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One of the benefits of being retired is that I have a lot of time to follow world events. One of the drawbacks of being retired is that I have a lot of time to follow world events. I honestly think I may have spent too much time in the last five months watching and reading about the whole Ukraine mess. I think I understand the chronology and have a pretty good understanding of the motivations of the actors involved.
Today, LTC Alexander Vindman got reassigned, his brother removed, and Amb. Sondland fired. Immediately and reflexively, LTC Vindman became a martyr to some on the left. But, as I like to do, I quote Uncle Joe Biden, “Come on, man.” Some call it a purge. But how on earth can President Trump ever rely on Vindman as a member of the National Security Council staff?
Beyond the evident truth that Vindman thinks he is a policymaker, rather than a policy advisor, how can his advice ever be devoid of suspect motives? Imagine some crisis or policy meeting in the situation room and the principals look across the table and see Vindman. Could they ever suspend their doubts about his contributions? I say this even acknowledging that whatever he says there may be appropriate and entirely correct. He went outside his chain of command to report a phone call in which his superiors saw no wrongdoing. He testified about his disagreement with the elected official’s policy. His history can’t be put aside, so he has to go.
I spent almost forty years working in the far less contentious world of television production. If I ever disagreed with a producer about a replay or a visual effect, when there was time the good producers would listen to my objection and take it into account. But the decision was theirs, not mine. If I continued to object or took it further, his job wasn’t in jeopardy, mine was. The thing about live sports production that’s exciting is that you have seconds to do it. The production crew has to mesh to get it right instantly. There’s no time for debate. There’s probably not an employee anywhere that hasn’t sometime felt he knew better than his boss. But a subordinate has to know his position in the chain of command.
I knew where I stood. Apologists for Vindman may not understand how he, rightly or wrongly, could never be trusted again.Published in