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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Is this one of the Republicans who could defeat Obama in 2012?

Recently elected congressman for Florida's 22nd district, Allen West has a fascinating history.

According to Wikipedia:

West is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and obtained his master's degree in political science at Kansas State University. He also holds a Master of Military Arts and Sciences from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff Officer College in political theory and military history and operations.

West's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star; Meritorious Service Medal; (two Oak Leaf Clusters); Army Commendation Medal (two Oak Leaf Clusters, one Valor Device); Army Achievement Medal (one Oak Leaf Cluster); Valorous Unit Award; Air Assault Badge and the Parachutist Badge.

In addition, West has been awarded the following service medals and ribbons: National Defense Service Medal (with bronze star device); Southwest Asia Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; Army Overseas Service Ribbon (multiple awards); Saudi Arabia Kuwait Liberation Medal W/Palm Tree and Kuwait Liberation Medal.

What is particularly interesting about West is the way his military career ended:

While serving in Taji, Iraq, on August 20, 2003, as commander of the 2d Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel West was in charge of an interrogation of a civilian Iraqi police officer who was suspected of having pertinent information regarding attacks on American soldiers in the area. Interrogators had learned that the detainee had information about a planned ambush. When the interrogators were unable to extract the needed important information for some time, LTC West was asked to come try to obtain the important information. As the detainee continued to hold back the information, LTC West fired his pistol past the detainee's head into a clearing barrel, frightening (but not physically harming) the detainee and getting him to finally give the information. According to Lt. Col. West's sworn statement, the detainee informed West that:

“ [The attack] was to occur Friday morning in Saba al Boor vicinity of the police station by positioned snipers supposedly being brought in from Fallujah. [The detainee] was to ID my vehicle and myself for these rooftop firers. We took this information and the following day established flask CPs and used AH-64s overhead. There was no attack and no further attacks have emanated from the town since the apprehension of [the detainee] and his named associates. ”

At least one man was apprehended as a result of the information obtained through the detainee's interrogation. His home was searched, but no plans for attacks on Americans or weapons were found. Colonel West testified that he did not know whether "any corroboration" of a plot was ever found, adding: "At the time I had to base my decision on the intelligence I received. It's possible that I was wrong about [the detainee,] Mr. Hamoodi."

West, who at the time was just short of having 20 years of service, was charged with violating articles 128 (assault) and 134 (general article) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. West was processed through an Article 32 hearing in November 2003, where he admitted wrongdoing, was fined $5,000 over two months for misconduct and assault. He then submitted his resignation, and was allowed to retire with full benefits in the summer of 2004.

At a hearing, West was asked by his defense attorney if he would do it again. "If it's about the lives of my men and their safety, I'd go through hell with a gasoline can," he said. Apparently not knowing West's gun was aimed into a barrel, "Hamoodi cracked and gave information about the planned ambush on West's convoy, thwarting the attack." West said there were no further ambushes on U.S. forces in Taji until he was relieved of his leadership post on October 4." "After West's resignation was brought to public attention the next fall, he received over two thousand letters and e-mails from the American public offering him moral support. In addition, a letter was drafted to the Secretary of the Army, its signatories being ninety-five members of Congress in West's support.

This interview with Congressman-elect West is worth watching. In it, he makes the cogent point that the "War on Terror" is not only not over but the term itself is a misnomer. He accurately observes that terror is not an enemy, but a tactic and uses the example that World War 2 was not a war on "Blitzkrieg" but a war against fascism. The "War on Terror" is nothing other than a war on extremist Islam, even though few in the White House want to say that out loud.


h/t stubble jumping redneck

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