It’s been a big week for outrageous miscarriages of justice perpetrated by the very people tasked with upholding the rule of law in America and an equally busy week for people signing open letters and petitions condemning those who have failed to uphold their constitutional vows.
First, over 2,000 former federal prosecutors and Justice Department employees signed onto an open letter demanding that Attorney General William Barr resign after intervening in the sentencing of Trump political advisor Roger Stone.
Now, a group of over 1,100 military veterans has issued a strong condemnation of Donald Trump for his retaliation and continued attacks against Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the former National Security Council member who testified about Trump’s less than perfect call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky during the House of Representatives’ impeachment hearings.
Since military rules of conduct prohibit Lt. Col. Vindman from defending himself publicly, the veterans used their open letter to make a defense on his behalf.
“The president should know that, despite taking aim at one Army officer, he has targeted anyone who currently wears — or has worn — the uniform,” the former service members stated in an open letter. “Our service members and veterans deserve the confidence of knowing that our elected leaders will come to their defense, just as they remain vigilant for ours.”
Perhaps that is an unreasonable expectation from a president who has no compunctions over stealing billions of dollars from the military budget to help him fulfill his campaign promise of building a wall on America’s southern border after his promise that Mexico would pay for it was revealed to be a massive lie.
“The dismissal of LTC Vindman … appears to be motivated by nothing more than political retribution and deprives the White House of expertise necessary to defend our collective national security,” the group of veterans stated in the new letter. “The manner of these dismissals suggests that the commander-in-chief has prioritized a personal vendetta over our national security.”
The scathing rebuke to the draft-evading commander-in-chief was organized by the anti-Trump group National Security Action and attracted signatories including many former senior military officers such as former U.S. Army Europe Commander Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, former Under Secretary of Defense Frank Kendall and former Connecticut Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Shepard Stone.
Other activists involved in the open letter included members of Common Defense, whose mission is to protect military members from harassment and abuse from the White House, a previously unfathomable reason to create a veterans’ organization.
After Trump removed Lt. Col. Vindman from his position on the National Security Council, he continued to urge the Pentagon to investigate whether the officer should face further punishment for his congressional testimony, a move that Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy has rejected to date.
The open letter from the coalition of veterans charges that Trump’s vindictive retaliatory attacks against the National Security officer “take aim at the long-standing military code of conduct that demands that service members report wrongdoing and illegal acts through proper channels.”
With those proper channels now under the control of the very perpetrators of the wrongdoing and illegal acts in question, only the intervention of the public can prevent the Trump administration from destroying our system of justice and abusing it for their own selfish ends.
You can read the entirety of the open letter organized by National Security Action here.
Original reporting by Leo Shane III at Military Times.
Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.