are right: Vindman’s testimony was an embarrassment to the military and will ultimately backfire on Democrats who hope to remove President Trump. Sadly, Vindman used his military status to further his own political ambitions.
It’s shocking how the media has supported Vindman’s testimony. Several news outlets accuse Republicans of attacking him unfairly. Republicans, however, were not questioning Vindman’s patriotism; rather, they rightly wanted to expose his blatant conflict of interest after receiving a job offer from Ukrainian officials and then offering such biased testimony.
Vindman brazenly disregarded the Army chain of command and discredited his own service. For the sake of a political show, Vindman shredded fairness and the American rule of law. It’s unbecoming of an officer to engage in such activities, and this clearly is a shameful act he played in attempting to oust a president who has acted in the best interest of the American people. Vindman was not representing the U.S. military when he testified; he spoke in support of a partisan, Democrat agenda and for himself.
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William G. Boykin is Executive Vice President at the Family Research Council and former commander of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force.