Friday, June 24

COL. TED WESTHUSING A SUICIDE?

Some bloggers have concluded that the cause of death for Col. Ted Westhusing was suicide. Also see here.

I thought I picked up some early hints that this might be the case and posted my thoughts here and here. I still hope that conclusion will be proved wrong, because it is too disheartening to think of his wife and three young children emotionally wrestling with that choice for years to come. But if true, considering Col. Westhusing's heroic and admirable life and character, it would certainly paint an ugly and despairing picture of the situation in Iraq, that it could so drain the very hope of a man like Col. Ted that he saw no alternative but to take his own life.

I'll be praying for his family. Please join me.

40 Comments:

Blogger Robert Lindsay said...

Very nice post, Motherlode. It's so hard to write about this subject and still remain tactful. You are doing it well, and I hope I am. If you follow the Bellacio link (someone else posted it - I don't post my stuff around) you will see that Ted's father (also a Colonel!) left a long message indicating how Ted had too much optimism, too much to live for, too many achievements, too much religion, was looking forward to coming home soon, etc. It all adds up to an interesting argument against suicide.

But isn't this so often the case with suicide, the ultimate enigma? The low rates amongst US Blacks and in the Nazi death camps, the high rates amongst the most highly-paid professionals? How many times have we read about a suicide that they were happy with life, looking forward to things, upbeat, had many projects going, and could not possibly have done it. And yet they did.

I originally thought you kind of jumped the gun on this case, but finally, by the other day, I concluded that you were right all along. Must be female intuion.

Two real clinchers:

"It doesn't mean there is anything criminally suspected here," said Martha Rudd, the Army spokeswoman. Ok, no homicide, no fragging, no guerrilla attack, no double-cross. One down.

That leaves accident and suicide.

Barbara Starr: "If it comes to it, they will conduct what they call a psychological autopsy... That is the standard procedure in all of these cases."

In all of *these* cases? Do they do a "psychological autopsy" in case of an accidental death?! I do not think so.

Which leaves us with the default of you know what.

I do think maybe our culture is a bit too hung up guilt on suicide. I don't want to promote suicide, but it needn't shame an individual nor his family nor society forever more. It shouldn't really have to be something the suicide's kids "wrestle with". But it is. When it comes down to it, which weighs about a million pounds more on the triple beam? Ted's incredibly exemplary first 44 years of his life, in which he was a living example of what we all should be like (until the last five minutes or so)? Or the last five minutes of his life, in which he made, in my opinion, a profoundly bad decision? Why does five minutes cancel out 44 years? Excuse me, I think that is really stupid!

12:54 AM  
Blogger Motherlode said...

Robert, you've done a simply amazing job with this sensitive story. As a member of a large multi-generational military family myself, and the aunt and cousin of suicides, let me just say that when I spoke of the family "wrestling" with Col. Westhusing's alleged suicide, I was attaching no shame to the act. I watched dear ones of my own who lost a child to suicide grieve for what they viewed as their own lack of understanding and failure to act, and to this day they struggle with the idea that if their love had been greater, their sons would not have left them.

The families of suicide victims (and yes, in most cases I consider them victims -- of despair, hopelessness) characteristically reexamine every aspect of the suicide's life, wondering, "What did we do wrong?" It's a side effect of love lost, a feeling of abandonment, along with grief, anger (even at the victim) and bewilderment.

It's ironic, but over-achievers and self-critical perfectionists have a higher risk factor for suicide than the general population. Col. Westhusing, by all accounts, definitely qualified. Perhaps the very nature that made him such an exemplary human being also drove him to despair at his inability to make the difference he so wanted to make in the mess we call Operation Iraqi Freedom. For the intention, he should be honored. For the failure, he cannot be blamed.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ted had received threatening letters/notes the week he died, coincidentally his body guard also went on R&R the week he was killed and Ted feared greatly for his life and said he thought wouldn't get home alive. He had already let go some contractors that weren't happy and was about to expose major corruption with the Iraque police they were training which he found out that some of them were insurgents or had links with them, giving info to the enemy and using their skills against the Iraqi people and the army was turning a blind eye to this. He was about to expose a major piece of this treachery and corruption and when it got known he was going to speak out, he was killed. Millions of dollars are transfered with the contractors and not all of it is on the up and up or accounted for. Insurgents in the police forces are using their american training/weapons against us and the Iraque people.Ted was shot behind the head in execution style. There were also indications he was drugged the final days and that he was killed when he was asleep/drugged and body found by contractors who had direct access to him, that was very unusual.
deep throat | 08.18.05 - 10:50 am | #

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Ted had received threatening letters/notes the week he died, coincidentally his body guard also went on R&R the week he was killed and Ted feared greatly for his life and said he thought wouldn't get home alive. He had already let go some contractors that weren't happy and was about to expose major corruption with the Iraque police they were training which he found out that some of them were insurgents or had links with them, giving info to the enemy and using their skills against the Iraqi people and the army was turning a blind eye to this. He was about to expose a major piece of this treachery and corruption and when it got known he was going to speak out, he was killed. Millions of dollars are transfered with the contractors and not all of it is on the up and up or accounted for. Insurgents in the police forces are using their american training/weapons against us and the Iraque people.Ted was shot behind the head in execution style. There were also indications he was drugged the final days and that he was killed when he was asleep/drugged and body found by contractors who had direct access to him, that was very unusual.
deep throat | 08.18.05 - 10:50 am | #
deep throat | 08.18.05 - 4:58 pm | #

4:08 PM  
Blogger DEEP said...

The truth will become known and it will represent the good, and will renew man's faith in himself

4:10 PM  
Blogger Motherlode said...

Hey Deep, what's the source of your information?

11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

contractors and army personel who worked with Ted at Dublin in Baghdad, we have a separate investigation going on.

deep

9:18 AM  
Anonymous deep said...

this is why after three months the army is saying nothing, not even to the family, but the personel involved over there are incensed by the injustice done to such a fine man that meant so well and worked so hard to better things there........that is why we have such a large group involved with plenty of intelligence, to find out some very interesting facts.

9:27 AM  
Anonymous deep said...

They (the ones who threatened him) feared if Ted got home to the US, he had a month to go before he was to leave Iraq), he would tell all in an open forum at West Point were honor, virtue and what is right is supported and upheld, Knowing this, they planned, and threatened him and got him before he could leave. Most of his support staff had left to other rolls a week before he was killed. Also could be conscrewed as a kind of setup. You think? Suicide my a..

