To paraphrase a Pesach term that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman will be saying with his family on seder night. I ask, why is this whistleblower unlike all other whistleblowers? They usually end up in jail or at least penniless and with their lives ruined. According to the Daily Mail, the Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said there is no investigation into Vindman, despite Donald Trump saying the Pentagon would “take a look” at the officer.
Let’s contrast Vindman with a veteran I met while in the veteran section of a Chicago homeless shelter that I ended up in after my divorce here in Israel. The veteran’s story was chilling. This former soldier reported on the corruption of a US Army contractor while stationed in Iraq. My buddy told me about how he was jailed by the Feds and charged instead of the contractor. In exchange for his release, he had signed a nondisclosure agreement and told not to pursue the matter further. Penniless, jobless and now without an Army career, he was trying to put his life back into some kind of order. That was 2014. What is different now?
I don’t have an answer to that question. While Vindman is being shielded, Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange are in jail for whistle-blowing on war crimes in Afghanistan and Ed Snowden is in Russian exile about his revelations on the NSA.
To analyze it, I think we need to analyze the political situation in the increasingly authoritarian America in a new way. Instead of going down the Nazi rabbit hole, I would suggest that of the Roman Republic/Empire. America was based on Rome. Such empires only come along every couple of millenniums. While they are not exactly alike, they have many similarities. Given Trump’s frayed relations with his military, what is the intentions of his Praetorian guards?
The new emperor Nero might want to watch his back. He has taken the empire in directions no one ever thought possible. This is truly a brave new world where anything is possible and we await the outcome with trembling.