Rep. Allen West: ‘I Won’t Turn My Back On My Country’

You know what? I believe him. Asked once again if he would say yes to an invitation to join the GOP Presidential ticket as Vice President this year, West didn’t dodge the question. He said “I’ve always said that that’s something I’d have to pray about, I’d have to talk to my family about, make sure we make the right decision,” and now the screeching sound in liberal ears everywhere, “But if someone asks you to step up and serve your country, I’m not going to turn my back on my country.” Wow.

Since honestly I think the Presidential nomination is going to be wrapped up pretty soon with Romney on top, I think it’s time we start looking at who will balance out the ticket. As I stated before, McCain’s decision to pick Sarah Palin injected into his campaign something that he was unable to give it himself. Passion from the conservative base. Because of Palin I was excited and thrilled to cast my vote for the McCain/Palin ticket. In much the same way, Romney will need to pick wisely his running mate.

For all of his flaws, Romney will be a decent candidate. Ten times the candidate that McCain was and to be honest, without the financial meltdown he just might have won. Romney’s VP pick will be huge. If he’s smart, and I think he is, he’ll go with a Tea Party darling, solid conservative. By doing so he’ll put some of the misgivings about his own conservatism in the background.

In my mind there are two individuals that I’d have at the top of the list if I were the GOP nominee for President. One is Rep. Allen West and the other is Senator Marco Rubio, both of Florida. The upside to both men being on the ticket far outweighs the bad. Maybe I’ll explore the positives and negatives in later posts, but for now, I just thought it would be a nice subject to broach with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Who you think would be good, what you think about the two names I mentioned, how would they standup to the rigors of a national campaign?

Funny enough, in the same interview, West said he “doubts” that he’s on anyone’s list for VP. Seriously, Mr. West? Seriously?

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  • Brucehenry

    Yes, as a Democrat, I hope Romney shows the same wisdom in picking West as a running mate, as McCain showed in picking Palin. Awesome.

    • Sky__Captain

      So, you’re putting down Rep. West.

      A black man.

      Which makes you a *gasp* rAAAAAcist!

      (Good work, Li’l Brucie. I always knew you were. How? You’re a liberal.)

      • jim_m

        Bruce is a lefty therefore he is racist by association.

        • Leftists like Brucey don’t consider conservative blacks eligible for anything but lynching. 

    • You are onto something there, Bruce. McCain picked Palin to energize the base, because he knew that he didn’t have it in him to do it himself. McCain was, in a sense, attempting to “balance” the ticket. If the Romney noodle picks West, it will truly be deja vu. I can’t believe we’re doing this again. (Sorry. didn’t mean to just repeat TWB.) The fact that the ticket needs “balancing” is flat out depressing.

    • Commander_Chico

      Bruce, I would be afraid Romney/West might actually win, and Romney have a heart attack or something.   Then we’d have to live with the possibility of West going into a wild rage and launching the nukes.

      • Jwb10001

        Chico why don’t you try to get some perspective and quit with the conservatives launching nukes bull crap. West isn’t going to launch nukes and besides he’s one of the few that lives up to your non chickenhawk standard.

        • Which is precisely why West isn’t qualified.  He was military, he was active in a war zone, he’s obviously unstable and can’t be allowed anywhere near any sort of power.

          There, Chico – you might be able to curry a bit of favor with the folks who send you your talking points by pushing that one up the line.

          I’ll send you a bill if it’s adopted and I see it elsewhere.

          • Commander_Chico


            Yeah, I know, but West was canned for losing his cool by Gen. Odierno.  

            Very few combat veterans had that happen to them.  By now, there are thousands of officers with command experience in Iraq and Afghanistan.

            Plus he spouts off like a nut nowadays.

          • Jwb10001

            Ha ha Chico saying someone spouts off like a nut that’s funny.

  • Brucehenry

    LOL, Cap’n. You’re a genius.

  • Sky__Captain

    I wonder how Bruce will respond to this from Allen West?

    Pretty devastating (and true) shots at Obama and the left in general.

    • Brucehenry

      PLEEEASE let Mitt pick West.

      Mitt/Mouth 2012!

      • TWB

        So given the fact that liberals pretty much tell us who they fear, I take it you are deathly afraid of Allen West on the ticket? Maybe because you couldn’t play the race card as effectively? Or maybe because he tells it like it is.

    • Brucehenry

      PLEEEASE let Mitt pick West.

      Mitt/Mouth 2012!

      • jim_m

        You know.  If I were a leftist I would say that you are in favor of West only as a transparent attempt to be in favor of a black candidate in a vain attempt to prove that you aren’t a racist.

        • jim_m

          But seriously, I have to agree that a bulldog like West is best off the ticket and in a position to attack the incumbent without speaking directly for the ticket itself.  This is why Gingrich is best not on the ticket (amongst other reasons).

      • Indeed.

  • herddog505

    F*ck putting Allen West in the second spot.


  • Of course the only reason these guys are thinking “West” or “Rubio”
     is because of their skin color. Note that TWB couldn’t think of a single reason to justify West… it’s just a good idea because… well, here’s his picture.

