Story of an Army Colonel, Suicide and War

Before taking his life in Iraq, Col. Ted Westhusing said the military code of duty, honor and country had been replaced by profit motives

T. Christian Miller
Los Angeles Times, Nov. 27, 2005

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….

Army Col. Ted Westhusing was the highest-ranking officer to die in Iraq when he died from a gunshot wound to the head


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upset by one conclusion he had reached: that traditional military values such as duty, honor and country had been replaced by profit motives in Iraq, where the U.S. had come to rely heavily on contractors for jobs once done by the military….

Read the rest of this story:

http://articles.latimes.com/2005/nov/27/world/fg-colonel27

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