9:39 AM  
Anonymous deep said...

One more point, needs to be made, I find it ironic that the Army spokesperson Rudd, who spoke early even before a full investigation was begun(makes you think they already had their gameplan in place) whom you quoted, doesn't consider a threatening letter, evidence or indication of a possible homicide when it has been entered into invidence. And that is just a drop in the bucket as to what has been gathered. In the US you gather evidence first and then draw conclusions, in the army is just the opposite (I wonder why....)

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does Tillman ring a bell........ding.ding.dong, no the army never jumps to conclusions, changes their story, alter the facts.......Ted

10:35 AM  
Anonymous fight for ted's vision said...

the accused, try to cover up...the innocent try to prove........

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Americans get with it before its too late said...

Hey how about those weapons of mass destruction..............

10:41 AM  
Anonymous larry rosen said...

i know that your bush cannot spell but it seems a bit suspicious when w.m.d realy spells o.i.l

6:19 AM  
Anonymous larry rosen said...

i know that your bush cannot spell but it seems a bit suspicious when w.m.d realy spells o.i.l

6:19 AM  
Anonymous Hayden said...

I'm not a professional handwriting expert but have some experience, especially with Oswald.
I'd like to see a copy of Ted Westhusin's suicide note, if possible. Has anyone seen it? Obviously it would be important to have a decent example of his known handwriting.
I can be reached at knox101@vip.cybercity.dk

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been concerned for several years that private corperations and contractors need private armies to do business for our military. These private forces do jobs that used to be done by our military, and they get paid ten times more than a regular US soldier does. Conservatives and Liberals need to come together on this one. We can not let private business steal the honor and the life of another great American.

My father left his arm on the battlefield for this countries honor and freedoms and I believe that Col. Westhusing gave his life trying to protect or grieving the loss of those values.

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was very disturbed to hear of Mr. Westhusing's death having been ruled as suicide. My heart goes out to his family and friends who, I'm sure, know the painful truth.

I never had the privilege of having met Mr. Westhusing, but what I've read of him suggests to me that he was a man with great integrity--something that is sadly missing in our current government. Although I do not know them, my heart goes out to his friends and family. I am sure that a man with such honor and integrity will be sorely missed by many and for a long, long time.

People do not commit suicide unless severe conditions are present. Suicide is an act of murder, a violent act committed against one's self. It is an act that ordinary people do not commit under ordinary circumstances. It is not even an act that ALL people who are suffering from depression commit. Though depression is usually present, there are other factors which push a person toward suicide. We all have a natural instinct toward self-preservation. Suicide is truly an unnatural act that does not occur because someone is simply disappointed or unhappy or frustrated by something they don't like.

In order for someone to commit suicide, he must be either suffering from a severe mental illness or enduring a severely painful and hopeless situation and lacking the emotional/spiritual resources for dealing with that.

Mr. Westhusing does not fit the criteria of a suicide victim. Successful, happy people who are healthy mentally, physically and spiritually, who've developed the self-discipline resulting from years of military service, have the religious conviction of Christianity, which, by the way, teaches that suicide is wrong, who have supportive, loving families to come home to, AND who are well educated do not typically commit suicide. There is no reason to believe that Mr. Westhusing committed suicide. The fact that he was unhappy with unethical conditions occuring in Iraq would have been more reason for such an honorable man to want to live and to fight for what he believed in. I'm really shocked that intelligent people are believing this propaganda suggesting that Westhusing committed suicide.

Listen, organized criminals often cover up their murders by
making them appear to be suicides. During the Reagan administration, for example, a writer planned to expose involvement on the part of the CIA, some major corporations and government officials in the Iran-Contra affair. He had evidence that would have led to an indictment of many but was found dead shortly before he was able to get his book published. Before he died, he had warned his friends and family that he had been receiving death threats and that if something happened to him, he asked that they know that his life was being threatened so that they would not believe any ruling to the contrary. Shortly after a newspaper published an article about this, they published another statement apologizing for the article, stating that the writer's cause of death was suicide and that they were sorry about having published an article suggesting the contrary. Apparently the newspaper had received some sort of threat which prevented them from publishing any more articles about this poor man. In fact, the man had, as I recall, died from several stab wounds so it was unlikely that he could have killed himself that way. You don't need to be a detective or a psychologist to see that the writer's death as well as Mr. Westhusing's were not caused by suicide.

Something very frightening is happening in this country right now. We need to be concerned, we need to stop watching TV and start thinking, and we need to stop believing propaganda.

5:30 PM  
Blogger Diogenes said...

Col Ted Westhusing was most likely murdered. He was a devout Catholic and had been since his youth. I am under the strong impression that Catholic (and fundamentalist Christian, and probably most non-fundamentalist Christian) doctrine holds that suicide is a mortal sin, the usurping of a power God covets for his/her/it's self. With Westhusings particular education, military specialty and background, it would not be like him at all to ignore this central philosophical/doctrinal point to glibly choose to kill himself in the face of the situation he was in - or, likely, any situation. The actions of the "manager" who "found" his body are most suspicioius. Even if Westhusing did take his life, which I find unlikely in the extreme, the situation surrounding his death point up the utter corruption of our military and our society. We're in big trouble.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Diogenes said...

Col Ted Westhusing was most likely murdered. He was a devout Catholic and had been since his youth. I am under the strong impression that Catholic (and fundamentalist Christian, and probably most non-fundamentalist Christian) doctrine holds that suicide is a mortal sin, the usurping of a power God covets for his/her/it's self. With Westhusings particular education, military specialty and background, it would not be like him at all to ignore this central philosophical/doctrinal point to glibly choose to kill himself in the face of the situation he was in - or, likely, any situation. The actions of the "manager" who "found" his body are most suspicioius. Even if Westhusing did take his life, which I find unlikely in the extreme, the situation surrounding his death point up the utter corruption of our military and our society. We're in big trouble.

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

also, there were a pair of surgical gloves in his room on a table according to the forensic report, the gun was at his feet, the door was locked when the contractor i.e., manager first came there and unlocked when he went back in after seeing Ted on the floor, this person, also unchambered the gun and threw it on the bed (by the way, this contractor), wasn't checked for residue or interoggated, there was an argument reported in Ted's trailer (by the person living next door) before his time of death and additional coverup. USIS? Contrators? Getting rid of...he was in the fox's den. Ted's note had three pages missing and was about these major issues not him/suicide and were torn from a notebook on his bed.,....you tell me. I know......

