Letter: Dartford owes Vindman, veterans an apology

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To the editor:

In his Feb. 12 letter headlined "White House right to oust Vindman," Ed Dartford suggested that Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman should attend "boot camp" to "learn the soldier's duty to follow orders." If Mr. Dartford ever attended boot camp himself, he apparently missed the part about the military chain of command and its hierarchical structure.

As a National Security Advisor and an expert on the Ukraine assigned to monitor the president's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Vindman's duty was to report to his superiors any aspect of the conversation he deemed inappropriate or threatening to national security — which is exactly what he did. Those were his orders, and he had the courage to obey them.

In the words of retired Marine Corps General and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Vindman "did exactly what we teach them to do". He "was compelled to report the president's disturbing actions". Dartford seems to confuse following military orders with personal loyalty to a president.

Also, Dartford seems to have an issue with the U.S. Army uniform, with his gratuitous complaint that it "reminded him of a Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera character." Despite criticisms from Fox News and other conservative sources on this topic, it is standard practice for officers to wear their uniforms while testifying on Capitol Hill; again, Vindman was following military protocol.

Alexander Vindman wears the same U.S. Army uniform that has been — and still is — worn with pride by many good men and women. A decorated veteran wounded in Iraq, he has worn this uniform with distinction for more than 20 years. I believe Dartford owes a lot of veterans, and especially Lt. Colonel Vindman, a public apology.

Richard C Henneberry,

Melbourne, Fla.

The writer is a Pittsfield native and former long-time resident of the area.

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