Never Forget

… the terrible circumstances in which this administration has placed our people in the military, through its laziness, incompetence, cronyism, and indifference.

With the Pentagon’s inspector general set to arrive in Iraq in a few weeks to personally investigate allegations of corruption in, among other places, the training of Iraqi security forces, it’s worth remembering that suspicions of wrongdoing in the command led one officer to take his own life out of apparent shame. In a suicide note left on his bed in Baghdad, Lt. Colonel Ted Westhusing wrote, “I didn’t volunteer to support corrupt, money grubbing contractors, nor work for commanders only interested in themselves.” Westhusing, 44, killed himself on June 5, 2005. …

On June 5, at a USIS meeting at the military complex surrounding Baghdad International Airport, Westhusing expressed anger at construction delays, funding shortfalls and delays in training Iraqis. He excused himself during a noontime break. When a colleague went looking for him, he found Westhusing face-down on the floor in a pool of blood. There was gunpowder residue on his hands; after a three-month investigation, Westhusing’s death was ruled a suicide.

Investigators discovered a note in his trailer that “lashed out” at Petraeus and Fil, and ended, “I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored. Death before being dishonored any more.”

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