Alexander Vindman came to this country from Ukraine as an immigrant child of three years. After completing college he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served with distinction, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Along the way he acquired a Purple Heart for a wound from an IED in Iraq.
Humayun Khan immigrated with his family at roughly the same age. In 2000, he was commissioned in the Army. He rose to the rank of captain and served in Iraq. In 2004, at the age of 27, Humayun Khan was killed there, in an explosion. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and is interred at Arlington Cemetery.
What these two have in common, apart from being immigrants who honorably served their adopted country — one of them paying the ultimate price — is that both have the distinction of being slimed by President Trump and his toadies in Congress and the media. (In the case of Humayun Khan, as he was no longer living, it was his memory that was slimed.)
By way of contrast, the president, who contrived to avoid service in Vietnam due to “bone spurs,” likened avoiding contracting STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) to service in Vietnam. In an interview with shlock jock Howard Stern from the 1990s unearthed a few years ago, he claimed he was a “brave soldier” for avoiding STDs while sleeping around during his single years.
“It’s amazing, I can’t even believe it . . . it is a dangerous world out there. It’s like Vietnam, sort of. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave solider.” In the interview he went on to describe vaginas as “minefields.”
So the president belittles genuine heroes while regarding himself as a hero for not getting VD. As Joseph Welch famously queried Sen. Joe McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”
Donald Trump was not on the ballot on Nov. 5. But trumpism clearly was, and it did not come out so well. Maybe trashing genuine heroes when you’re the opposite of one has its downside.
Charles Uphaus is a resident of Frederick County.