For a party that paid so much lip service to caring about the military, veterans and “patriotism”, the GOP sure doesn’t walk the walk.
If a dispute involving the rule of law, comes down to an allegiance with men that honorably served their country in combat and leadership roles as versus a coward who evaded military service 5 times and the only thing tough on him is his mouth – they choose the mouth that roared.
Today, another distinguished veteran is being targeted by the Republican party and its president, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council staffer overseeing Ukraine policy, who is testifying today before the House impeachment inquiry joint committee hearings.
This is not a one off. Whenever it comes time for the Counterfeit in Chief, to be scrutinized for conduct rising to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors, any man with integrity will be kicked to the curb by Republicans in preference and in deference to the national disgrace that leads their party.
Recent examples include the trashing of Robert Mueller, a participant in the bloody, intense Tet offensive and a recipient of the Bronze Star with V and a Purple Heart.
Just to underline the significance of this, let’s take a quick look at what both of these awards represent. The Bronze Star with Valor, signifies that the soldier or officer, exhibited exceptional heroism in combat. It is the fourth highest decoration in the U.S. armed forces. You don’t get it for goldbricking. Goldbricking, these days, gets you elected president by “poorly educated voters”.
The other award Mueller was honored with is the Purple Heart. That one denotes that you engaged the enemy and were wounded in the process.
Mueller, incidentally, was turned down in his first attempt in 1966 to volunteer for service on medical grounds and returned a year later and re-petitioned for duty and was accepted. This was a mere few months prior to Donald J. Trump receiving his first draft deferment for what we now know were fictitious bone spurs.
Historian Garrett Graff, describes the episode that resulted in the Purple Heart.
At one point, Mueller was engaged in a close firefight. The incoming fire was so intense—the stress of the moment so all-consuming, the adrenaline pumping so hard—that when he was shot, Mueller didn’t immediately notice. Amid the combat, he looked down and realized an AK-47 round had passed clean through his thigh.
Mueller kept fighting. “Although seriously wounded during the firefight, he resolutely maintained his position and, ably directing the fire of his platoon, was instrumental in defeating the North Vietnamese Army force,” reads the Navy Commendation that Mueller received for his action that day.
There were others. Among them, the Gold Star widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, killed in an ambush in Niger. We recall also the Khan Gold Star family who called Trump out at the Democratic National Convention on his ignorance of the Constitution.
Humayun Khan’s father, Khizr, asked of Trump, “Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing — and no one.”
Instead of accepting an accurate criticism and sensibly moving on without comment, Trump could not resist going on the counter-offensive with only his mouth as a weapon, accusing the dead soldier’s mother, Ghazala, of being mute and subservient to her husband. It was a bit of cultural and racial stereotyping that Trump relishes as does his political base. And there was not so much as a peep from the GOP.
Trump’s despicable comments about P.O.W. John McCain are so widely known and discussed that we need not outline them here other than to say that when Trump was asked if he ought to apologize, Trump declined, telling reporters that the bounce in his poll numbers was all the justification he needed for disparaging McCain.
Response from Republicans? They couldn’t even summon up the cojones to defend one of their own. Crickets. As is typical of Lindsey Graham, he could scarcely lift a limp wrist to challenge Trump’s attack on a man that Graham claims to have considered as a friend. “I think the President’s comments about Sen. McCain hurt him more than they hurt the legacy of Sen. McCain.” But he added “I’m going to try to continue to help the President.” Translation – “I’m going to continue enabling Trump’s behavior.
Worse yet, Trump’s comments about John McCain, after he was dead, inspired a Trump follower to send McCain’s widow Cindy, a tweet, saying to her, “Your husband was a traitorous piece of warmongering s–t and I’m glad he is dead. Hope your Mrs. Piggy looking daughter chokes to death on the next burger she stuffs down her fat neck too, c-nt”.
Kellyanne Conway argued that “no president has shown greater respect for the military and the veterans”, but in keeping with Conway’s reputation for statements that are (understatement alert), unsupportable by evidence, the record on this president and by extension, his party, tells a quite different story.
In 2016, Tammy Duckworth, then a Congresswoman from Illinois, was running for the United States Senate. Duckworth, a U.S. Army veteran who lost both of her legs in Iraq was accused by the National Republican Senatorial Committee in a tweet, saying that “Tammy Duckworth has a sad record of not standing up for our veterans.” Aside from being an obvious lie, it was a sickening betrayal.
Trump made a series of backbiting comments about Navy Admiral William McRaven, a special forces member of the Navy Seals himself, and commander of Seal Team Six, the spec ops strike force that carried out the successful operation against al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
“Wouldn’t it have been nice if we had gotten Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that, wouldn’t it have been nice?”
The inference of this comment is that somehow McRaven was pussyfooting around and dragging out the commencement of the operation needlessly. Robert O’Neill, the team member that personally took out bin Laden in 2011, rose swiftly to McRaven’s defense, responding in a tweet to Trump’s assertion that McRaven was a political partisan, that his commander was “born” to lead the mission”, and clarified that it was a “bipartisan effort”.
There are too many such examples to cite within the breadth of this report, but readers will note a recent one. Trump went out of his way to disrespect former Defense Secretary, James Mattis.
