GOP’s West assaulted Iraqi, got retirement benefits

Lt. Colonel Allen West was the quickest retired military commander to take the microphone and state–with presumed authority–that Major Hasan proved that Muslims have “infiltrated our military“. West commanded an Army battalion in Iraq, leading people to believe he speaks from experience. Perhaps, though, West just speaks from hate.

During his period of command in Iraq, Allen West was charged with assaulting an Iraqi suspect during an interrogation. (West backs up his rhetoric with violence.) He faced eleven years in prison and a dishonorable discharge. And, yes, he was guilty. (Details after the jump.)

While serving in Taji, Iraq on August 20, 2003 as commander of the 2d Battalion 20th Field Artillery, 4th Infantry Division, Lieutenant Colonel West was in charge of the interrogation of an Iraqi police officer who was suspected of having information about planned attacks on American forces. According to the Iraqi police officer, Yehiya Kadoori Hamoodi claimed that during the interrogation, soldiers under West’s supervision assaulted him attempting to get him to talk.

A polite way to say that soldiers beat the crap out of him, and when that still didn’t work–it’s hard to give information you don’t have–West came in and threatened to kill him. He was beaten again, then West had his soldiers shove his head down a cannon, and West shot his 9mm next to the cannon.

The police officer insisted that he did not know anything about planned attacks and was loyal to the United States Army. However, when the detainee didn’t talk, Lieutenant Colonel West fired his 9mm pistol close to the man’s head and at this point, the man gave information about a planned ambush, resulting in its being thwarted. According to West, there were no further ambushes on U.S. forces in Taji until he was relieved of command on October 4, 2003.

Hamoodi started talking…he started singing. He gave those soldiers every name he could think of. And after everyone he named was rounded up, and roughed up, it turned out Hamoodi didn’t know anything–and neither did anyone else. Hamoodi was held prisoner however, for 45 days–which corresponds, exactly, to the date when some of West’s troops got fed up with the man’s Mafia tactics and turned him in.

About Mr. Hamoodi (who suffers from pretty extreme PTSD), West just says,

It’s possible I was wrong about Mr Hamoodi.”

No big deal, right? What’s a little torture between allies? With friends like this…

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, and was in danger of receiving an 11 year prison sentence, dishonorable discharge and losing his retirement benefits. 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. [Emphasis mine.]

Assault. Facing eleven years in prison. Facing dishonorable discharge and all those crucial retirement benefits. Admitted to misconduct and assault. Allowed to retire with full benefits.

Leaving what that says about our military command behind for now, what part of assault don’t people understand? What part of justice did the higher-ups miss? Evidently the part about the punishment fitting the crime.

In fact, some people call him a “hero”. No wonder so many Iraqis don’t trust us–would you?

Dishonorable discharge? Well, that screws you over for life. Usually reserved for first-term fuck-ups, a light colonel would definitely find their life considerably degraded. No security clearance. No good job. That “dis” in front of honorable kills your prospects. And he probably wouldn’t have a chance in hell of becoming a U.S. Congressman.

So he admitted to assaulting the guy. But by then, he’d been in over twenty years, so, hey, why not let the guy retire? It’s not like he made a habit of assaulting Iraqis, or encouraged his troops to beat suspects. (Oh, wait…)

Confession is not only good for the soul, it’s not too bad on the pocketbook. Full benefits is a pretty sweet sentence. (The $5,000 fine? That’s not even a month’s pay.) West gets everything, Hamoodi loses everything. Something is wrong here.

Allen West makes our veterans look bad–except to the GOP. They like him. Republican West is currently running for Congress, as one of the GOP’s Young Guns. Ironic, isn’t it?

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