    “Let’s get us some of that colored candidates thingie!

    And of course choosing on the basis of race is… uhm, sorry — but you’re being a racist.

    Post more racists articles, Wizbang. Maybe you can attract a wider audience if you quit pretending to not be racist and just let it hang out, as it does in this post by TWB.

    • TWB

      Really, Stephen? This was a serious comment?

      • jim_m

        I believe it was.  Stephen is busy showing himself invincibly ignorant on the Preceding thread on Romney by reiterating the NYT claim that the author had already demonstrated to be false.

        I appreciate that Stephen has stepped out and demonstrated the truth of my earlier prediction.

    • herddog505

      Are you serious???  We’re happy about the prospect of West or Rubio being on the ticket because we’re racists???

      • He ain’t playin’ with a full cerebral cortex, is he?

        • herddog505

          The logic is a bit… unusual.

    • Commander_Chico

      No, Rubio is an excellent choice because of the likelihood that he would put a lock on Florida’s electoral votes, as he was Speaker of the Florida House in the past, and Senator now.

      He is also a young rising conservative star with an attractive family, with adequate experience for the VP job.

      The fact that he is Hispanic is also a political benefit, but subsidiary to the others.

      • Jwb10001

        But I’m sure he’s a chickenhawk so he shouldn’t be allowed to be one heart beat from the presidency, besides aren’t you worried he might nuke Cuba or something?

  • Of course the only reason these guys are thinking “West” or “Rubio”
     is because of their skin color. Note that TWB couldn’t think of a single reason to justify West… it’s just a good idea because… well, here’s his picture.

    “Let’s get us some of that colored candidates thingie!

    And of course choosing on the basis of race is… uhm, sorry — but you’re being a racist.

    Post more racists articles, Wizbang. Maybe you can attract a wider audience if you quit pretending to not be racist and just let it hang out, as it does in this post by TWB.

    • Oysteria

      You really are reprehensible, Stephen.  You are the reason people don’t want to discuss race.  You can’t approach the subject with an ounce of honesty and you trivialize it with your ignorant accusations.  There is real racism out there and if you were truly concerned about it, you wouldn’t be on some blog calling a bunch of people you don’t even know racists.  You’d be confronting those who leave no doubt about it.  But then you’re probably too chickenshit for that.

      • herddog505

        I beg to differ.  This is EXACTLY the sort of “conversation” that the left, led by Eric Holder in this case, wants to have about race.  It begins with the stipulation that anybody who disagrees with the left is a racist, and ends with then “atoning” by agreeing to go along with the left’s agenda.

    • Jwb10001


  • Of course the only reason these guys are thinking “West” or “Rubio”
     is because of their skin color. Note that TWB couldn’t think of a single reason to justify West… it’s just a good idea because… well, here’s his picture.

    “Let’s get us some of that colored candidates thingie!

    And of course choosing on the basis of race is… uhm, sorry — but you’re being a racist.

    Post more racists articles, Wizbang. Maybe you can attract a wider audience if you quit pretending to not be racist and just let it hang out, as it does in this post by TWB.

    • jim_m

      Hey moderator guys!?!  You have a serious problem on the blog here.  Nearly every time someone posts a comment they are getting an error message.  That is leading to many, many people making multiple posts.  This is not just an IE thing because I’m getting it on Firefox too.

      • Everyone who uses Discus is having problems lately.

    • Shannon, you should contact Kevin about this poster.  He is falsely accusing you and the site of racism now – again.  He has never offered anything but troll droppings.  Time to drop the hammer, hard.

  • Brucehenry

    One day after I report I’ve never had a Disqus problem, it posts everybody’s comments multiple times.

    • jim_m

      I get an error message and if I refresh the page my post appears but it has every appearance of not accepting the comment.

      • We’re looking into it.  I’ve restarted the server and cache.  So far it’s working.

        • jim_m

          It’s been a year with the new site hasn’t it?  This is really the first technical glitch I can recall.  Not bad if you have it fixed already.

  • jim_m

    Right on Stephen!!!! Thanks for proving my point above. It only took 16 minutes for an ignorant leftist to do EXACTLY what I claimed they would do.


    Not only is the left intellectually bankrupt and dishonest, but they are utterly predictable as well.

  • retired.military

    Fuck you Stephen you know nothing about the people who post here as poeple. Go crawl back into your racist hole and stay there.

  • Sky__Captain

    What we have here is a classic case of projection.

    L’il Stephen can’t fathom picking a candidate based on political beliefs or character, only by skin color. One does wonder how he feels about MLK.

    Of course, the last paragraph of his latest missive is grounds for a meeting with Olaf, as many racist trolls have encountered.

    • Jwb10001

      Who will be the village idiot if Stephen has a meeting with Olaf?

      • I’ve got a squirrel out in the front yard I’ll volunteer…  It’s GOT to be more rational and consistent…

  • Paul Smith

    “there are two individuals that I’d have at the top of the list if I were
    the GOP nominee for President. One is Rep. Allen West and the other is
    Senator Marco Rubio”

    Not possible.  Rubio’s parents were not U.S. citizens when he was born therefore he is not a natural born citizen and is not eligible to be our POTUS.



