Prison for officer's effort to foil attack?


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Waitone
October 30, 2003, 06:10 PM
This one makes me mad enough to chew nails. How does it hit you???


http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=35345


Prison for officer's effort to foil attack?
Scared Iraqi into revealing details of plot but faces court martial

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Posted: October 30, 2003
12:45 p.m. Eastern



© 2003 WorldNetDaily.com

A U.S. army colonel who allegedly frightened an Iraqi into disclosing details of an impending attack by firing a pistol into the air near his head, faces up to eight years in prison on assault charges.

Army officials have given Lt. Col. Allen B. West of the Fourth Infantry Division a choice – a court martial or resign early, losing retirement benefits. The 19-year veteran says he will reach his 20-year retirement this Saturday.

The Army says West's aggressive interrogation method constitutes an assault under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

West's Army defenders say they are in an intense battle with Saddam Hussein loyalists in the Sunni Triangle near Tikrit where one false move could be their last.

The Aug. 21 incident came amid fears of an impending sniper attack on U.S. forces and reports of an assassination plot aimed at West, an artillery battalion commander.

West told the Washington Times in an e-mail he interrogated an Iraqi policeman who, according to an informer, was involved in attack on U.S. forces. Fearing a new attack, West said he took charge of the interrogation, determined to pry information from the policeman and warning his subordinates "it could get ugly."

"I did not want to expose my soldiers to a possible attack," he said in the e-mail.

West said two of his soldiers did "physically aggress" the policeman but failed to get any information. Finally, he threatened the Iraqi with his 9 mm pistol, firing twice.

"Once I fired into the weapons clearing barrel outside the facility alone, and the next time I did it while having his head close to the barrel," West wrote. "I stood in between the firing and his person. I admit that what I did was not right, but it was done with the concern of the safety of my soldiers and myself."

After informing his superior officer of the incident, West said he heard nothing more until a broader inquiry was launched by army chiefs, the Times said.

The Washington paper reported today West's friends and colleagues are rallying around him.

"He's getting a bum rap," retired Army Col. Mike Kryschtal told the Times.

"Al West is an outstanding officer," said Kryschtal, who served with West in South Korea in 1995 and 1996. "His actions were consistent with his selfless dedication to duty and the welfare of his soldiers. The fact that he reported this incident speaks to his integrity. He should be commended, not persecuted, for saving the lives of our soldiers."

Retired Army Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis, who recently visited 4th Infantry soldiers in a tour of Iraq, told the Times he suspects West has a lot of sympathy from fellow combatants and among families of soldiers in the U.S.

"The difficulty that the 4th ID faces is that the enemy is wearing civilian clothes and hiding behind women and children," he said. "So when you ask a battalion and company commanders to stop the violence against the Iraqi people and against soldiers, the pressure to use aggressive interrogation techniques seems to be reasonable."

In an e-mail to the Times yesterday, West said, "I really wanted to stay hidden but that is no longer possible. I am now at a critical decision point to resign. I cannot afford to be sent to jail and my daughters never see their daddy again. My family is all I have now."

Col. West's wife, Angela, who lives in Fort Hood, Texas, has retained an attorney in North Carolina.

"This is very distressing," she told the London Telegraph.

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R-Tex12
October 30, 2003, 07:55 PM
Yep, chewin' AND spittin' nails.:cuss:

Sure hope he can stick it out till Saturday and that he doesn't lose his retirement bennies.

R-Tex12

Redlg155
October 30, 2003, 09:20 PM
West said two of his soldiers did "physically aggress" the policeman but failed to get any information. Finally, he threatened the Iraqi with his 9 mm pistol, firing twice.

I'm taking "physically agress" to mean they beat the guy up.

"Once I fired into the weapons clearing barrel outside the facility alone, and the next time I did it while having his head close to the barrel," West wrote. "I stood in between the firing and his person.

That also sounds like creative writing as well. It's kinda hard to make the guy believe you are about to execute him if you don't make it as real as possible.

I'm kinda having mixed emotions on this one. It's hard to justify the strong handed tactics of the OIC in order to extract information. How would we feel of such tactics had this been an American Citizen in one of those Waco or Ruby Ridge type incidents? If you say..." But he's an Iraqi! " means you have missed my point. There may come a day when our own military is deployed against the citizens.

