21 November 2019

Better Than "Just Fine"

Well, I was stuck in a waiting room midday Left Coast Time today, so I ended up involuntarily listening to Mr Nunes's "closing statement" screed regarding the impeachment hearings. And I'm not pleased.

I've lived through this before, and watched a service and service academy utterly fail before.1 All of the services learned from those failures, and strove (and continue to strive) to do better. There are going to be mistakes made by uniformed personnel; it's the nature of the business. But:

Mr Nunes, before you criticize the honor or integrity or motivation of a decorated career military officer, may I first examine your Department of Defense Form 214 showing your own honorable service? How about any close family member's DD–214? I'm not even demanding that it be honorable service as a commissioned officer; just honorable service around commissioned officers might be enough. Otherwise, sirrah, I must presume that you know nothing of which you speak. And I call on all veterans' organizations to refrain from endorsing Mr Nunes for office on that basis.2

Contrariwise, Lt Col Vindman, you'll be better than "just fine". Even if you're never promoted again — a distinct possibility due to the mechanics of the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1974 (as amended), even before anticipating the pressure that will be exerted against confirming any future promotion in the Senate — you get to sleep at night because you did your duty, and you did it without regard to personal cost. For that, sir, I salute you.

  1. The United States Naval Academy failed in training two of the main figures (among others) of that fiasco, and the United States Navy failed in its duty to maintain good order and discipline by internally enforcing Article 133 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, codified at 10 U.S.C. § 933, instead leaving it to civilians. Military officers do not get to overrule statutes, however inconvenient those statutes are, and the Boland Amendments were the governing statutory law at the time. And then they lied about it under oath. "But he's our bastard" is not even close to a sufficient rationale.
  2. Like that's going to happen; it's one of the reasons I'm not a member of any veterans' organization, and that I resigned from the Reserve Officers' Association in disgust while I was in law school even though I was still a reserve officer at the time.