Alexander Vindman’s demand that Devin Nunes call him by his military title made him look petty
National Security Council official Alexander Vindman is an officer of the armed forces, and in case you didn’t know it, he showed up to an impeachment hearing Tuesday in full military regalia. And if by chance you’re blind, he told the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee to address him as “Lt. Col. Vindman.”
When GOP Rep. Devin Nunes of California referred to him as “Mr. Vindman,” Vindman took a moment to get prissy. “Ranking member,” he replied, “it’s Lt. Col. Vindman, please.”
Not only does Vindman apparently not know that it’s the president of the United States who determines the nature of foreign relations, but he also may not know that it’s civilians who control the military, not the other way around. Nunes — or at least Congress — is his boss. The nation’s political leaders determine whether people such as Vindman go to war. It’s people such as Nunes who determine whether people such as Vindman even have jobs.
Vindman’s entire testimony, despite repeated declarations of his own “duty” and “service,” really comes down to his personal views of what’s appropriate when dealing with foreign countries. He sees his own beliefs about this as being just as important as those of the person who was elected to run the executive branch and its foreign policy.
Vindman’s views, it turns out, are not more important than Trump‘s, nor Nunes’s. But at least we all know he’s in the military.