To: WHBates; FlyLow
Thank you for posting this. I was wondering how many had signed. I had posted the link to FR in a couple of places. My brother, currently serving in Iraq, and his soldiers have gotten wind of this atrocity. It'll help out their morale I'm sure when I send him your post!! Here's what he sent to me this afternoon:
John Weisman: Memo to Army Chief of Staff Pete Schoomaker
November 3, 2003
[Have an opinion on this column? Sound off in John Weisman: Hot Discussions.]
Now let's see if I get this straight. An officer whose Tikrit-based troops have come under attack from Saddam loyalists becomes aware that an Iraqi detainee has information about a planned ambush of his Soldiers, but the prisoner isn't being cooperative.
The officer then goes to interrogate the detainee -- an Iraqi police officer, by the way -- and in the course of questioning, fires his weapon as a way of making the point that he's serious about obtaining straight answers.
The detainee then tells the truth. The ambush is averted, and Soldiers' lives are saved.
The officer is then:
A: given a commendation.
B: promoted to full colonel for showing initiative under pressure and loyalty to his troops.
C: told to resign his commission immediately or face a court martial.
The correct answer, I'm sorry to have to report, is "C."
Lt. Col. Alan B. West, who aggressively interrogated an Iraqi detainee so that he could prevent an ambush and save his Soldiers lives, is being charged with aggravated assault by his unit's JAG officer.
According to published reports, Lt. Col West allowed two of his Soldiers to "physically agress" the prisoner (an act for which they were later fined), and then West brandished his pistol and fired two shots to scare the man into talking.
For this, the Judge Advocate General's office wants to end his 19-year career and possibly send him to prison for eight years. Meanwhile, idiot officers who get their men killed are being given medals and promotions, and generals who have never come under fire are putting themselves in for Silver Stars.
General Schoomaker, this is madness -- and you have to put a full stop to it right now.
Because this is what happens when lawyers, not shooters, run the military.
This is what happens in the politically correct world in which a secretary of the army (Togo West) hires a consultant who actually drafts a report stating that the Army needs to become less aggressive and more in touch with its feminine side.
This is what happens when the Army culture replaces risk-taking and initiative with hundreds of pages of rules and regulations that hamper war-fighting, degrade unit integrity, and place inane limits on how Soldiers can or cannot conduct themselves in battle.
This is what happens when managers and systems analysts replace Warriors in the command structure.
This is what happens when somewhere along the chain of command, the idea that war is about killing people and breaking things gets completely lost. This is what happens when the Army forgets the words of General George S. Patton, Jr.: "We must be eager to kill, to inflict on the enemy -- the hated enemy -- wounds, death, and destruction."
Now, I'm not in favor of hooking prisoners up to field telephones -- although it has certainly happened in the past. Nor am I in favor of taking the Argentine approach to interrogation, i.e., tossing one prisoner out of a chopper 10,000 feet above the South Atlantic and then posing the question to the second prisoner in the chopper.
Moreover, Lt. Col West's actions came nowhere close to anything that can be called torture. Aggressive? Obviously. Outside the box? Absolutely. But aren't those qualities precisely the qualities we want in our officers?
Because if I were a Soldier serving under West's command, I'd say HOOAH, Colonel, and follow him to hell. Why? Because Lt. Col. West demonstrated something that far too few of today's officers are willing to demonstrate to their men and women: loyalty DOWN the chain of command.
Lt. Col. West put his Soldiers' lives above his own career. That sort of behavior deserves to be praised and rewarded, not given eight years and a dishonorable discharge.
posted on 11/07/2003 2:57:45 PM PST
(God protect the 969th in Iraq and their Captain, my brother...God protect them all!)
Our armed forces need more men like Lt. Col West. The fact that his actions are even questioned reflects the US Army's feminization.
posted on 11/07/2003 3:09:01 PM PST
(Democrats soil the institutions they control)
What an outrage that brave soldiers are treated this way.
posted on 11/07/2003 3:25:48 PM PST
(I SUPPORT COLONEL WEST.)
FALLING ON ONES SWORD or not: A lesson in moral courage.
Having been charged with article 118 (capital murder, premeditated, sentence; Death or Life ONLY) and then offered a "deal" for pleading guilty to manslaughter (maximum sentence ten years confinement at hard labor dishonorable discharge, reduction in rank and forfeiture of all pay and allowances) and refusing this offer and refusing to make a statement, the powers that be decided on a trial by General Court-martial. Little did I know that it made no difference of my innocence to the charge.
My God, man, this is the United States Army. They would not fabricate evidence in order to obtain an unjust conviction for a crime not committed! Hold on there. The charge sheet does not say the Untied States Army vs Captain John McCarthy, it reads "The United States"! Now that's a pretty big outfit! Listen up Ltc. West!
The president of the court-martial board told me sixteen years later, in 1984, that if the Army thought me innocent of the crime, they would never have charged me in the first place, and he, as an officer of the court had his duty to convict, damn the evidence. What blew his mind was the recantation of the government's "expert" witness. The Verdict had been Guilty. Deliberation on sentencing lasted less than three minutes. Sentence: "To be confined at hard labor for the term of your natural life". No discharge, no forfeiture of pay and allowances and no reduction in rank. I drew full pay and allowances for 686 days in the military's penitentiary in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, equal distance to every border.
What's necessary here, Ltc West, is all the publicity you can muster and the finest CIVILIAN defense attorney available. The latter being the priority. DO IT NOW!
For the details, see: http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/hall/Mac.html http://www.geocities.com/larryjodaniel/23.html
This matter is so serious, it is difficult to put to words.
The deck is stacked. No matter the circumstance, once the wheels of justice are engaged re the UCMJ, they might just as well say, "Bring the guilty bastard in". DO NOT LET THIS MATTER PROCEED TO TRIAL!
My prayers to you and your family.
Chairman of The Board of VERPA
posted on 11/08/2003 3:30:41 PM PST
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