On the other hand..if you must, then keep your dirt in private. He was an idiot for reporting anything of that nature.

Should he go to prison? No. He should be allowed to retire.

Good Shooting
Red

semf
October 30, 2003, 09:36 PM
Yes he should retire. A man like this does not belong in today's Army.Somebody could get hurt with his recklessness.
Just because a person has murderuos intentions toward you and your countrymen during a wartime deployment brought on by members of his fraternity with their murder of 3000 innocent civilians and blind alligience to a sadistic dictator does not give you right to scare them or beat them up.
Proper procedure must be followed. If you cannot get them to freely admit to any plot, you must allow them to carry out said plot. As you are gurgling on your own blood looking down at the hole in your chest put there by one of their snipers rest assured that they will be apprehended and brought to trial.

Pilgrim
October 30, 2003, 09:50 PM
He can't be just let go. Too much bad press with the international community.

Give him a court martial consisting of infantry officers. The infantry officers find him guilty of the lesser offense of conduct unbecoming of an officer and sentence him to receive a letter of reprimand. The colonel continues to serve until he gets tired of it and retires when it is convenient to him.

Pilgrim

Moparmike
October 30, 2003, 10:13 PM
Sometimes the ends do justify the means. Usually, they dont.

If I found out that firing a gun next to a terrorist yeilded information that saved lives, then I dont really think I would shed any tears. I dont condone the practice, but I cant say that I blame the guy for wanting to save his men.

Now if someone subjected some 80yr old lady to anything but "the comfy chair" (dramatic music:p ;) ), I would have some serious issues with that person.:mad:

Waitone
October 30, 2003, 10:39 PM
There is no doubt in my tiny, uninformed mind that the US is using techniques, which if showed in public, would cause an outcry. We use physical discomfort. We use sleep deprivation (which is about as abusive as it gets). We turn captives over to other countries which are not hindered either culturally or by treaty to conduct interrogations. Some of those countries are renowned in their prowess in extracting information. We are the masters of psychological pressures. There is no limit to what we can do GIVEN SUFFICIENT TIME.

So now we have a guy blowing the whistle on himself. He was outted when the files were seen while investigating a totally unrelated incident. He was working against a time sensitive situation in an effort to do what he could to save lives of his men.

This think has the smell of a show trial. I would suspect a good defense attorney could really gum up the gov'ts case.

I think he ought to be fined $50 for unauthorized expenditure of ammunition, slapped on the wrist, and left along. Otherwise I think the government will end up going down a road it will wish it didn't.

Sven
October 30, 2003, 10:44 PM
I'm torn on this one.

NIGHTWATCH
October 30, 2003, 10:49 PM
The international image that is being discouraged here is that our armed forces are taking the place of saddam and his brutal tactics. We dont want that. On the other hand, the officers method was effective and saved lives. A script right out of NYPD BLUE. The man is a hero.

This is the problem when fighting a PC WAR. Thousands of bombs and many innocent lives lost, but this guy works over a thug and gets banged? :banghead:

Let our enemies know around the globe, send a message. Its not a script.

Dogsoldier
October 30, 2003, 10:57 PM
Bill O'Rielly is all over this. He has dedicated two segments over two days on this. He has stopped short of calling for a letter writing campaign. But his is hot as we all should be. I will bet the officer gets his article 32 hearing and the charges are dropped.

Honest to God, what is wrong with the people running things these days? Are or are we not at war? :banghead:

kentucky bucky
October 30, 2003, 10:58 PM
Give the man a promotion and a metal. I can't believe that political correctness is even affecting our troups even when they're in war. He used the appropriate amount of force to get the info in order to save lives......to get the job done. That bunch of pencil pushers would have got his men killed.:fire:

stevelyn
October 31, 2003, 10:29 AM
If this man is wrong for using the technique he used to extract information and short circuiting a terror plot directed at his troops and himself, then we need to also question and scrutinize the techniques being used at Gitmo on the Iraqi's allies.

Boats
October 31, 2003, 10:41 AM
No one would have batted an eye about this tactic in WWII or Korea. The sissification of the politicized military began in Vietnam and continues today I am afraid.:rolleyes:

Carlos Cabeza
October 31, 2003, 11:08 AM
The way I interpreted the article was "Job Well Done"

spartacus2002
November 1, 2003, 09:16 AM
THis is a great example of how a fine fighting force has become a bureaucratic, politicized public works project, full of touchy-feely PC crap and nonsense.