5:34 PM  
Blogger handmaid said...

Huh? Surely you don't believe a deeply religious, CATHOLIC, father of 3, incredibly successful (overachiever, yes but a success, nonetheless) ethical man who was seeing the true picture in Iraq and would be returning to America in 30 days, where he anticipated sharing what he had learned-read whistleblower-committed SUICIDE? No, suicide is rarely COMPLETELY unforseen. That is a myth. Factor in Col. Westhusing's education and psychological "tools" available to him , it is highly unlikely.

In this case, as well as another highly esteemed, well adjusted British career officer's alleged suicide, it stinks like the 3 month old corpses we're still finding in my beloved New Orleans.

Capt. Ken Masters supposedly ate his gun. He is responsible for watchdogging abuses in POW camps. hmmmmm...

Same drill, successful career 25 years, 2 small children, supportive career officer wife.

Highly unlikely. Given the devastation American business has inflicted on the majority of her citizens in the name of pure capitalism run amok, a few mouths silenced in the chaos of Iraq is insignificant...to the thugs running the asylum.

11:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It really amazes me and I think we are a declining country/empire? much like the roman empire, when a person like Howard Stern who has girls strip and all his kinky stuff, and all his juvenile, bathroom humor now gets a half bil and Colonel Ted made 50k? to try to right the world or at least stand up for something good and decent and work to protect the average American and make our world a better place. My country makes me sick and disgusted. Pay your 12.50 to satellite radio for that cr.. and prepare to pay more to meet your maker some day. God bless you Ted. You had the courage and ethics we all want to emulate and strive for, both for ourselves and our children, our country. Thank god we have a few that take the rightious road.

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

January 23, 2006 -- More details emerge on Col. Ted Westhusing's "suiciding" in Iraq. Days before his supposed suicide by a "self-inflicted" gunshot wound in a Camp Dublin, Iraq trailer, West Point Honor Board member and Iraqi police and security forces trainer Col. Ted Westhusing reported in e-mail to the United States that "terrible things were going on Iraq." He also said he hoped he would make it back to the United States alive. Westhusing had three weeks left on his tour of duty in Iraq when he allegedly shot himself in June 2005.

It is noteworthy that after Westhusing's death, two top Army generals, both responsible for training Iraqi forces, General Dave Petraeus, the Commander of the Multi National Security Transition Command Iraq (MNSTCI), and Maj. Gen. Joseph Fil, the Commander of the 1st Cavalry Division, were quickly transferred without much fanfare to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and Fort Hood, Texas, respectively.



U.S. Army cover-up of Colonel Westhusing's death: Highlighted by fabricated evidence and quick transfers of senior officers

Informed sources report that Westhusing was prepared to blow the whistle on fraud involving US Investigations Services (USIS), a Carlyle Group company, when he died. [See Jan. 14 story below]. He had also discovered links between USIS principals and clandestine events involving the Iran-Contra scandal of the Reagan-Bush I administrations. Westhusing has also linked USIS to the illegal killing and torture of Iraqis. USIS personnel whom Westhusing was investigating had the keys to his trailer. In addition, Westhusing's personal bodyguard was given a leave of absence shortly before the colonel's death.

The U.S. Army's official report on Westhusing's death contained a number of falsehoods, according to those close to the case. Most importantly, the Army report stated that Westhusing had electronically communicated an interest in obtaining hollow point bullets. The bullet which killed Westhusing was a hollow point. However, the Army's statement was false, according to an informed source. In addition, the Army combed Westhusing's service record and interviewed a number of colleagues in order to concoct a story that would make suicide appear plausible.

California Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer is reportedly trying to get the Senate to investigate Westhusing's death. However, with the Republicans in firm control, it appears that murder of senior U.S. military officers is also something the GOP is more than willing to cover up.


Please contact your local congressman or woman or senator and press them to investigate Colonel Ted's death. He represents the good in us all.
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6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

January 14, 2006 -- Serious questions remain concerning Col. Westhusing's "suicide" in Iraq. Army's chief ethics expert was murdered, according to Carlyle Group insider.

According an informed source within The Carlyle Group business consortium, Col. Ted Westhusing, the Army's top military ethicist and professor at West Point, did not commit suicide in a Baghdad trailer in June 2005 as was widely reported in the mainstream media five months later. At the time of his death, Westhusing was investigating contract violations and human rights abuses by US Investigations Services (USIS), formerly a federal agency, the Office of Federal Investigations (OFI), which operated under the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

In 1996, OFI, which conducted background investigations for civil service personnel, was privatized. The 700 government employees of OFI became employee-owners as part of USIS. In January 2003, the New York investment firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson, and Stowe, described by a Carlyle insider as a virtual shadow operation for The Carlyle Group, bought USIS for $545 million. With 5000 current and former employees of USIS sharing $500 million, the deal made them wealthy with the stroke of a pen. However, upper management within USIS became much wealthier than the rank-and-file. Insiders report that the twelve top managers at USIS became multimillionaires as a result of their cashing in of their Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). Many of these instant millionaires already had a close relationship with The Carlyle Group.

Carlyle had been a shareholder in USIS since 1999 and with the buy-out deal via the Welsh, Carson, Anderson, and Stowe deal, Carlyle became the major shareholder.

USIS continues to have a virtual exclusivity deal to perform background security investigations for OPM. The company bills itself as "one of the largest Intelligence and Security Services companies in North America.”

With the Iraq invasion, USIS obtained lucrative Pentagon private security contracts in Iraq. At a 2004 job fair in Falls Church, Virginia, USIS was advertising for "interrogators" and "protection specialists" for "overseas assignments." While he was in Iraq training Iraqi police and overseeing the USIS contract to train police as part of the Pentagon's Civilian Police Assistance Training Team, Westhusing received an anonymous letter that reported USIS's Private Services Division (PSD) was engaged in fraudulent activities in Iraq, including over-billing the government. In addition, the letter reported that USIS security personnel had murdered innocent Iraqis. After demanding answers from USIS, Westhusing reported the problems up the chain of command. After an "investigation," the Army found no evidence of wrongdoing by USIS.

