Thursday, November 7, 2019

Immigrant of the Day: Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman

Photograph by Mandel Ngan / AFP via New Yorker

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was born in the Soviet Union in 1975. At the tender age of three-and-a-half, he fled to the U.S. as a refugee with his family. They escaped religious persecution -- Jews in a country that rejected religion in favor of state atheism. [For more on his origin story, check out this New Yorker piece.]

Vindman grew up in the U.S., attended college in New York, and joined the Army soon after graduation. He served in many locations, including Iraq, where he earned a purple heart. He rose through the ranks to become a Foreign Area Officer (2008) and Lieutenant Colonel (2015). He is currently the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert.

Vindman has been in the news of late because he was part of the July 25 telephone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the center of the impeachment probe. Vindman testified before Congress about the fact that he had concerns about that call, concerns that he relayed to the top National Security Council lawyer within hours of the call. He has also testified that the published transcript of that call leaves out details that he thinks important.

Some news outlets have responded to Vindman's testimony by challenging Vindman's patriotism. It's hard for me to have a response to those attacks that doesn't involve unproductive name-calling. So, instead, I'll take the moment to mark Vindman's service by naming him our immigrant of the day. Thank you, Lieutenant Colonel.


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