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View Diary: "Trophy Video" of Civilian Shootings By Contractors Emerges (255 comments)

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  •  Sometimes the despair that (4.00)
    comes from confronting an impossible situation IS enough to push someone over the edge. How many ordinary soldiers have killed themselves after service in Iraq?  

    You are a career soldier.  "Honor" is more than some abstract concept to you.  It is one of the three underlying concepts your career is built on:

    Duty Honor Country

    Yet your duty leaves you in an impossible situation.  Honor is lacking - appallingly so.  Yet things aren't what they had been at the Academy.  People may occasionally mouth the rhetoric but do not "believe."  You look into what is occurring and see only the darkest of voids - all you were taught was wrong.  Yet there is no will to even acknowledge this, much less change it.

    I had a brief view of West Point at perhaps it's nadir.  A Cadet Corps that had seen graduate after graduate return home in coffins.  The class of 1966 had the most killed in Vietnam of any class.  My "firsties" entered in 1969.  They were plebes to the class of '66.  Keep in mind that anyone entering in 1969 KNEW they were going to Vietnam. Tet was in '68 and though the VC in effect blew their wad, it seemed as if the war was NEVER going to end and we had no way of winning. The NVA wer in things full out and not leaving.

    Few Upperclassmen I saw in 1972 were "idealistic" about anything.  THEY were there becuse they had lottery numbers guaranteed to sent them to 'Nam.  Beter to put it off for four years and go as an officer.  Had to be better.  Nixon was talking about pulling out..... but in '72 we were bombing Cambodia..... FUBAR.

    But there WERE a few that "believed" - not necessarily in Vietnam - but at something more.  "Duty Honor Country" DID mean something to them.  Whether from military families, or following some abstract "warrior" ethos, they were there to be leaders, officers in combat arms.  They cared about those they led and were proud in their abilities - they were all you could ever want in someone leading you in combat.  They were too few.

    BUT they WERE "moral" in a way you might find hard to understand.  They knew what was "right" and "wrong".  "Honor" WAS important to them.

    I can't imagine the quandry a Captain Fishback or Col. Westhusing finds themselves in....  You beat your head against a wall trying to do what's right - but NOBODY wants to hear anything.  

    At the same time, I'd be surprised to see someone like this take their own life, unless they felt it was so very hopeless and pointless....  Look at the effort Fishback went through - two years of figurative "screaming" - and I expect, a dead career....

    In a way this is one of the largest crimes perpetrated by the "Chickenhawks" - destroying those that DO know the meaning of Honor, destroying our military over a false cause while letting REAL enemies escape.

    •  seems to me there is lot for Westhusing to get (none)
      depressed about, but there is nothing in his situation and what is said about his character that would lead me to believe, he just caves in and kills himself.

      I sincerely believe he was killed because he tried to investigate with the intent to control the situation and most probably his superiors were only pretending they wanted him to investigate, because they officially had to. What they wanted from him was probably a reasonable explanation and cover-up they could sell the public, and he might not have wanted to deliver that. Meanwhile the mercenary got cold feet and killed him. Makes more sense to me.

      Your explanation feels too "straight" to me, especially because it sounds so believable. But if Honor had that much gravitas for him, the most honorable for him to do (and I would think the way he is described he did) is fighting against those who behave dishonorable. To kill yourself would not seem to me the most honorable solution, therefore I don't believe he did.

      •  NOT saying with any certainty (none)
        that he did kill himself but saying that I can understand how it could happen.....

        Thinking that anything else however is a truly frightening possibility.......

        But again, cover-ups run rampant......

      •  Depression is a bitch (none)
        No, killing yourself is not the most honorable solution, but all the evidence points to Col. Westhusing having been clinically depressed, and one of the major problems with depression is that it can cause you to stop thinking rationally (I speak from first-hand experience).  Suicide is indeed the most believable explanation, given what we know of his behavior in the weeks prior to the incident.

        "This sig intentionally left blank."

        by Coherent Viewpoint on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 08:51:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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