Micro Managing the Battlefield
The Army has filed criminal assault charges against Lt. Col. Allen B. West—for pressuring an Iraqi jihadi into revealing information that stopped a terrorist attack: Army files charge in combat tactic.
An informant reported that there was an assassination plot against Col. West, an artillery officer working with the local governing council in Saba al Boor. On Aug. 16, guerrillas attacked members of the colonel’s unit who were on their way to Saba al Boor.
An informant told the soldiers that one person involved in the attack was a town policeman. Col. West sent two sergeants to detain the policeman, who was placed in a detention center near the Taji air base. The interrogators had no luck at first, so Col. West decided to take over the questioning.
“I asked for soldiers to accompany me and told them we had to gather information and that it could get ugly,” Col. West said in his e-mail.
He said his soldiers “physically aggress[ed]” the prisoner. A subsequent investigation resulted in nonjudicial punishment for them in the form of fines.
After the physical “aggress” failed, Col. West says he brandished his pistol.
“I did use my 9 mm weapon to threaten him and fired it 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. I fired away from him. 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.”
The Army seems very concerned that they be perceived as the most moral, politically correct fighting force on the planet—even if it results in the deaths of soldiers.