    • Commander_Chico

      Give it up, nutball.  Rubio was born in the USA, he is a natural born citizen.

      Although I suppose your comment is an indication that there could be trouble with the nutball birther vote if Rubio is the pick. Romney is such a panderer, he might back off for that reason.

      Calling Lt. Col. Lakin!

      • Jwb10001

        You calling other people nut balls is really rich Chico, nearly all your posts you say conservatives are going to nuke someone or if not that you complain about them being chickenhawks or that bankers are going to eat our children or some other over blown non sense.

        • In this case, he’s right.  (Shrug.)  That ‘natural born citizen’ bullshit is just plain nutty.

          • Jwb10001

            Oh I know he’s right it’s just that his use of the term nut ball is so fitting for most of his own posts.

          • Paul Smith

            Did you bother to read the article, JL?  I’m guessing you’re talking out of your read end.

          • First thing we need to do is kill half the lawyers. 

            This’ll put the other half in the right frame of mind, and get them to stop torturing the language and making simple ideas damn near uncomprehensible.

            Born on US soil, regardless of parentage?  Citizen.  End of story.

            Born on foriegn soil by US citizen mother?  Citizen.  End of story.

            Born on foriegn soil by non-US citizens?  Not a citizen.  End of story, apply for immigration if desired.

            Let’s see… that covers the permutations, I think.  except where the father is US citizen, and mother isn’t, and born overseas.  Hmmm, that’s a toughie. Punt, make the kid a citizen.

            See how easy it is?  When you get lawyers involved, then the complexity goes up and the clarity is reduced.  And we won’t even talk about the cost.

        • Commander_Chico

          Hey, what’s the internet for, but for “over blown nonsense?”   Oh, Vlad Putin says it’s for porn, too.

          Bankers are going to eat your children, though.

          • Jwb10001

            Like I said of all the people to call someone a nut ball.

      • Paul Smith

        Your insult notwithstanding, where Obummer was born is not relevant in this case.  You might want to do some study on the issue before making a fool of yourself like that.

    • Paul, you are wrong about Minor v. Happersett. It is not the binding precedent. The Court ruling that is the precedent is United States v. Wong Kim Ark.  In that ruling the Court states, “Every person born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, becomes at once a citizen of the United States, and needs no naturalization.”

      Marco Rubio was born inside the USA. Thus, according to the 14th Amendment and SCOTUS, Marco Rubio is constitutionally qualified to be Vice-President.

      • jim_m

        Doesn’t matter. Expect the dems to hammer this over and over again if Rubio runs for national office. Truth doesn’t matter to the left.  This is the narrative they will put out and the MSM will run with it and never think twice about the lies.

        • Paul Smith

          I’m a strong conservative (ex-lifelong Republican) who will join them in the hammering.  Conservatives who don’t are hypocrites.

          • With all undue respect – go take your hammer and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.  The ‘X who won’t Y are hypocrites’ is in YOUR judgement. 

            It’s not persuasive.  Neither are insults.

            But I understand objectivity can be in short supply in politics – so I suggest you go outside, take a few breaths of fresh air. 

            Look at reality for a while. 

            Understand that reality doesn’t give a damn about politics.  And in a hundred years, neither will you.

      • Paul Smith

        Did you even bother to read the article, David?  Ark had nothing to do with natural born.  Wong was determined to be a ‘citizen’, not a ‘natural born citizen’.

    • Olsoljer

      Does the term “anchor baby” strike any bells?

      • Paul Smith

        Not relevant.  They aren’t natural born citizens.

        • You are using a definition of “natural born” that is non-standard. “Natural born” stands as contrast to “naturalized.” A naturalized citizen is someone who goes through a process to become a citizen because he isn’t one already.

          So-called “anchor babies” are citizens because they are born in the United States. Therefore they are “natural born” citizens. The citizenship of the parents is not relevant to the definition.

          • Paul Smith

            That is false.  Naturalized citizens are those who have received their citizenship as a result of law rather than birth.  The process is simply one way to be naturalized.  Anchor babies are 14th Amendment citizens.  They are naturalized by Title 8 law.

          • All citizenship is conferred by law in some way. By your logic we are all therefore naturalized citizens and nobody is qualified to be President.

            Wait, I could actually get behind that idea, this year.

  • I would have to know more details of West’s service before I will consider him qualified to be President.  He’s a great guy, but you can reach Lt. Colonel without much command experience.

    There’s a reason we have often elected Governors and Generals and seldom Senators or Representatives:  the former jobs impart managerial experience while the latter do not.

    • Commander_Chico

      West was relieved of command by Gen. Odierno.

  • Stephen: “Of course the only reason these guys are thinking “West” or “Rubio” is because of their skin color.”

    Really, Stephen?

    In his post, TWB mentions West and Rubio because they are conservatives who are favored by the Tea Party. Nowhere does TWB include race or ethnicity in his recommendation of West and Rubio. Those two members of Congress are favored by Republicans (and Wizbang! bloggers) because those gentlemen support principles and ideas that are compatible with conservatives. In short, conservatives (and Wizbang! bloggers) are judging West and Rubio by the contents of their character.

