Cartoon was reprehensible

As a military veteran with more than 30 years of active duty, I must say I was shocked and saddened to see the Branco political cartoon that appeared in the Feb. 18 Sunday Telegraph. I understand this was featured on the Opinion page and cartoonists are often deliberately provocative to get their point across, but this one surely crossed the line. Using the word “coup” in the cartoon text and placing a rat on a U.S. Army uniform where in this case a purple heart and other combat ribbons are attached is reprehensible.

The U.S. Army only sends its very best when requested by the White House to nominate candidates for positions on the National Security Council. Lt. Col. Vindman’s foreign affairs credentials and combat experience allowed him to make it through the arduous selection process. On this prestigious assignment, but like any other, he was expected to obey the lawful orders of his superior officers but also to report any illegal activities he observed anywhere in his chain of command. As part of his duties Lt. Col. Vindman was required to monitor a phone call between President Trump and President Zelensky of Ukraine. During this call, he heard what he considered an improper request on the part of our president. He reported his concerns to his supervisor. Later, he was subpoenaed to testify before the House Impeachment Committee, where he answered questions about what he had heard and how he responded.

Whether you consider President Trump’s language on the phone call perfect or coercive, surely we can agree that our officers and particularly the uniforms they proudly wear in service to our country do not deserve to be besmirched in this fashion. The Vindman family did not flee the Soviet Union only to see this in the pages of my hometown newspaper.