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Honor. Courage. Commitment. These were the Marine Corps values instilled in me from the very moment I first stepped foot on those yellow footprints at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, to become a United States Marine.

I was born in Pakistan. I immigrated to the United States around age 6. English was my second language. I'm a proud Muslim.

And I try to keep apprised of all that's taking place in our nation, in particular the U.S. Congress and its potential to impeach President Trump.

I've remained quiet on the impeachment thing. I'm not privy to all the facts needed to make a full assessment on such a serious matter with so many implications. But last week, things finally struck a chord with me, as one of my own was viciously attacked for acting out on honor, courage and commitment.

I'm referring to the case of U.S. Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman--a decorated combat war veteran and a recipient of the prestigious Purple Heart with over two decades of honorable service to the United States. One would think his accolades speak for themselves, but it seems in today's America no one is spared, not even the guy once injured by an IED attack in Iraq.

As news coverage surfaced of Vindman's testimony before Congress, seen as damaging to the president regarding the Trump-Ukraine debacle, Fox News hosts like Brian Kilmeade and Laura Ingraham wasted no time in skipping over Vindman's record of honorable service and pointing viewers toward theories questioning his loyalties.

Kilmeade made a point of saying Vindman, who is also the National Security Council's top Ukrainian expert, "is from the Soviet Union, he immigrated from there and has an affinity to the Ukrainian people." Vindman was 3 when his family immigrated, not that it should matter.

Ingraham decided to take things a notch higher. "Here we have a U.S. National Security Adviser official," she said, "who is advising Ukraine while working inside the White House apparently against the president's interests. Isn't that kind of an interesting angle on a story?"

Law professor John Yoo, Ingraham's guest, took the bait: "I find that astounding," he said. "Some people might call that espionage."

Had the bar really stooped so low that a man with over 20 years of honorable service to the United States and a Purple Heart was all of a sudden basically a nobody for the mere reason his birth hadn't taken place in the United States?

So thank you Laura Ingraham, Brian Kilmeade and all others who align themselves with such bigotry for belittling U.S. military service members and veterans who weren't born here. Hope you all sleep easy tonight as the thousands of immigrants serving in uniform continue protecting your free speech.


Mansoor Shams is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, the founder of and term member on the Council on Foreign Relations.

Editorial on 11/06/2019

Print Headline: Media dishonors veterans


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