That decision signed Col. Westhusing's death sentence. USIS and Carlyle have powerful allies in the administration, including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the Princeton roommate of Carlyle Chairman Emeritus and former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci. Former President George H. W. Bush, former Secretary of State James Baker, and former British Prime Minister John Major are Carlyle international advisers. George W. Bush was formerly employed by a Carlyle subsidiary and the Bin Laden business cartel was a one-time investor in the firm.

Westhusing, who, according to friends and colleagues, showed no signs of depression, left a suicide note the Army concluded was in his handwriting. However, Westhusing's family and friends have thrown cold water on the Army's investigation.



Col. Ted Westhusing: Chalk up another victim of the Bush crime family

WMR can report that based on information obtained from Carlyle insiders, Col. Westhusing's death was not caused by suicide. The fact that Westhusing was investigating one of the most politically and financially powerful firms in the world resulted in higher-ups wanting him out of the way. According to the Los Angeles Times, all of the witnesses who claimed Westhusing shot himself were USIS employees. In addition, a USIS manager interfered with the crime scene, including handling Westhusing's service revolver. The USIS manager was not tested for gunpowder residue on his hands.

Westhusing's investigation threatened to unearth a network of fraudsters looting the US Treasury that included the Bush family and some of their closest financial partners. After Westhusing's murder, USIS management sent a vaguely-worded memo to employees about how to respond to derogatory information in the media or rumors about USIS. Management's attention, described as "psychotic" in nature, was on USIS's upcoming IPO (initial public offering), according to a well-placed source.

USIS also owns Total Information Services of Tulsa, Oklahoma, a commercial personal data mining operation.

6:22 PM  
Anonymous anonymous II said...

Having extensively studied the Iran-Contra affair, as well as other peculiarities of corporate foreign policy disguised as US policy, I predict Barbara Boxer will get nowhere with any investigation into Westhusing's death. This is because Governor Clinton was up to his "nose" in Iran-Contra along with Vice President and President Bush I during those years. This has been well documented, yet never openly discussed on Television or in any major periodicals that I am aware of.

Any attempts by Barbara Boxer are most likely tokens that will soon be forgotten by a bipartisan alliance that has existed for decades. If anyone really believes our Senators and Congressman are really in there for the common good of their constituents, I will refer you to a general study of US History and the effects of corporate financing on our legislative and executive branches. There is so much I would like to say about this. Do your own research from reliable sources. The likelihood of this guy committing suicide is very nil, especially if he was aware of USIS irregularities with Iran-Contra and now Iraqi abuses and DOD money accountability.

5:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Private contractors like private companies don't have to report the facts or be held accountable in public. The contractors in Iraq are doing the dirty work to let our government and the army off the hook. They took care of Colonel Westhusing........What I can't believe, is that the general public, as far as the Colonel is concerned, doesn't step forward to demand an answer to this great man's death. What has happened to America?

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The apparent suicide of Col. Ted Westhusing, as reported in the Los Angeles Times, resonates with loss, tragedy, and meaning. He was a professional ethicist, specializing in the concept of a soldier's honor, who was assigned to supervise a civilian military contractor in Iraq. Col. Westhusing saw everything he believed in trashed by civilian leadership that understood neither ethics nor honor, under a Republican government that disrespects and mistreats its military.

Sound like a facile interpretation? Then listen to the facts.

Westhusing, reports the Times, "was one of the Army's leading scholars of military ethics ... His dissertation (for a Ph.D. in philosophy) was an extended meditation on the meaning of honor." Once in Iraq, Westhusing received an anonymous complaint that the contractor he oversaw, USIS, had been cheating the government - and that it concealed gross human rights violations to protect its contracts.

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is one casualty I hope Army CID looks into, and closely. My gut feeling is, a real investigation would turn over a rock -- beneath which are unsavory truths about security 'contractors' in Iraq ... who hires them, who pays them, and the fact that they can get away with murder. Just murder

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This is Ted's oldest brother. There is no intention here to advertise this book as a motive for profit, only for truth and justice for Ted and what he stood for, fought for. We, as a family, donot profit from it, but it is a book that will bring more information to light on Ted's inexplicable and tragic death and open many more questions and issues that will hopefully stimulate more interest in why he died and why it should be further investigated. And your interest, as US citizens, in seeing justice done. The title is "Blood Money" and it is a book by by LA Times Special Investigator T. Christian Miller (who wrote in the LA Times, front page, on Ted's death previously) and should be a summer blockbluster by the information it reveals. You can already find some general reviews on book websites but it won't be released until Aug 29th. Thanks.

God bless you Ted, I am so very proud of you and all you stood for. Its ironic, I am you older brother, but I always wanted to be like you, live so much like you.....I looked up to you and your values. You will never, ever be forgotten. What you stood for and what happended to you will be revealed....by all the good, caring people of this country you stood up for and care for you.......
twesthu@us.ibm.com"
Tim Westhusingh of Broken Arrow, OK.

8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Colonel Ted Westhusing, why he died.







From the Los Angeles Times
Police Abuses in Iraq Detailed
Confidential documents cover more than 400 investigations. Brutality, bribery and cooperation with militia fighters are common, a report says.
By Solomon Moore
Times Staff Writer

July 9, 2006

BAGHDAD — Brutality and corruption are rampant in Iraq's police force, with abuses including the rape of female prisoners, the release of terrorism suspects in exchange for bribes, assassinations of police officers and participation in insurgent bombings, according to confidential Iraqi government documents detailing more than 400 police corruption investigations.

A recent assessment by State Department police training contractors echoes the investigative documents, concluding that strong paramilitary and insurgent influences within the force and endemic corruption have undermined public confidence in the government.

Officers also have beaten prisoners to death, been involved in kidnapping rings, sold thousands of stolen and forged Iraqi passports and passed along vital information to insurgents, the Iraqi documents allege.

The documents, which cover part of 2005 and 2006, were obtained by The Times and authenticated by current and former police officials.

The alleged offenses span dozens of police units and hundreds of officers, including beat cops, generals and police chiefs. Officers were punished in some instances, but the vast majority of cases are either under investigation or were dropped because of lack of evidence or witness testimony.

The investigative documents are the latest in a string of disturbing revelations of abuse and corruption by Iraq's Interior Ministry, a Cabinet-level agency that employs 268,610 police, immigration, facilities security and dignitary protection officers.

After the discovery in November of a secret Interior Ministry detention facility in Baghdad operated by police intelligence officials affiliated with a Shiite Muslim militia, U.S. officials declared 2006 "the year of the police." They vowed a renewed effort to expand and professionalize Iraq's civilian officer corps.

