The casualties of Iraq are many--soldiers, civilians, women and children, journalists, diplomats and Ted Westhusing.

Yes, when immoral scum like Ricardo Sanchez, Geoffrey Miller and Tommy Franks get heralded, medaled and promoted for their treachery and deceit, willingness to depart from long-accepted norms of behavior and implement torture and lack of concern about after-Saddam Iraq, the Ted Westhusings, the ones retaining a conscience and sense of morality, leave their lives behind.

EVERYTHING is relative is the actual guiding moral dictim of the Bush Administration and nothing or no one will be left standing in pursuit of its global master plan.

What about soldiers performing torture? "Hey, it's certainly nothing that we ever promoted (wink, wink)"

What about billions of dollars lost in webs of U.S. and Iraqi corruption? "Hey, democracy is untidy (wink, wink)"

What about hundreds of thousands of lives lost? "Such a focus is unpatriotic and aids the enemy (wink, wink)"

What about the authority and prestige of the United States being decimated to that of just another thug nation? "To act based on the feelings of others is harmful to the safety and national security of our citizens (wink, wink)"

I don't know whether Ted Westhusing killed himself or was murdered, although I'm leaning towards the latter. We will probably never know the truth. But his departure from the living goes far beyond any so-called loss of innocence. This loss was and has been a myth for many, many decades, too often regurgitated by those too ignorant, too defensive and too craven for honest and realistic discourse.

We have used our military and economic power to do great things. Likewise, such has been used to do horrific deeds. Westhusing, for all his intelligence and brilliance, seemingly failed to realize this, as if it was too painful to disclose--until he landed in Iraq.

Ted Westhusing wasn't perfect. But this country needs more, not less Ted Westhusings. He was deemed a roadblock, a dangerous one. His conscience stood in the way of the neo-con master plan and his elimination was necessary. He was simply disposable.

The following is an article and a book excerpt focusing on Ted Westhusing. Both are written by T. Christian Miller. Do read both.

    A Journey That Ended in Anguish
    By T. Christian Miller
    The Los Angeles Times
    November 27, 2005

    Col. Ted Westhusing, a military ethicist who volunteered to go to Iraq, was upset by what he saw. His apparent suicide raises questions.

    "War is the hardest place to make moral judgments."

    Washington - One hot, dusty day in June, Col. Ted Westhusing was found dead in a trailer at a military base near the Baghdad airport, a single gunshot wound to the head.

    The Army would conclude that he committed suicide with his service pistol. At the time, he was the highest-ranking officer to die in Iraq.

    The Army closed its case. But the questions surrounding Westhusing's death continue.

    Westhusing, 44, was no ordinary officer. He was one of the Army's leading scholars of military ethics, a full professor at West Point who volunteered to serve in Iraq to be able to better teach his students. He had a doctorate in philosophy; his dissertation was an extended meditation on the meaning of honor.

    So it was only natural that Westhusing acted when he learned of possible corruption by U.S. contractors in Iraq. A few weeks before he died, Westhusing received an anonymous complaint that a private security company he oversaw had cheated the U.S. government and committed human rights violations. Westhusing confronted the contractor and reported the concerns to superiors, who launched an investigation.

    In e-mails to his family, Westhusing seemed especially upset by one conclusion he had reached: that traditional military values such as duty, honor and country had been replaced by profit motives in Iraq, where the U.S. had come to rely heavily on contractors for jobs once done by the military.

