Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

Just Following Orders


Certainly this indoctrination is followed too often in the breach. But that is the model that our professional military is based on. They may not have been orders per se but it is the same ethos that led most or all Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher’s fellow soldiers to report him for war crimes.

This is precisely what Vindman did. He did not go to the press, which might have been morally justified but not prescribed by military training. Vindman saw something he believed was illegal and reported it to White House lawyers. That is precisely what they’re trained to do.

Later, he received a congressional subpoena to provided testimony and he complied with that subpoena, which is literally what you are supposed to do and indeed must do. We are far into the legal-moral wilderness in which we now seem to see subpoenas as suggestions or requests.

The idea that he would face reprisals over his actions is simply grotesque. But grotesquery is the unifying theme of President Trump’s presidency.

About The Author


Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.