President Bush has said that the training of a competent Iraqi police force is linked to the timing of an eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops and a key element in the war in Iraq.

But U.S. officials say the renegade force in the ministry's intelligence service that ran the bunker in Baghdad's Jadiriya neighborhood continues to operate out of the Interior Ministry building's seventh floor. A senior U.S. military official in Iraq, who spoke on condition of anonymity in an interview last month, confirmed that one of the leaders of the renegade group, Mahmoud Waeli, is the "minister of intelligence for the Badr Corps" Shiite militia and a main recruiter of paramilitary elements for Interior Ministry police forces.

"We're gradually working the process to take them out of the equation," the military official said. "We developed the information. We also developed a prosecutorial case."

Bayan Jabr, a prominent Shiite, was interior minister at the time of the investigations detailed in the documents and has been accused of allowing Shiite paramilitary fighters to run rampant in the security forces.

U.S. officials interviewed for this article said the ability of Jabr's replacement, Jawad Bolani, to deal with the corruption and militia influence in the police force will be a crucial test of his leadership.

The challenges facing Bolani, a Shiite engineer who has no policing experience and entered politics for the first time after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, are highlighted in a recent assessment by police trainers hired by the State Department. According to the report, corruption in the Interior Ministry has hampered its effectiveness and its credibility with Iraqis.

"Despite great progress and genuine commitment on the part of many ministry officials, the current climate of corruption, human rights violations and sectarian violence found in Iraq's security forces undermines public confidence," according to the document, titled "Year of the Police In-Stride Assessment, October 2005 to May 2006."

Elements of the Ministry of the Interior, or MOI, "have been co-opted by insurgents, terrorists and sectarian militias. Payroll fraud, other kinds of corruption and intimidation campaigns by insurgent and militia organizations undermine police effectiveness in key cities throughout Iraq," the report says.

The report increased tensions between the Pentagon, which runs the police training program, and the State Department, which has been pushing to expand its limited training role in Iraq, said a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The report strikes contradictory tones, saying that the Interior Ministry continues to improve and that its forces are on track to take over civil security from U.S. and Iraqi military elements by the end of the year, while outlining shocking problems with corruption and abuse.

"The document basically shows that Interior Ministry management has failed," the U.S. official said. "The document didn't directly address U.S. policy failures, but I guess it does show that too."

Interior Ministry officials have taken steps to "improve detainee life," the report says. "However, there are elements within the MOI which continue to abuse detainees."

Referring to Sunni Arab insurgent groups and Shiite paramilitary organizations, the report says "these groups exploit MOI forces to further insurgent, party and sectarian goals. As a result, many Iraqis do not trust the police. Divisions falling along militia lines have led to violence among police.

"MOI officials and forces are widely reported to engage in bribery, extortion and theft," the report says. "For example, there are numerous credible reports of ministry and police officials requiring payment from would-be recruits to join the police."

The report's findings are borne out in hundreds of pages of internal investigative documents.

The documents include worksheets with hundreds of short summaries of alleged police crimes, letters referring accused officers to Iraq's anti-corruption agencies and courts, citizen complaints of police abuse and corruption, police inspector general summaries detailing financial crimes and fraudulent contracting practices and reports on alleged sympathizers of Saddam Hussein's former regime.

In crisp bureaucratic Arabic, the documents detail a police force in which abuse and death at the hands of policemen is frighteningly common.

Police officers' loyalties appear to be a major problem, with dozens of accounts of insurgent infiltration and terrorist acts committed by ministry officials.

In one case, a ring of Baghdad police officers — including a colonel, two lieutenants and a captain — were accused of stealing communications equipment for insurgents, who used the electronics for remote bomb triggers. In another case, a medic with the Interior Ministry's elite commando force in Baghdad was fired after he was accused of planting improvised explosives and conducting assassinations.

In Diyala province, where last month U.S. forces killed Abu Musab Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, investigators were looking into allegations that a police officer detonated a suicide vest in the bombing of a police station. In a separate case, a brigadier general, a colonel and a criminal judge were accused of taking bribes from a suspected terrorist.

Police officers have also organized kidnapping rings that abduct civilians for ransom — in some of the cases, the victims are police officers. Two Baghdad police commanders kidnapped a lieutenant colonel, stole his ministry car and demanded tens of thousands of dollars from the victim's family, the documents allege. In that case, the two accused, Maj. Gen. Naief Abdul Ezaq and Capt. Methaq Sebah Mahmoud, were fired and taken to court.

The abbreviated notes on the case do not make clear whether the two officers received further punishment, but the fact that the documents mention the courts being involved in the incident at all makes it stand out from the rest of the cases.

In another case, the bodyguards of a police colonel in the Zayona neighborhood of Baghdad kidnapped merchants for ransom, according to the documents. In the capital's Ghazaliya neighborhood, a lieutenant and his brother-in-law kidnapped a man and demanded a huge ransom from his family.

Abuse by police is also a common theme. The victims include citizens who tried to complain about police misbehavior, drivers who disobeyed traffic police commands and, in several cases, other police officers.

But detainees appear to be targeted most often. The U.S. military has been working with the Iraqi government to standardize detention facilities and policies, and the U.S. assessment claims that several site visits turned up no serious human rights abuses. But the ministry documents reveal a brutal detention system in which officers run hidden jails, and torture and detainee deaths are common.

The documents mention four investigations into the deaths of 15 prisoners at the hands police commando units.

In the Rusafa section of Baghdad, a predominantly Shiite area known for its strong militia presence, police tortured detainees with electricity, beatings and, in at least one case, rape, according to the internal documents. Relief was reserved for those detainees whose relatives could afford to bribe detention officers to release them.

The Wolf Brigade, a notorious commando unit, illegally detained more than 650 prisoners, according to the documents. During a mass release of Wolf Brigade prisoners last November, a Times reporter saw dozens of malnourished men among the released detainees; several were so weak that they could not walk without assistance.

Female detainees are often sexually assaulted. According to the documents, the commander of a detention center in the Karkh neighborhood of the capital raped a woman who was an alleged insurgent in August. That same month, two lieutenants tortured and raped two other female detainees.

Among the strongest reprimands — and the most outrageous corruption — detailed in the documents are the cases involving two provincial police chiefs who were removed.



