LCOL West hearing result – U.S. officer fined for harsh interrogation tactics

TIKRIT, Iraq (CNN) — The commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division’s [sic] on Friday accepted a U.S. military investigator’s recommendation and ordered administrative action against Lt. Col. Allen West, who was accused of using improper methods to force information out of an Iraqi detainee.

Following a military hearing, West was fined $5,000 over two months, according to West’s civillian attorney, Neal Puckett.

The punishment does not affect West’s eligibility for retirement and pension, Puckett said in a statement.

West, 42, will be assigned to the rear detachment of the 4th Infantry Division awaiting the processing of his retirement request, the statement said.

I think justice was done in this case, and that everyone concerned can declare victory.

First, the rule of law is preserved. There is no open season declared on Iraqis, and a commander who decides to break the rules gets punished.

Second, the punishment is painful but not excessive. His potential punishments ranged up to a GCM and 11 years in military prison, in addition to losing his rank and retirement. Five thousand dollars, about a months’ pay, is a managable fine. His family may well feel the pinch more than he will, which will make it a real punishment.

And the worst punishment of all: he’s being reassigned to a rear area command while awaiting retirement.

I don’t have any personal knowledge of LCOL West, but he seems to be the kind of commander I’d want to serve with. The Army is losing a good man. I hope someone on the Army side of the world is starting a collection to help LCOL West with this fine.

12-13 Update: Yes, there is a Defense Fund:

Allen West Defense Fund
c/o Angela West
6823 Coleman Dr.
Ft. Hood, TX 76544

Many thanks to Jessicas’ Well for the steer.