On October 29th, Alexander Vindman, 44, added his testimony to that of others in denouncing the President’s phone call to his counterpart in Ukraine. He testified in uniform.
And that is what some have taken issue with.
You see, on the job in the position he held while participating in that phone call, Alexander Vindman did not wear a uniform. He wore civilian attire.
So why would he show up for these hearings in his full uniform if he was not being called upon in any capacity relating to his military service?
Is there any plausible reason BESIDES a desire to lend additional credibility to his testimony as he appeared in photos and on camera?
And that is what is being objected to.
Some of Alexander Vindman’s fellow soldiers have blasted him for testifying in uniform during the House impeachment hearings, accusing him of politicizing the military by stating personal opinions that were highly critical of President Trump.
…His appearance in uniform has been a point of contention. Military members detailed to the NSC typically wear suits but Vindman gave his testimony in uniform, and was lauded for having been awarded a Purple Heart for being wounded in Iraq, and a Combat Infantryman’s Badge.
“This is a bad look for him to be in uniform,” an active duty military officer stationed at the Pentagon told the Washington Examiner. “He makes it look like the Army is behind this. Like the Army is pushing a coup.”
Another officer was concerned that Vindman’s testimony veered too much into personal assessment. “I don’t care what he thinks, he’s entitled to his opinion,” the officer said. “But it’s an opinion and he should give it without the uniform.”
A third officer said that Vindman’s weight indicated he would be unlikely to pass the Combat Fitness Test even though he had achieved a Ranger tab earlier in his career.
Matt Zeller, an Afghanistan veteran and fellow at the American Security Project, defended Vindman. “I think he’s a patriot, and how he’s been treated is an abomination,” Zeller told the Washington Examiner. “All he is is a public servant doing his duty.”
Source: Russ Read, WashingtonExaminer
The Federalist gives some context for Vindeman’s testimony after examining his opening statements (which were made public) and noting that his critiques of the President are both based in opinion rather than objective fact.
So, with the understanding that Vindeman’s relevant statements were opinion, not fact, was he merely doing his duty as his officer’s oath demands? Many have relied on the argument that he is not an anti-Trump activist because he was subpoenaed and therefore had no choice but to testify. Thus, his supporters have argued that he did not decide to become involved but was merely a pawn in the political theater, just a honorable soldier doing his duty.
That would be a better argument if Vindman had been subpoenaed involuntarily and then had to give honest answers to factual questions. But that is not what happened. He said he was “appearing today voluntarily pursuant to a subpoena.” Appearing “voluntarily pursuant to a subpoena” is what people do when they are trying to cover their rear end. That is a statement by someone who is willing or affirmatively wants to testify but thinks he needs a subpoena commanding his presence to be able to claim that he had to testify.
Lawyers deal with that every day. The “just doing his duty” argument also is flawed because even if his duty required him to testify about facts (itself a debatable proposition) it did not require him to offer his personal opinions critiquing his commander-in-chief.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, being subpoenaed does not obligate any witness to make an opening statement. That is something they do if they want to. Vindman wanted to; it was a purely voluntary act. That desire to offer his personal opinions to impeach the president’s decisions does indeed support the argument that this officer is an active member of the “resistance.”
Source: John Lucas, The Fedaralist
This drama will play itself out, as it inevitably must. But as citizens and observers, there is nothing requiring the American public to forfeit their skepticism of a process that has already thrown up more red flags than a May Day parade.
We have already seen how Schiff — a would-be screenwriter — is willing to employ every dirty propaganda tool at his disposal from selective leaks, to clandestine staff meetings with future witnesses, to his ridiculous made-for-TV ‘parody’ rendition of the phone call intended to plant an mafioso-type image in the public mind.
For the same reason, we do well to be on guard against subtle attempts to manipulate the narrative in his favor — including little details like someone testifying in uniform against the Commander-in-Chief.
With the stakes as high as they are in the game he is playing, it’s unlikely anything is merely a ‘coincidence’.