Brig. Gen. Adil Molan Ghaidan, the former Diyala province police chief, was accused of drinking on the job, illegally confiscating real estate from citizens, knowingly paying ghost employees and harboring suspected terrorists. He was removed from the force about six months ago, police sources say.

Before his removal several months ago, Maj. Gen. Ahmad Mohammed Aljiboori, the former Nineveh province police chief, allegedly assigned a private army of 1,400 officers to personal security detail. According to an internal inquiry, Aljiboori claimed the force was not under the Interior Ministry's control.

The document also accuses Aljiboori of detaining 300 Iraqis for two months without charges, wasting thousands of dollars on extravagant banquets and neglecting antiterrorism efforts to focus on arresting car dealers. The document says Aljiboori confiscated most of the cars for personal gain and gave some of them away to friends as gifts.

U.S. officials say they have known about Interior Ministry abuses for years but have done little to thwart them, choosing instead to push Iraqi leaders to solve their own problems.

"The military had been at the bunker prior to the raid in November," said the U.S. official, referring to the Jadiriya facility. "But they said nothing."

Some U.S. military leaders want American officials to have a stronger hand with the Interior Ministry, arguing that continuing corruption and militia influence are dashing any hope for a speedy American withdrawal.

Another senior military official said U.S. policy in regard to the ministry was confused and disengaged. The official, who asked not to be identified because his comments impugned his superiors, said the Pentagon and State Department had failed to coordinate their efforts and were disengaged from the Iraqi police leaders.

"They sit up there on the 11th floor of the ministry building and don't talk to the Iraqis," the official said of U.S. police trainers assigned to the Interior Ministry headquarters tower. "They say they do policy and [that] it's up to the Iraqis — well, they're just doing nothing. The MOI is the most broken ministry in Iraq."

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is the brotherhood, Ted was a west pointer, and stood by his ethics, where is his bretheren, or is West Point a farce, just another way people promote themselves? What is a matter with you cadets afraid to walk the walk like Ted? Or talk.....Or do you need another medal on your chest or a notch, enough said, He gave all, what is your copout?

4:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where is your support for what you were taught and stood up for?????go west point football..........

4:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While his fellow soldiers prepared to unleash one of the most spectacular land assaults in modern military history, Col. Ted Westhusing was studying old wars. He was in the final months of writing his doctoral dissertation at Emory University's department of philosophy in the spring of 2003. His topic was honor. As the Third Infantry Division charged into Iraq, Westhusing pored over ancient Greek texts like those once preserved in Baghdad's libraries, comparing them to modern Civil War novels and accounts of valor in America's more recent wars. He was an archaeologist carefully sifting the history of human violence: Achilles' savagery at Troy, Gen. Robert E. Lee's compassion to an underling at Gettysburg, Gen. Matthew Ridgway's turnaround of the Eighth Army's retreat in Korea. He sought an understanding of what the Greeks called arete- skill, excellence, or virtue - because Westhusing wanted to know, exactly, what honor meant for the modern American soldier. "Born to be a warrior, I desire these answers not just for philosophical reasons, but for self-knowledge," he wrote.

Westhusing stood out on Emory's leafy green campus, which is not far from downtown Atlanta. He was twice as old as some of his fellow graduate students, with a buzz cut that grayed at the temples. They showed up for class in shorts and flip-flops, Westhusing in slacks and loafers. They stayed out late at campus bars,Westhusing had a wife and three children. They were younger, but he was faster. Intensely competitive, he had a physique as lean and hard as an ax head. He could often be seen jogging through the hilly neighborhoods around campus in camouflage and combat boots, a full rucksack strapped to his back. He challenged his fellow students to race. "I'm ten years older than you, man. You wouldn't last five minutes in the army!" he'd shout as he ran past. And he finished his dissertation in three years - a year or two earlier than most students. The story about his dissertation defense was campus legend. Supposedly he had walked into the room in full dress uniform, took a seat in front of his advisers, and placed his sidearm wordlessly on the desk in front of him. It was apocryphal, but it spoke to his Pattonesque reputation: bullheaded, self-assured, and packed with military bravado.

Westhusing's unwavering belief in the United States made him a maverick in another way. In a department of professional skeptics,Westhusing was a believer. He saw things in black and white, true or false, right or wrong. There was no room for relativism in Westhusing's world. He was a deeply faithful Catholic who attended Mass nearly every Sunday. His ardent, unalloyed patriotism burned brightly in the coffee shops and classrooms of the mostly liberal institution. He loved his country, loved serving it, loved defending it. "We have the finest fighting force to ever exist, and we will get the job done, no matter what it is," he said.3 Some found his conviction exhilarating. Westhusing got into fierce debates with fellow students, leaving newspaper clippings in mailboxes with comments circled in pen. He loved arguing about Aristotle and Epictetus, Kant and Wittgenstein. "He enjoyed being the voice of dissent.He definitely had a strong contrarian streak," said Aaron Fichtelberg, a fellow student who went on to become a professor at the University of Delaware, when we spoke ofWesthusing in the fall of 2005. Others found him rigid and inflexible. It was almost as if he wasn't interested in digging too deeply into the issues, afraid of the moral ambiguities he might find. One of his fellow graduate students suggested a reading by liberal philosopher Martha Nussbaum that questioned the value of patriotism. Westhusing refused even to attend the discussion group. Instead he sent a typed three-page response criticizing the article. "There were clearly things that Ted was not willing to question. One of them was patriotism," Fichtelberg told me.

Westhusing stood out in the military too. He had graduated third in his class at West Point. He became a Ranger and special forces instructor with the legendary Eighty-second Airborne, serving in some of the world's hot spots: East Berlin before the wall tumbled, Central America during the proxy wars between the United States and the Soviet Union, the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.He loved working with soldiers in the field, but it wasn't enough.He thought he could have more influence by training America's next generation of officers. He decided to teach at West Point.

There he returned to his devotion: honor. For Westhusing, honor was what set the soldier apart from the rest of society. It gave a soldier meaning, the military strength, and society structure. At West Point he became one of the army's top ethicists, contributing to military journals and grappling with the toughest issues of modern war. Emory was a chance to deepen his knowledge. He learned ancient Greek and modern Italian. When he graduated in 2003, he was one of only fourteen out of eighty thousand officers in the army with a PhD in philosophy.