    Stephen, since you have not stated any philosophical reason for rejecting West and Rubio, I will assume that you reject them because of their race, which makes you a racist.

  • Commander_Chico

    West was relieved of command by Gen. Odierno for losing his cool under pressure.  Since then, he’s displayed volatile and erratic behavior on occasion.  He can’t be trusted with the possibility of nuclear command authority.

    Rubio will be Romney’s pick. If he isn’t, it is because there are skeletons in his closet. The logic is too strong otherwise.

    • herddog505

      “Losing his cool under pressure” being defined as firing his service pistol during an interrogation to frighten a suspected terrorist who had information about a group planting IED’s that were injuring and killing LTC West’s men.  If I recall correctly, the frequency of the attacks notably fell off after this; it seems to have worked.  West stated that he would walk through hell with a can of gasoline for his men.  I believe him and admire him for it.

      And I suspect that anybody who means harm to the United States would believe him, too.  That’s not a bad thing at all.  Deterrence depends on the enemy BELIEVING that he won’t get away with it.  Many of us here wonder what Barry would do in the event of an attack on – or even a threat to – the United States.  There’s damned little room for doubt where West is concerned.

      • What would Obama do?  Drop his pants and bend over…

      • Commander_Chico

        Gen. Odierno is not known as a pussy-footer, in fact Tom Ricks criticized his harsh methods as 4th ID commander in his book Fiasco. 

        Yet Odierno relieved West of command and gave him an Article 15 and forced him into retirement.  You know that does not happen to Lt. Colonels commanding battalions very often.  Of course, the Privacy Act prevents the full story from coming out.  I’d bet the incident was reported by West’s fellow infantry officers who might have had concerns about West’s stability and fitness for command.   I do not question West’s motivations, only his competence and stability.

        In a counterinsurgency, the example for discipline and use of force is set at the top.  If a commander is shooting guns near the head, subordinates will do much worse.

        The stuff you say about “attacks falling off” sounds like West’s or his lawyer’s spin on the matter.  The incident happened in 2003, attacks did not “fall off” for a long time after that.

        • “Yet Odierno relieved West of command and gave him an Article 15 and forced him into retirement”
          Once what West did got out to the media, which raised an incredible stink about how we were ‘torturing’ prisoners.  At the time (and still) the media determines what’s acceptable as far as military actions go.
          Honestly, I don’t think we’ll ever be able to fight a war again, needed or not. The line’s been drawn, the scripts written – nothing that the US military does is ever right – and nothing the putative enemy ever does is wrong.  Might as well insist we fight in handcuffs…

          • herddog505

            Can you imagine what MiniTru would do to Lemay?  Or Grant and Sherman, for that matter?

        • Olsoljer

          You have absolutely no clue, do you? Battalion level is probably the most pivotal position in the military, it is there that general officers are made and competition is most fierce. From what West did, I can make two deductions:(1)-if his “fellow” infantry officers filed the complaint, it was with the hope/intent that they be considered to replace him (2)-once this became knowledge, the vast majority of his enlisted men would charge hell with a bucket of gasoline for him.

          • Commander_Chico

            Read my post below and West’s confession.

            It turns out that West was FA.

          • Olsoljer

            FA is combat arms, artillery, same scrambling for rank.  We all know that a Iraqi police officer would NEVER participate as an insurgent.

          • Commander_Chico

            And we all know that no Iraqi insurgent would ever drop dimes to HUMINT to make false accusations against an Iraqi police officer who was doing his job.

          • herddog505

            And we know that US Army officers will take any anonymous tip as an excuse to threaten and beat the sh*t out of a random Iraqi police officer.


        • herddog505

          The attacks apparently fell off in his area in that time-frame.  I didn’t mean to suggest that West won the war all by himself.

          As for being sacked, there is such a thing as “PR”: I suggest that word got out that West did what he did and Odierno had to sack West in order to appease the peaceniks who were concerned about us being mean to the terrorists.  I don’t recall whether West’s incident was before or after Abu Ghraib, but I do recall the Army being very sensitive about PR.

          I am reminded of RADM Fluckey’s autobiography in which he describes successfully interrogating a Japanese prisoner by dint of laying a .45 on the table and occasionally patting it when the Japanese proved less than cooperative.  It appears to have worked (unless we consider that World War II went on for several more months as evidence to the contrary).  Fluckey was awarded several Navy Crosses, the CMH, and retired to become ambassador to Portugal after serving as (among other things) COMSUBPAC and Director of Naval Intelligence.

          Lucky for him there weren’t a pack of libs around to sob about how mean he was.  They didn’t call him “Lucky Fluckey” for nothing, I suppose.

          Oh, there’s also no evidence that the crew of the Barb went on any murderous rampages, spurred on by their captain’s example.  Apparently, US servicemen GENERALLY can control themselves and understand the difference between their CO taking some extraordinary measures and giving them license to behave like brutes.

          • Commander_Chico

            See my post below and the Report of Investigation including West’s confession.

            The guy who had a gun shot near his head and was beaten was an Iraqi police officer – precisely the kind of person we were trying to recruit and work with.  He was soon released and returned to duty as an Iraqi police officer.

