Media Research Center senior fellow Allen West spent his Feb. 10 CNSNews.com column mostly raging at Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman for telling the truth. First, he complained that the "progressive socialist left" was making Vindman into a hero. After needless diversions into the cases of Bowe Bergdahl and Bradley Manning, West finally got around to his attack:
LTC Vindman is still an active duty soldier, meaning he is held to a higher standard of justice, the UCMJ. The actions of LTC Vindman are not in keeping with the good order and discipline expected of our men and women serving in uniform. It is well known that LTC Vindman acted outside of his chain of command and truthfully, displayed “conduct unbecoming of an officer.”
And yes, that is a charge that could be levied against him under the UCMJ. Of course, the progressive socialist left sees LTC Vindman as a “hero” because he did their bidding. If any military officer had conducted themselves as LTC Vindman did during the reign of Barack Obama as commander in chief, he would have been declared treacherous, traitorous, and treasonous.
West is simply parroting President Trump's attack on Vindman in his justification for firing the lieutenant colonel from the National Security Council. He's also repeating a claim from Timothy Morrison, a supervisor who claimed that Vindman didn't follow the chain of command when reporting issues with Trump's phone call with Ukrainian president Volodomyr Zelensky; in fact, Morrison had been Vindman's superior for just a week at the time of the Trump-Zelensky call, and his predecessor had a different view of chain of command than he did.
Further, since the NSC is a civilian operation, not a military one, it seems highly unlikely that Vindman could be punished under the UCMJ for his purported chain-of-command violation.
West then went on to rant:
The actions of LTC Vindman, if done under the Obama administration would have been termed “rogue” and the demands would have been for his firing.
LTC Vindman may have served admirably on the battlefield and even earned a Purple Heart. Then again, Benedict Arnold was a revered military leader until he was angered and turned against the cause for which he had fought.
LTC Vindman served in the National Security Council at the behest of the President. LTC Vindman has proven that he no longer has the trust and confidence of the commander in chief, and therefore was released from his duties at the NSC. LTC Vindman has not been kicked out of the Army. He has not been charged with anything. He has simply been removed from his assignment.
West couldn't come up with anything more serious against Vindman than having "acted outside of his chain of command," and suddenly he's a Benedict Arnold-level traitor?
West concluded by ranting:
How interesting that the left is all up in arms over LTC Vindman, yet they could not celebrate a 100-year-old Tuskegee Airman who flew combat missions in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. The left celebrates a deserter like Bowe Bergdahl yet criticizes the release of Army 1LT Clint Lorance who was imprisoned for six years because he killed the enemy in Afghanistan…even the Army withheld exculpatory evidence in his case.
Weird that West is turning against the UCMJ that convicted Lorance of murder, while demanding that Vindman face the UCMJ for his actions. It's also far from clear that Lorance "killed the enemy in Afghanistan"; he was convicted of ordering his troops to shoot at a group of unarmed civilians, killing two, and even his own soldiers testified against him, describing him as ignorant and overzealous. Lowrance was also convicted of threatening a local Afghan; firing an M14 rifle into a village and trying to have one of his soldiers lie about receiving incoming fire; and obstructing justice by making a false radio report after the two men were killed.
All of which seems much more serious than making a report outside the chain of command. But for a guy who violated the UCMJ by torturing an enemy combatant, that's apparently a more honorable way to behave.