Westhusing had only one regret about his immersion in academia - he had never seen combat. It gnawed at him that he missed the first GulfWar, which happened while he was earning his master's. He had also not seen action in Bosnia, Kosovo, or any other of America's myriad conflicts. "He used to say he never had a shot fired at him in anger. There was a twinge of disappointment as he said that," Fichtelberg said.Westhusing's interest, after all, was in applied ethics. He was not interested in philosophy for its own sake.He had written about the thresholds of knowledge necessary before a commander could order an air strike, and about the rules of engagement that governed when a soldier could open fire during a peacekeeping mission. The classroom was good enough for discussion. But the battle- field was where you tested ideals. "War is the hardest place to make moral judgments," he wrote.


THE THINKING WARRIOR

Westhusing was born in 1960, the third child in a closely knit family of seven siblings that grew up in Texas and Oklahoma.His father, Keith Westhusing, served in the Korean War and had been a commander in the Navy Reserve. He was a geophysicist who worked with NASA during the moon mission, and the Westhusing kids had grown up with the children of the Apollo astronauts. The family moved from Texas to Oklahoma when Westhusing was in the eighth grade, settling in Jenks, an outlying suburb of Tulsa across the Arkansas River from Oral Roberts University. Tim Westhusing, the oldest of the siblings, said his younger brother played the role of mediator in the competitive family, which spent summer vacations engaged in tennis and basketball tournaments with one another. "He was the one who could really calm down a family of nine.He was the diplomat," said Tim, a telecommunications executive.

Although small, Ted Westhusing played basketball for the Jenks High School Trojans as a starting guard. He was intensely driven. Joe Holladay, who coached Westhusing before going on to become an assistant coach at the University of North Carolina, recalled him showing up at the gym at 7 a.m. to get in a hundred extra practice shots. The team nearly won the state championship his senior year."There was never a question of how hard he played or how much effort he put into something,"Holladay said."Whatever he did, he did well.He was the cream of the crop. Ted was special." Westhusing was academically talented as well, with a flair for math and science. He was a National Merit Scholar and the vice president of a fellowship of Christian athletes. (He would have been the school's valedictorian if not for a B in driver's education.) Both students and teachers knew there was something different about Westhusing. "He was very bright and a successful athlete, but he didn't boast about it," said Mike Means, the Jenks principal who coached Westhusing. "He had a maturity level as far as his character and values."

Westhusing thought about going to Notre Dame or Duke University, but decided on West Point. His mother, Terry, had had to evacuate with her family when Pearl Harbor was attacked, and Westhusing had always been intrigued by his family's military past. The nation's oldest military academy also appealed to the competitor in Westhusing. Only one of every ten applicants is accepted. The median grade point average of the entering class is 3.5; 20 percent are class presidents; 60 percent are varsity team captains. The roster of graduates includes many heroes of American military history, from Robert E. Lee (class of 1829) to Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing (class of 1886) to Dwight D. Eisenhower (1915) to Norman Schwarzkopf (1956).

When Westhusing entered West Point in 1979, the tradition-bound institution was in the midst of turmoil. The first female cadets were going through the system; within a year the academy would name the first black first captain, the leader of the cadet corps. A revelation in 1976 that scores of cadets had cheated on their engineering exams had resulted in congressional hearings, public outcry, and a commitment from the army to reemphasize the academy's moral code. From the moment they entered, cadets were taught to value duty, honor, and country and drilled in West Point's strict moral code: A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal - or tolerate those who do.

Westhusing embraced the code's austere demands. As an underclassman, he was the honor representative for his company, serving on the cadet committee that reviews any violations and makes recommendations on punishment. As a senior, or firstie, Westhusing was the honor captain, the highest-ranking ethics position in the cadet corps. It is a position of tremendous responsibility, with the ability to make decisions that can destroy the future of would-be officers. Each year, some one hundred cases of honor violations come before the committee. They range from accusations of lying to cheating to stealing. Most infractions result in punishments such as being forced to repeat a year of school, but about 10 percent bring the ultimate sanction: the offender is separated - expelled - from the class. Col. Tim Trainor, a classmate and West Point professor, said Westhusing was strict but sympathetic to cadets' problems. He remembered him as "introspective." Lt. Col. William Bland, another classmate and professor, said Westhusing managed to maintain the cadets' respect despite being a disciplinarian. "He was a smart guy, a thoughtful guy, a caring guy. He was pensive," Bland said. As honor captain "you do a lot of thinking."


BEGUILING VIRTUE

After graduation,Westhusing became an infantry platoon leader. He took Ranger and Airborne training and went through jungle warfare courses in Panama. He rose to become division operations officer and chief of staff for the Eighty-second Airborne, based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he worked with Gen. David Petraeus. He loved commanding soldiers. Westhusing told friends that one of his favorite postings was near the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. He lived with his platoon, far from the comforts of base. "He liked it because he was with his people. He was living with them. 'That's the way you lead soldiers,' he said. 'You lead them by being with them, rather than being at a comfortable villa,'" his dissertation adviser, Nick Fotion, told me.

Nonetheless,Westhusing was always drawn to intellectual pursuits. In his doctoral dissertation, he wrote about visiting the remote village of Chipyong-ni in South Korea, the site of a famed defensive stand by U.S. and French forces during the Korean War.He "walked and studied in detail" the battlefield in an effort to distinguish "false from true honor," he wrote in his doctoral dissertation. "War is brutal; courage remains supreme," he wrote.

"True self-knowledge in the form of the moral virtue of 'honor' demands warrior recognition of that brute, vulgar fact."

He went to Emory twice, once for his master's degree in the early 1990s and a second time in 2000 to get his doctorate. He chose Emory partly because the philosophy department had one of the nation's few programs in applied military ethics, but also because of its reputation as a bastion of classical Greek philosophy.Westhusing had little truck with modern epistemology (he told one friend that society had "taken the wrong road after Descartes"). He loved Socrates, Aristotle, Plato. His favorite saying was by Socrates from Plato's Phaedo: "Those philosophizing rightly are practicing to die."

"He saw himself as a person of antiquity. He felt much more engaged in ancient Greece than the modern world. He was an anachronism," Fichtelberg recalled. To master ancient Greek, Westhusing took an intensive summer course at the University of Texas. His professor, Tom Palaima, remembered how Westhusing jumped at the chance to participate in the Aristophanes play The Acharnians. Westhusing played the role of Lamachus, a braggart, buffoonish general. He seemed to enjoy the chance to poke fun at himself and his beloved military. "He took to the role, and the self-irony to do it. He was just tremendous," Palaima remembered.