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    Blood Money
    by T. Christian Miller

    Man of Honor

    While his fellow soldiers prepared to unleash one of the most spectacular land assaults in modern military history, Col. Ted Westhusing was studying old wars. He was in the final months of writing his doctoral dissertation at Emory University's department of philosophy in the spring of 2003. His topic was honor. As the Third Infantry Division charged into Iraq, Westhusing pored over ancient Greek texts like those once preserved in Baghdad's libraries, comparing them to modern Civil War novels and accounts of valor in America's more recent wars. He was an archaeologist carefully sifting the history of human violence: Achilles' savagery at Troy, Gen. Robert E. Lee's compassion to an underling at Gettysburg, Gen. Matthew Ridgway's turnaround of the Eighth Army's retreat in Korea. He sought an understanding of what the Greeks called arete- skill, excellence, or virtue - because Westhusing wanted to know, exactly, what honor meant for the modern American soldier. "Born to be a warrior, I desire these answers not just for philosophical reasons, but for self-knowledge," he wrote.

    Westhusing stood out on Emory's leafy green campus, which is not far from downtown Atlanta. He was twice as old as some of his fellow graduate students, with a buzz cut that grayed at the temples. They showed up for class in shorts and flip-flops, Westhusing in slacks and loafers. They stayed out late at campus bars,Westhusing had a wife and three children. They were younger, but he was faster. Intensely competitive, he had a physique as lean and hard as an ax head. He could often be seen jogging through the hilly neighborhoods around campus in camouflage and combat boots, a full rucksack strapped to his back. He challenged his fellow students to race. "I'm ten years older than you, man. You wouldn't last five minutes in the army!" he'd shout as he ran past. And he finished his dissertation in three years - a year or two earlier than most students. The story about his dissertation defense was campus legend. Supposedly he had walked into the room in full dress uniform, took a seat in front of his advisers, and placed his sidearm wordlessly on the desk in front of him. It was apocryphal, but it spoke to his Pattonesque reputation: bullheaded, self-assured, and packed with military bravado.

    Westhusing's unwavering belief in the United States made him a maverick in another way. In a department of professional skeptics,Westhusing was a believer. He saw things in black and white, true or false, right or wrong. There was no room for relativism in Westhusing's world. He was a deeply faithful Catholic who attended Mass nearly every Sunday. His ardent, unalloyed patriotism burned brightly in the coffee shops and classrooms of the mostly liberal institution. He loved his country, loved serving it, loved defending it. "We have the finest fighting force to ever exist, and we will get the job done, no matter what it is," he said. Some found his conviction exhilarating. Westhusing got into fierce debates with fellow students, leaving newspaper clippings in mailboxes with comments circled in pen. He loved arguing about Aristotle and Epictetus, Kant and Wittgenstein. "He enjoyed being the voice of dissent.He definitely had a strong contrarian streak," said Aaron Fichtelberg, a fellow student who went on to become a professor at the University of Delaware, when we spoke of Westhusing in the fall of 2005. Others found him rigid and inflexible. It was almost as if he wasn't interested in digging too deeply into the issues, afraid of the moral ambiguities he might find. One of his fellow graduate students suggested a reading by liberal philosopher Martha Nussbaum that questioned the value of patriotism. Westhusing refused even to attend the discussion group. Instead he sent a typed three-page response criticizing the article. "There were clearly things that Ted was not willing to question. One of them was patriotism," Fichtelberg told me.

    Westhusing stood out in the military too. He had graduated third in his class at West Point. He became a Ranger and special forces instructor with the legendary Eighty-second Airborne, serving in some of the world's hot spots: East Berlin before the wall tumbled, Central America during the proxy wars between the United States and the Soviet Union, the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.He loved working with soldiers in the field, but it wasn't enough.He thought he could have more influence by training America's next generation of officers. He decided to teach at West Point.

    There he returned to his devotion: honor. For Westhusing, honor was what set the soldier apart from the rest of society. It gave a soldier meaning, the military strength, and society structure. At West Point he became one of the army's top ethicists, contributing to military journals and grappling with the toughest issues of modern war. Emory was a chance to deepen his knowledge. He learned ancient Greek and modern Italian. When he graduated in 2003, he was one of only fourteen out of eighty thousand officers in the army with a PhD in philosophy.

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Originally posted to Cogitator on Mon Sep 11, 2006 at 12:56 PM PDT.

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