I think he's as right as God in this.
He's not going to go quietly and I wonder what we can do to help. I figure to start by writing Congress Critters.
Any other ideas?
[tbk1]They always forget the link[/tbk1]
Sorry 'bout that. I figured it was common knowledge.
Colonel West used his sidearm to intimidate a terrorist into revealing ambush plans directed against men under his command. He is now facing charges. The JAG offered to let him retire without pension but he chose to defend himself at Court Martial instead.
Here's a link to a Washington Times story
edited to add my very first ARFCOM poll. WOOHOO!
A passenger in a Hummer accident gets a Bronze Star, An Officer extacting REAL intelligence info gets a court martial.
I may actually watch HIS made for T.V. movie!
Ah, that guy. Yeah, read about him, didn't recall the name.
He's God's job, not the other way around.
Have to admit when I first heard of this I was shocked.
IMHO, SOP, take three prisoners up in a chopper. Ask questions. Toss no.1 out. Ask questions. Toss no.2 out, get answers.
Lt. Col. West will be fine. The worst he'll get is an official reprimand. He'll probably be un-promotable but it seems he wants to retire anyway. He laid it on the line for his troops. I'm sure he has their respect and gratitude. That may be enough for him. As far as the Army's position on this, I think it's much ado about nothing. If firing a weapon near a prisoner in order to coerce information is considered "assault" all I can say is they need to change the definition. I'm not condoning the torturing of prisoners by Officers of the U.S. Army. Our Govt. has solicited if not permitted other countries to extract information from our prisoners through torture. I suppose it's O.K. as long as our people have "clean hands". On the other hand, there may be more to this story and to Lt. Col. West that we are being told.
For those who missed it, my point was there are far worst things than what the Col. did and most of them BTW, done to our troops taken prisoner.
OK guys, here's a link for you to participate in.
It is a petition to exonerate LTC West.
Now, As a U.S. Army trained interrogator, I can say that he did nothing illegal. He didn't do the right thing, but did nothing in violation of the Geneva and Hague conventions. Here is what he did. He was interrogating a suspect not getting any answers. He fired his side arm into a weapons clearing barrel, got no answers, fired into the barrel again, and got his answers. He used fear to motivate the source to provide the information. Although it worked this time, it is not the recommended method for obtaining information. It is better to trick/con the source into providing the desired information. The use of fear or pain (threats of death or actual physical torture) will cause someone that knows nothing into telling you what he believes you want to hear. This information is unreliable and may cause more problems than it solves. I know that he had intel assets available and could have had an actual interrogator do the interrogation. That is what we are trained for. To learn to read the source and see what makes him tick. Another example is the CIA guy that interrogated Johnny bin laden (the american taliban kid in Afghanistan) and was shown on TV. It was obvious that this guy did not know what he was doing. The untrained should not attempt interrogation and leave it to those trained in the ART of interrogation.
Sorry Aimless, but that is not torture. It is only torture in the pussy ass liberal world where giving your kid a smack on the ass is child abuse and all firearms are evil. Ask some Viet Nam vets what torture really is. Talk to some WWII vets about the Bataan Death march or what happened in the German POW camps. So, quit being a liberal pussy and let the military do their job.
I wish we had a few thousand more like him.
Let him stay till after 30 and retire with a couple of stars.
What he did is alot less than what has happened to our troops that has POW's in any war from WWII till today.
He did what was necessary to save the lives of those under his command, and he did it within all the applicable rules/regs. I say he's one hell of an officer.
I wish this guy was my BC at least I would know for certain how he felt about his troops.
He didn't start exercising a new technique or anything - someone (a rat) just let the cat out of the bag.
I hate snitches.
I feel the same way too.
I'm glad he did it and saved his soldiers' lives, but the Army really can't just let it slide. Maybe a slap on the wrist and an early retirement (with benefits) would be enough.
Anyways, here are the pertinent Army Regs and Geneva Convention 1949 Articles, in handling prisoners.
Army Regulation 190-8
a. This regulation provides policy, procedures, and responsibilities
for the administration, treatment, employment, and compensation
of enemy prisoners of war (EPW), retained personnel (RP),
civilian internees (CI) and other detainees (OD) in the custody of
U.S. Armed Forces. This regulation also establishes procedures for
transfer of custody from the United States to another detaining
b. This regulation implements international law, both customary
and codified, relating to EPW, RP, CI, and ODs which includes
those persons held during military operations other than war. The
principal treaties relevant to this regulation are:
(1) The 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Amelioration of
the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the
(2) The 1949 Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the
Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed
Forces at Sea (GWS SEA).
(3) The 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of
Prisoners of War (GPW).
(4) The 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of
Civilian Persons in Time of War (GC), and In the event of conflicts
or discrepancies between this regulation and the Geneva Conventions,
the provisions of the Geneva Conventions take precedence.
1–7. The National Prisoner of War Information Center
The NPWIC will—
a. Forward blocks of ISNs to designated Branch PWIC in Theater
and CONUS, as required.
b. Obtain and store information concerning EPW, CI and RP, and
their confiscated personal property. Information will be collected
and stored on each EPW, CI, and RP captured and detained by U.S.
Armed Forces. This includes those EPW, RP, who were captured by
the United States but are in custody of other powers and those who
have been released or repatriated. EPW, CI and RP cannot be forced
to reveal any information however they are required to provide their
name, rank, serial number and date of birth. The Geneva Convention
requires the NPWIC to collect and store the following information
for EPW, RP:
Beginning of Captivity EPW/RP
2–1. Initial actions upon capture
d) Prisoners may be interrogated in the combat zone. The use of
physical or mental torture or any coercion to compel prisoners to
provide information is prohibited. Prisoners may voluntarily cooperate
with PSYOP personnel in the development, evaluation, or dissemination
of PSYOP messages or products. Prisoners may not be
threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disparate treatment
of any kind because of their refusal to answer questions. Interrogations
will normally be performed by intelligence or counterintelligence
Geneva Convention (III) Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War; August 12, 1949
In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:
(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria. To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; (b) taking of hostages; (c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment; (d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention. In particular, no prisoner of war may be subjected to physical mutilation or to medical or scientific experiments of any kind which are not justified by the medical, dental or hospital treatment of the prisoner concerned and carried out in his interest.
Likewise, prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.
Measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited.
Every prisoner of war, when questioned on the subject, is bound to give only his surname, first names and rank, date of birth, and army, regimental, personal or serial number, or failing this, equivalent information.
If he wilfully infringes this rule, he may render himself liable to a restriction of the privileges accorded to his rank or status.
Each Party to a conflict is required to furnish the persons under its jurisdiction who are liable to become prisoners of war, with an identity card showing the owner's surname, first names, rank, army, regimental, personal or serial number or equivalent information, and date of birth. The identity card may, furthermore, bear the signature or the fingerprints, or both, of the owner, and may bear, as well, any other information the Party to the conflict may wish to add concerning persons belonging to its armed forces. As far as possible the card shall measure 6.5 x 10 cm. and shall be issued in duplicate. The identity card shall be shown by the prisoner of war upon demand, but may in no case be taken away from him.
No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind. Prisoners of war who, owing to their physical or mental condition, are unable to state their identity, shall be handed over to the medical service. The identity of such prisoners shall be established by all possible means, subject to the provisions of the preceding paragraph.