Westhusing's 352-page doctoral dissertation is a dense, searching, and sometimes personal effort to define the ideal spirit for a modern American soldier. His lantern held high, he plucked specific examples from history and picked each apart in a search for the perfect warrior. Achilles was a fierce fighter, adept with his spear and physically fit. But he desecrated Hector's corpse and selfishly pouted on the sidelines as the Trojans nearly destroyed the Greeks. Ridgway was a brave leader of men, but,Westhusing noted, some considered him too eager for his own glory. The bridge between the sometimes competing virtues of competition and cooperation was honor, a soldier's desire for approval from his fellow man and his country.Westhusing called it a "beguiling virtue"- difficult to define and difficult to recognize. The job of the American soldier was to embrace the true form.

Westhusing cautioned that devotion to honor could be taken too far. The "regimental honor" of the British infantry in the Victorian era was so extreme that officers suffering even a slight moral lapse would occasionally commit suicide rather than face disgrace.Westhusing called it a "monster" of a notion. "This sense of regimental honor tends to prevent and transfigure both greatness of mind and extended benevolence," two of the requirements needed for true honor, he said.


VERIFICATION

As planned,Westhusing returned to teach philosophy and English at West Point. He was made an "academy professor," the military's equivalent of tenure.With a guaranteed lifetime assignment, he settled into life on campus with his wife,Michelle, and their three young children. He played basketball on the weekends, and exulted in being able to beat cadets on a bicycle ride up a nearby mountain. He was not particularly outgoing. He had his family and a few close friends.His relationships with his colleagues were professional and courteous. Westhusing kept himself busy outside academia as well. He and Palaima served as consultants for a Discovery Channel re-creation of the battle at Troy. He went to a conference in St. Louis that tried to link Achilles to modern-day Iraq.

As always, he remained deeply involved with ethics. He worked with the cadet honor program as faculty adviser. Westhusing commented forcefully to Tom Palaima when his former professor wrote a newspaper column questioning an apparently inadvertent instance of plagiarism in a book by New York Times correspondent Chris Hedges,War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. Palaima, who was a columnist for a local newspaper, believed that Hedges had copied a passage from a Hemingway novel without giving due credit.5Westhusing scoffed at excuses."Do you know what this would garner Hedges in the circles I run in? If truly 'inadvertent,' and if Hedges were a cadet, he might be lucky to garner only a 100-hour 'slug.' That is, he spends 100 hours of his free time marching back and forth in the hot sun in Central Area under full dress uniform pondering the consequences of his failure (a slug). If intentional,Hedges would get the boot. Kicked out. Gone."

Westhusing was restless, however. The war in Iraq raged on, always in the headlines.Westhusing believed in the effort there, deeply, fervently. He had once criticized Clinton for using soldiers in the rebuilding of Bosnia. Westhusing's attitude, a friend said, "was, 'They are trained to kill people, not build schools and bridges.' " But now he saw the war as a way to spread democracy, to make life better for Iraqis. It was also personal. Iraq was a way to "obtain 'verification' . . . and to lend authenticity to his status, not only as a soldier, but as an instructor at West Point," his father, Keith Westhusing, said. He believed that the war would make him a better soldier, a better professor, a better man. When Westhusing got a call in the fall of 2004 from one of his former commanders in the Eighty-second Airborne, he didn't hesitate. "He wanted to serve, he wanted to use his skills, maybe he wanted some glory," recalled Fotion, his dissertation adviser at Emory. "He wanted to go."

When Westhusing finally shipped out for Iraq in January, he was as excited as he had ever been.His long, careful study had paid off.He was going to be doing what he had always wanted, serving his country in war.He had been assigned to one of America's most important missions in the rebuilding of Iraq, training new Iraqi security forces to relieve the burden shouldered by American troops. He was not just teaching a new generation of soldiers to be officers.He was teaching a new nation about honor and freedom and democracy. The future looked so bright.



Copyright © 2006 by T. Christian Miller





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10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wake up america, wait til a dirty bomb hits your backyard, its coming and allI can say is GOOD LUCK AND GOOD NIGHT..........god bless Ted, my lord, I wish we had him instead of bs bush. BUSH COULDN'T SAY A MEANINGFUL WORLD WITHOUT A TELEPROMPTER. By the way I am not asking for a donation either.................

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tell my kids if you want to be president, be a man like TED, not what we have now....................its funny, they say they don't want to be a president because what they see about Bush,and others, how sad.......they said they want to make money to buy things and they dont care how they get it...........,,,,,,ummmmmmmmm

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I served with Col Ted Westhusing in Iraq. He was a good soldier, however frustrated with many things related to an incredibly difficult mission. I have posted to my blog a picture I took of Ted weeks before his death when we were in the field establishing a military facility....
Unfortunately I have no doubt regarding the cause of death which was tragic and seemingly senseless. Suicide is an enigma as has been stated here.

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Lindsay:

I respectfully reject your view that the military's assessment is correct. "Death before dishonor" is not an admission of suicide. It IS however, the words of a man going into battle...."Live Free or Die"...."It is better to die on my feet than to live on my knees"...it comes in many forms...but heroic deeds always verge on suicide and are easily staged as self-inflicted.

I suspect that while Col. Westhusing was going through the Philosophy Department of the University of Texas, that he was, even then, being assessed for his sensibilities. The security forces of an occupied nation would want someone they could trust...someone with the heart of a warrior, the intellect of a philosopher and moral compass of a theologian. Dark forces ALWAYS use the true light, but only within their carefully prescribed limits. As a Roman Catholic, Col Westhusing would have been an advocate of "just war theory"....that even in the hell of war God's justice overrules...not that the Catholic Church has followed this teaching anymore than have Yale's Puritan Protestants. The Geneva Conventions, the Kellogg-Briand Treaty and other documents attest to humanity's attempt to reform even war.

These aspects of Westhusing's character would have made him dangerous to the US political system in place there and at home.

I have some first hand knowledge of many of the players in this story. My nephew is in the Green Zone today working for the US State Department.

I have told him that while he is there to keep his head down and his mouth shut.

I wish I could innoculate him against the evils there and at home, but sadly I cannot.

In the end it would be a disservice to honor's contributions to the correctives that require blood sacrifice. "In a Democracy the blood of patriots and tyrants is the fertilizer required" -Thomas Jefferson.

WHC

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