            You say “attacks fell off.”  Ok, fine, I’ll take it for argument’s sake.  But: (1) I find it hard to believe that this one Iraqi police officer was the keystone of the insurgency in Tikrit, Saddam’s home town, (2) what was the statistical measure and area measured?, and (3) even if the sample and area measured was valid, correlation does not equal causality.

          • herddog505

            “an Iraqi police officer – precisely the kind of person we were trying to recruit and work with”

            Just how the terrorists see it, too.  Or do you honestly think that (to use lefty jargon) a patriotic Iraqi, outraged at the invasion of his sacred homeland by oil-hungry, racist foreign aggressors, wouldn’t join the police so he could better undermine the imperialists and run them out of his country?

            1.  Nobody’s suggesting that this alleged turncoat was the kingpin, just that he knew about / was a part of a local terrorist cell;

            2.  “Patrols have been a lot more peaceful” and “I haven’t had to write nearly so many letters home lately.”

            3.  No, but war isn’t a Whiz Kid lab experiment, either.  Either the attacks in the area died off after West did what he did, or else they didn’t.  If they did, then I’m willing to credit it to his action and not suppose that a random airstrike killed the terrorists or they suddenly saw the error of their ways and became peaceniks.

          • Commander_Chico

            Sure, he could have been an insurgent.   Let’s say it was a 50/50 chance.  He certainly may have become an insurgent after the incident, and would you blame him if he were innocent?

            But even if he was before the incident, reading all of the statements, it was a complete breakdown of discipline – with various soldiers, male and female, and a female Egyptian contract interpreter beating the guy.

            To me, it’s another story of why the USA lost the Iraq war.  Almost random brutality, violations of the Geneva Conventions and military law and tradition, and all-around counterproductive harsh treatment of Iraqis.  No wonder they said “good riddance.”

    • Jwb10001

      You’re full of crap Chico seriously full of crap, you have no idea if West lost his cool or if what he did was completely calculated to get the result it got.

      • Commander_Chico

        You can read West’s confession and the Army CID Report of Investigation here (pdf) and judge for yourself:

        It’s actually worse than I thought.  First, there was no evidence that the Iraqi police officer who was arrested, beaten and had a gun shot near his head was an insurgent.  The Iraqi police officer, who was released within a month, later complained to U.S. military authorities about the incident.

        Second, West stood by while his soldiers beat the guy up, a clear breach of discipline.

        So it got no result other than injuring and pissing off an Iraqi police officer, who was supposed to be an ally, and leading to the breakdown of discipline in a unit.

        That is how you lose counterinsurgencies, and one small example of why the US Army got run out of Iraq last month.

        • Run out?  WTF?

          Come on, Chico – you know we left because Obama said it was time.  Unilateral withdrawl and all that.

          • Commander_Chico

            That was BS, we were begging to stay.

          • herddog505

            Who’s “we”?  Certainly there are people who thought we should stick around to help the Iraqi government and make damned sure that AQ and Iran don’t get too out of hand.  Barry certainly isn’t on that list.

          • Commander_Chico

            They were still offering tenders for construction of U.S. base infrastructure in Iraq on months after Barry took office.  The plan was to have a few bases around Iraq.  Maybe Barry personally was not super enthusiastic, as it would have been yet another broken campaign promise, but they tried to get a SOFA agreement out of the Iraqis.

          • herddog505

            Oh, OF COURSE.  That’s why it was all done per the timetable and in accord with REPEATED statements by Barry, Biden and other senior members of the regime.

          • BAGHDAD — President Obama’s announcement on Friday that all American troops would leave Iraq by the end of the year was an occasion for celebration for many, but some top American military officials were dismayed by the announcement, seeing it as the president’s putting the best face on a breakdown in tortured negotiations with the Iraqis.
            TimesCast | U.S. Withdrawal from Iraq