I know his attorney, Neal Puckett, and he's damn good.

This would have gotten ZERO mention in WWII or Korea.

Does anybody believe he would have actually SHOT the guy he was questioning? No, of course he wasn't going to. He was scaring the guy to save lives -- and it worked, according to the news stories. They caught some insurgents as a result of this IIRC and the anticipated daily ambush didn't happen.

Do you guys realize they have already relieved him of command? His career is in the toilet no matter what now...

Waitone
November 1, 2003, 09:25 AM
Looks like the officer decided to fight it out.

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=35384


Officer fights charges after protecting troops
Scared Iraqi into revealing plot, rejects offer to quit with no benefits

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted: November 1, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern



© 2003 WorldNetDaily.com

A U.S. army officer who allegedly frightened an Iraqi into disclosing details of an impending attack by firing a pistol into the air near his head has decided to face a trial on assault charges rather than resign.

Prosecutors gave Lt. Col. Allen B. West of the Army's Fourth Infantry Division a choice – a court martial or resign early, losing retirement benefits. The 19-year veteran is scheduled to reach his 20-year retirement today.

West told the Washington Times in an e-mail he was desperate to gain information to protect his soldiers who face almost daily attacks in their effort to impose security in Tikrit, where Saddam Hussein loyalists are fighting back.

"I have never denied what happened and have always been brutally honest," West said. "I accept responsibility for the episode, but my intent was to scare this individual and keep my soldiers out of a potential ambush. There were no further attacks from that town. We further apprehended two other conspirators (a third fled town) and found out one of the conspirators was the father of a man we had detained for his Saddam Fedeyeen affiliation."

The Iraqi West interrogated is a policeman. He said the man "and his accomplices were a threat to our soldiers and the method was not right, but why should I lose 20 years of service or be forced into prison for protecting my men?"

Attorney Neal Puckett, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, told the Times he will travel to Iraq next week to investigate the case then defend West at an investigative hearing Nov. 10 in Kirkuk.

If prosecutors present enough evidence of wrongdoing, West could be court-martialed and sentenced up to eight years in prison.

The staff judge advocate for the 4th Infantry Division has charged him under the Uniform Military Code with communicating a threat and aggravated assault.

The Aug. 21 incident came amid fears of an impending sniper attack on U.S. forces and reports of an assassination plot aimed at West, an artillery battalion commander.

In a previous e-mail to the Times, West said while interrogating the Iraqi policeman he "fired into the weapons clearing barrel outside the facility alone, and the next time I did it while having his head close to the barrel. I stood in between the firing and his person. I admit that what I did was not right, but it was done with the concern of the safety of my soldiers and myself."

After informing his superior officer of the incident, West said he heard nothing more until a broader inquiry was launched by army chiefs, the Times said.

If West were to take the option of quitting, he would lose more than $1 million in pay and health benefits over his life expectancy, the Washington paper said.

Puckett said West could choose a "nonjudicial punishment," allowing him to retire with benefits. He would have to appear before division commander Maj. Gen. Raymond Odierno, who likely is the one who approved the "quit or court-martial" offer, according to the attorney.

The Times said West has offered to resign at the lower rank of major so he can collect retirement benefits.

Military advocates argue West's difficult circumstances should be taken into account, noting the U.S. soldiers must adhere to strict standards as they fight terrorists who blend in to the populace with no regard for rules of warfare.

"Excuse me while I go to look up Marquis of Queensberry," Elaine Donnelly, head of the Center for Military Readiness told the Times."No wonder we haven't gotten any information on Hussein's present location from all of those 'deck of cards' people we have captured. Has the Army lost its institutional mind? Or maybe they have forgotten that a state of war exists in Iraq."

MicroBalrog
November 1, 2003, 01:23 PM
then we need to also question and scrutinize the techniques being used at Gitmo on the Iraqi's allies.


And we do.

Zip06
November 1, 2003, 02:34 PM
If LTC West draws a court of combat experienced officers he will walk. I would like to know who preferred the charges. I'll bet its some non combat leg officer. An officers duty is to do the best he can for his troops. West did.

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