QUOTE(Beladonna @ Nov 8 2003, 09:36 AM)
The Army has filed a criminal assault charge against an American officer who coerced an Iraqi into providing information that foiled a planned attack on U.S. soldiers.
Lt. Col. Allen B. West says he did not physically abuse the detainee, but used psychological pressure by twice firing his service weapon away from the Iraqi. After the shots were fired, the detainee, an Iraqi police officer, gave up the information on a planned attack around the northern Iraqi town of Saba al Boor. Army files charge in combat tactic
This soldier was days away from retiring with full benefits.
The Lt. Col. is being given two choices: resign short of gaining retirement benefits or face court-martial. Do you believe this soldier should be punished for his actions?
Yes, I do believe he should be punished.
Yes, he was able to gain information that could have hurt his troops, but there are laws and military regulations that say how the information is to be obtained. Physical or psychological coersion of the type described is expressly prohibited.
Here is what he said in an email concerning the charges, taken from the article:
"I asked for soldiers to accompany me and told them we had to gather information and that it could get ugly,"
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."
He says that he didn't physically abuse the prisoner, but physically "agressed" the prisoner? What's the difference between agress and abuse? Bruises but no broken bones? How do you physically make contact with someone in a threatening manner, without assaulting him?
In addition, Col. West admits, in his own words that he brandished his weapon, threatened him, and fired off two rounds. How did the detainee know that the next round fired wouldn't have been away from him, but in him?
How do we establish a rule of law in this country, that the people there will respect, and that we want them to emulate, if this is what they are going to experience? And then, to just let the perpetrator off with no real consequence? He says at the end of the article, that he is willing to pay a "fine". For threatening to kill a man?
No, if we are going to set an example for how Iraqis are supposed to deal with threats in a democratic, rule of law nation, they need to see that there are punishments for violating the law, even if you are attempting to bring law and order to the country. This man was setting the wrong example.