            And for the negotiators who labored all year to avoid that outcome, it represented the triumph of politics over the reality of Iraq’s fragile security’s requiring some troops to stay, a fact everyone had assumed would prevail. But officials also held out hope that after the withdrawal, the two countries could restart negotiations more productively, as two sovereign nations. This year, American military officials had said they wanted a “residual” force of as many as tens of thousands of American troops to remain in Iraq past 2011 as an insurance policy against any violence. Those numbers were scaled back, but the expectation was that at least about 3,000 to 5,000 American troops would remain. At the end of the Bush administration, when the Status of Forces Agreement, or SOFA, was negotiated, setting 2011 as the end of the United States’ military role, officials had said the deadline was set for political reasons, to put a symbolic end to the occupation and establish Iraq’s sovereignty. But there was an understanding, a senior official here said, that a sizable American force would stay in Iraq beyond that date. Over the last year, in late-night meetings at the fortified compound of the Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, and in videoconferences between Baghdad and Washington, American and Iraqi negotiators had struggled to reach an agreement. All the while, both Mr. Obama and the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, gave the world a wink and nod, always saying that Iraq was ready to stand on its own but never fully closing the door on the possibility of American troops’ staying on. Through the summer, American officials continued to assume that the agreement would be amended, and Mr. Obama was willing to support a continued military presence. In June, diplomats and Iraqi officials said that Mr. Obama had told Mr. Maliki that he was prepared to leave up to 10,000 soldiers to continue training and equipping the Iraqi security forces. Mr. Maliki agreed, but said he needed time to line up political allies. Mr. Maliki was afraid that if he came out publicly in favor of keeping troops without gaining the support of other parties in Parliament, his rivals — particularly the former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi — would exploit the issue to weaken his shaky coalition government. Eventually, he got authorization from the group to begin talks with the Americans on keeping troops in Iraq. In August, after debates between the Pentagon, the State Department and the White House, the Americans settled on the 3,000 to 5,000 number, which was reported in August. According to two people briefed on the matter, one inside the administration and one outside, the arguments of two White House officials, Thomas E. Donilon, the national security adviser, and his deputy, Denis McDonough, prevailed over those of the military. Intelligence assessments that Iraq was not at great risk of slipping into chaos in the absence of American forces were a factor in the decision, an American official said. This month, American officials pressed the Iraqi leadership to meet again at President Talabani’s compound to discuss the issue. This time the Americans asked them to take a stand on the question of immunity for troops, hoping to remove what had always been the most difficult hurdle. But they misread Iraqi politics and the Iraqi public. Still burdened by the traumas of this and previous wars, and having watched the revolutions sweeping their region, the Iraqis were unwilling to accept anything that infringed on their sovereignty. Acutely aware of that sentiment, the Iraqi leadership quickly said publicly that they would not support legal protections for any American troops. Some American officials have privately said that pushing for that meeting — in essence forcing the Iraqis to take a public stand on such a controversial matter before working out the politics of presenting it to their constituents and to Parliament — was a severe tactical mistake that ended any possibility of keeping American troops here past December. ———————-Remind me again just how wonderfully competent this bunch in Washington is regarding foriegn affairs?

          • Commander_Chico

            Supports my point – the Iraqis wanted national sovereignty and no immunity for troops or contractors.  This was because they had no faith in American ability or willingness to rein in or punish killers, etc.

          • Yes, and we had so many of them running around, right?

            Obama pushed for something solid that they were tacitly, and reluctantly, giving.  And blew the whole deal.

            Community Organizers don’t know how to do a damn thing but throw up trouble.  Give them something that works, and if they’re not perfectly satisfied with it they’ll destroy it and expect something better to magically appear.

          • I’m really starting to dislike Disqus.

          • herddog505

            Remember: as far as the left is concerned, we lost in Iraq about five minutes after the first US soldier crossed the border.

          • Hugh_G

            Absolutely correct.

        • herddog505

          According to LTC West’s confession:

          “Mr. [redacted] came forth with names, location and method of the attack.  It was to occur Friday morning in Saba al Boor vicinity… no further attacks have emanated from the town since the apprehension of Mr. [redacted] and his named associates.”

          West should not have done what he did, nor should he have allowed his soldiers to do what they did.  However, in light of the fact that (A) the Iraqi was supposed to have knowledge not only about attacks against West’s command but also an assassination plot against West and some of his officers and (B) one of the officers named had been attacked while on the road by IED and small arms, I can understand West’s actions.  I suspect that the Army did, too as he and his men were punished but not severely.

          This is not a question of West gratuitously brutalizing a random prisoner.  It does not appear that he is a brutal man, nor does it appear that he got “out of control”.  As a former GI and artilleryman, West sounds just like the sort of CO I’d like to have in combat: a man urgently concerned with the safety of his men and not so concerned with his career that he’s afraid to color outside the lines*.  Further, if I had my hands on a man I thought to be a turncoat who was involved in trying to kill me and my soldiers, I’d also be very tempted to get rough with him.


          (*) I’m sorry to say that I’ve known a few officers like that: they hardly draw a breath without worrying about how it will appear on their OER.

          • You used the phrase “color outside the lines”.  Obviously, you’re a racist.

            But everything else – spot on.

          • herddog505

            spot on”?



          • I shall take myself out back and shoot myself immediately.

          • Commander_Chico

            A self-serving statement, with no evidence to corroborate it.  So they beat the guy and said they were going to kill him, even shot off guns near his head, and he came up with a story.  He probably confessed to being on the grassy knoll and killing JFK, too. 

            After being sent to Taji and interrogated and vetted by the pros, he was released within a month, and went back to being a police officer.

            I’ve heard that unsubstantiated accusations were just another form of warfare by the Iraqis, both the insurgency and for ordinary score-settling.  So the original information might have had no value, just as what he said about other guys under torture had no value.  That was one thing that made the war in Iraq so screwed up.  West didn’t have a clue, and he was going in the wrong direction.

          • herddog505

            A “self-serving” statement… that got him cashiered?

            I’ve heard that unsubstantiated accusations were just another form of warfare by the Iraqis, both the insurgency and for ordinary score-settling.

            I’m sure that there was a good bit of this.  Indeed, I’d be shocked to find that it WASN’T going on.  Seperating solid intelligence from enemy disinformation, score-settling, efforts by the informant to ingratiate himself or make himself appear more valuable than he is, or outright bullsh*t is a problem that has always bedeviled police officers, intelligence officers, and soldiers fighting insurgencies.