In February, Trump told the New York Times that he fired Mattis because “I wasn’t happy with the job that he was doing at all” and needed to make a change. “I told Mattis to give me a letter (of resignation),” Trump told the newspaper. “He didn’t just give me that letter … I said it’s time.”
Trump wasn’t finished scapegoating the former cabinet official for Trump’s own failures in judgment and counter-productive conduct. Earlier this month, Trump denigrated General Mattis’ service to him and his country, saying of Mattis that he was “the world’s most overrated general”. It wasn’t too long before Mattis, who is nobody’s fool, made Trump look like the fool he consistently makes himself out to be:
Of course, Mattis, in a classy manner, came out shining in this exchange, which he didn’t start, but finished. Even so, Trump, bagging on men that in any measure of their accomplishments, history would prove are better men in any single day of their lives than Trump will ever live to be – is damning not only to him, but the scoundrels that inhabit the party he is the titular head of.
Of Trump’s many slaps in the face to the military, including his AWOL status when it was time to honor the fallen, Retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal told CNN there’s “a certain honesty to what’s happening now. The President didn’t go to Arlington Cemetery for Veterans Day, and maybe that’s honest, because if you really don’t care, it would be dishonest to pretend that you do.”
Just remember that every ounce of mud, Trump flings against reputable men in uniform, the Republican party owns it and they have a receipt to prove it. The receipt is the many execrable indecencies their president has committed and the innumerable times they have issued – at the most, only lukewarm rejoinders.
Now today, Trump and the GOP, has gone after Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. Because Vindman is telling investigators that having been a direct witness to the content in real time, of Trump’s coercive call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on July 25th, he was deeply disturbed by Trump’s request for damaging material on Joe Biden – Republicans in and out of Congress and their media hacks are dragging Vindman through the mud and impuning his patriotism. Some samples of this:
Fox News’ evening host Laura Ingraham, a main spoke in the GOP media wheel that is the partisan agenda platform of the party, inferred sinister motives on Vindman’s part, telling the audience, “Here we have a U.S. national-security official who is advising Ukraine while working inside the Ukraine, apparently against the president’s interest, and usually they spoke in English. Isn’t that kind of an interesting angle to this story?”
John Yoo, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Bush administration and now a member of Trump’s media circus contingent, was also on Ingraham’s program and took his turn at character assassination, responding affirmatively to Ingraham’s comment, stating, “I find that astounding, and some people might call that espionage.”
Former GOP House member John Duffy, told CNN:
“It seems very clear that he is incredibly concerned about Ukrainian defense,” Duffy said. “I don’t know that he’s concerned about American policy, but his main mission was to make sure that the Ukraine got those weapons. I understand that. We all have an affinity to our homeland, where we came from … He’s entitled to his opinion. He has an affinity for the Ukraine, he speaks Ukrainian, and he came from the country, and he wants to make sure they’re safe and free. I understand that.”
To give Duffy a chance to either back off of this accusation or double down on it, host John Berman asked, “Are you saying a decorated war veteran isn’t looking out for America first, yes or no?” Duffy responded, “I don’t know what he’s doing.”
But we know what Lt. Col Vindman is doing and who he is. He is yet another gentleman that has proven his commitment to our country with injuries sustained in the field in Iraq, as evidenced by his having received the Purple Heart, like that of Marine Commander, Mueller.
Had Barack Obama, his party or his administration impugned the integrity and honor of a distinguished veteran of combat – in this case, several of them, there would have been howls of outrage from Republicans and Trumpservatives.
When Trump and his party do so, there must be good reasons, but if there aren’t any reasons, that’s fine as well, as Trump voters see things. And there aren’t any reasons other than anyone who contradicts Trump or exposes him to the risks of accountability, must be destroyed.
Vindman told the Impeachment inquiry that, “I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained. This would all undermine U.S. national security.”
What Vindman’s GOP accusers haven’t told you, is that Vindman was picked for the post he was assigned to, because he has a strong command of the Ukrainian language and because it was his job to protect the interests of Ukraine. Ukraine, is an American ally, despite the appearance to the contrary of Trump’s and Trump’s shadow government agenda.
So, in short, Vindman is being slammed for doing his job to the utmost of his ability and calling foul when he sees the man occupying the highest office in the land and his cohorts, subverting the mission. He’s a whistleblower. Authentic patriots love whistleblowers. The Republican party and Trump voters? Not so much.
As for Lt. Col. Vindman, we’ll let his words and the Army’s recognition of his performance in their ranks, speak for themselves.
“I sit here, as a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, an immigrant,” Vindman testified on Tuesday, according to The Times. “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.”
According to the Army, Vindman’s awards include the Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (2nd award), Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (4th award), Army Achievement Medal (3rd award), National Defense Service Medal , Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (4th award), Valorous Unit Award, National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, Presidential Service Badge, Joint Chiefs of Staff identification Badge, and Navy Unit Commendation.
Since yesterday, there has been a public backlash and the GOP is in damage control, with some half hearted walkbacks and some designated party members to say that the attack on Vindman is insupportable. But with all of the history of this and the record of the party being found without courage, it’s too little, too late and far from credible. The dumpster is still on fire.