            But let’s get back to the original issue: does West’s behavior in this instance paint him as a loose cannon, a hothead, a brute, or an outright madman who cannot be trusted with power and authority?  Or does it paint him rather as a man who, deeply concerned with the safety of himself and his men, took extraordinary measures to try to save their lives?  Did not West have a plausible reason to behave as he did?  Did he lie or try to cover up?  Did he try to throw his subordinates under the bus or otherwise weasel out?  Did he try to pass the buck and claim that his own chain of command “encouraged” him to do this kind of thing?  Or did he say, “This is what I did and this is why I did it.  I am solely responsible and my men should not be punished in any way”?

            Let’s be clear: West should not have done what he did.  It’s against regulations, undermines good order and discipline, and isn’t the sort of behavior that puts the Army or the United States in the best light.  However, given the circumstances, I am not inclined to be too upset about it; indeed, I rather admire him for it*.  West said that he would carry a can of gasoline through hell for his men.  I believe him and I further suggest that’s a pretty good attitude for a commander – especially a commander in chief – to have.


            (*) Anybody want to suggest that Barry, Plugs, the Hilldabeast, Slick Willie, Mittens, Newt, McConnell, Boehner, SanFran Nan, Dingy Harry, or any of the rest of our political leadership would do anything like this?

          • Commander_Chico

            He might have been bold, he might have had balls, but his approach in a counterinsurgency is ultimately counterproductive. 

          • herddog505

            I’ve thought about it, and I disagree.  First, let’s consider the other options:

            1.  Do nothing.  Assuming the intel was solid, this would only would this put West and his men at risk but also jeopardize the local Iraqis by (A) leaving an active terrorist cell in their midst and (B) subjecting US troops to attacks that could very likely lead to collateral damage, either as a direct result of attacks made against them or as a result of them using force to defend themselves;

            2.  “Reconnaisance in force” against the village to find the suspected terrorists.  The likelihood of this working (i.e. finding the terrorists) is low, but the likelihood of angering innocent Iraqis when their homes are invaded by heavily-armed US troops is high;

            3.  Reprisals against the village.  I think we can dismiss this out of hand;

            4.  Attempt to ward off the suspected attack as best he might.  We may assume that West was already taking the usual security measures to guard against ambushes, IED’s, etc.  See #1(B) above.

            So, the other options open to West were at least as bad as grabbing the suspect, and generally a lot worse.

            John Paul Vann wrote that the best counter-insurgency weapon is a knife because you KNOW who you’re killing.  The idea is selectivity.  West did not round up the entire police unit.  He didn’t grab the man’s family.  He didn’t attack the village.  He didn’t inconvenience any Iraqi civilians at all.  Instead, he grabbed a single suspect, apparently in his police station (i.e. he left the family – if their was one – alone) and took him back the the US camp for questioning.  To this point, West did nothing that a police officer wouldn’t do.

            From that point, things went off the rails in two major ways:

            1.  West, not a trained interrogator, got out of hand (though I can’t imagine that even a “proper” interrogation wouldn’t irritate (!) the detainee);

            2.  The media got ahold of it, and naturally, being good, patriotic (snort) liberals, they subjected West, the Army and the entire country to the sackcloth-and-ash routine.  What good is served by telling – TRUMPETING – when your troops misbehave?  If West made a mistake that damaged our relations with the Iraqis and made winning the war harder, what about the yahoos in the newsrooms and Congress who wouldn’t shut up about it?

            Am I advocating censorship?  You damned tootin’.  Just as I wouldn’t expect MiniTru to blab about Operation Overlord or plans to build the A-bomb or the landing at Inchon if they found out about it, I don’t expect them to blab about every other military operation, ESPECIALLY if it harms our overall effort.  The Army was dealing with this issue; it should have been allowed to do so QUIETLY (and, of course, subject to civilian oversight).  THEN it could be released to the media who, if they were interested at all, could publish it as a case of misbehavior by US personnel that was detected, investigated, and punished BY the US military.

            All that happened as a result of MiniTru blabbing was that the Army looks like the villains, the Iraqis have cause to believe that American misbehavior will only be punished if it gets sufficient publicity, and (if you’re a lib) Allen West comes across as something of a martyr, punished on the altar of idiot liberal sensibilities.

          • herddog505

            [EDIT] Damn… intended as a reply to Commander_Chico below.

            Wait… I thought that we lost.  So, the various methods we tried later in the war DID work?  If so, did we get “run out”?  Or did we leave after winning?

            At any rate…

            With regard to West:

            1.  One of the officers on the “hit list” had indeed had his convoy attacked.  West’s men WERE being attacked; it’s not like he was overreacting to a prank phone call;

            2.  I doubt that West thought he would be able to roll up the entire insurgency by getting one guy or even one cell.  Defeating an insurgency is a work of considerable patience simply because there usually aren’t huge payoffs: you get one bad guy at a time;

            3.  Yes, West didn’t play by the rules.  As a result, we have an EXCELLENT idea of what he would do if he got the famous “three a.m. phone call”… and it wouldn’t be good for the enemies of the United States;

            4.  We don’t know the rest of the story.  If West had calmly turned the suspect over, might more of his men have died?  And, as I suggest above, what were his other options?

            With regard to CI, R.K.G. Thompson(1) describes what worked for the British in Malaya.  It includes some pretty harsh practices including curfews, ID cards, checkpoints, and mass relocations (which were tried – and bungled – as Strategic Hamlets in SVN).  Our own Phoenix Program, which involved tracking down and killing VC leaders, also bore fruit, though too late in the game to make a difference.(2)  There are lots of components to a successful CI strategy, and some of them are not especially pleasant.

            Incidentally, there is an NYT article from ’04 that summarizes the West incident fairly well.  Unfortunately, I doubt that we’ll ever know the truth as both West and the Iraqi have reason to tell (shall we say?) their own side of the story.


            (1) R.K.G. Thompson.  Deafeating Communist Insurgency. London: Chatto & Windus, 1966.

            (2) Lewis Sorley.  A Better War.  Orlando: Harcourt Books, 1999.

            For a personal perspective, see:

            LTC John L. Cook, USA.  The Advisor.  Philadelphia: Dorrance, 1973.

          • Commander_Chico

            Well, first, given that the guy was quickly released and returned to duty as a police officer without further US interference, I assume the intel was anything but “solid.”  I assume that West overreacted to some Iraqi BS bait of a personal threat to him.

            At that early stage in the war, I suppose he could be forgiven for being credulous about tips from Iraqis, but common sense would dictate some caution.

            But even if the initial tip had truth in it, you acknowledge how unprofessional it was to allow the scenes described in the statements, with Egyptian contract interpreters and privates slapping this guy around?  What was the emergency, that he couldn’t be held decently and professionally interrogated for a day or two?  Shows that West personalized a threat to himself to me, went into a rage.

            I’m not saying West is the devil, just that he’s not fit to be VP and potential POTUS.

            There was not only one cell in Taji – in fact IEDs continued to kill troops in Taji right up to the end of the war.  Putting it in perspective, West should have known that this guy was not going to solve all of his problems. 

            Given that the war aims of the US were not conquest and colonization, but bringing democracy and trying to have a friendly government in Iraq, the tactics of West, MG Miller, and other brutalizers and humiliators were “unsound.”   A democracy can’t win a modern counterinsurgency by brutality.
            Also, unfortunately, prewar US propaganda implying Iraq was somehow responsible for 9/11 contributed to a payback attitude among the ranks.

            Censorship ain’t gonna happen and would end up jeopardizing our own safety from the state in the end.  I thought the media attention saved West from court-martial, as West’s lawyer Kirby Puckett waged a skillful PR campaign to frame West as a hero and manufacture outrage on Fox while the Army had to remain silent.  Puckett also went to Iraq to lobby and threaten the JAGs handling the case with endless bad PR and rube rage.  A good lawyer.

            In the end, the success that the US had was by changing tactics – to buying most of the enemy off, the nationalist resistance and making them “Concerned Citizens” or “Sons of Iraq” or “the Awakening.”  By that standard, the best counterinsurgency weapon was a bundle of $100 bills – in Petraeus’s coinage “Money as a Weapon System” – and here’s the manual (pdf):


          • Commander_Chico

            To Herddog above:

            The USA built up too much bad karma at the beginning to ever be able to stay.  We continued to accumulate bad karma in Haditha and Nisoor Square and smaller incidents, which whatever you think of them, were accepted as massacres by the Iraqi people.

            We were able to stabilize the situation for the benefit of the Iraqi government and build the capacity of the Iraqi security forces to maintain some security in the Surge and thereafter in 2007-2011.   But our incompetence and the perception of callous brutality ensured that a majority of Iraqis wanted US troops out.

            As for West and the 3 AM phone call, history has shown that overreaction to a threat can be as disastrous as doing nothing.  You can start at 9/11 and work back through Vietnam, WW I, the Crimea.  With nukes, of course, it’s much worse.

            You cite the NYT article, in it West acknowledges the guy might have been innocent.

        • Brian_R_Allen

          That is one small example of why the American Army got run out of Iraq last month ….

          America’s Army has been “run out” of absolutely zero places, ever  – let alone out of Iraq.

          The self-and-own-culture-loathing cannot-be-trusted-to-replace-the-toothpaste-cap un-and-anti-American currently besquatting and bemanurering the 1600 Pennsylvania public-housing projects presently also pretending to the “presidency” — prematurely pulled out America’s Army from Iraq for purely political purposes. The perilously pernicious puke! 

          And what have you done with Mister-Tea?

  • Par4Course

    West is far more qualified to assume control of the government that the present White House occupant was in 2008, when he was a first-term Senator from Illinois, after voting “present” during much of his time as a political hack in Springfield.  

  • Meiji Man

    Whoa! West was THAT Commander? He’s got my vote. 

  • 914

    Would be so nice to see a  real dignified Man in the White House after 4 years of America hating racebaiting class warfare.  West has My vote and ABO does as well.