Soldier Who Beat Iraqi Prisoner Receives Fine as Sanction

Lt. Col. Allen West was fined $5,000.00 for his misconduct towards an Iraqi prisoner.

In testimony at an Article 32 hearing -- the military's version of a grand jury or preliminary hearing -- West said the policeman, Yahya Jhrodi Hamoody, was not cooperating with interrogators, so he watched four of his soldiers from the 220th Field Artillery Battalion beat the detainee on the head and body.

West said he also threatened to kill Hamoody. Military prosecutors say West followed up on that threat by taking the suspect outside, put him on the ground near a weapons clearing barrel and fired his 9 mm pistol into the barrel.
Apparently not knowing where West's gun was aimed, Hamoody cracked and gave information about the planned ambush on West's convoy, thwarting the attack.

The decision was met by criticism from military prosecutors:

But while West's supporters call him a hero, military prosecutors said his actions amounted to torture and violated articles 128 and 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Prosecutor Capt. Magdalena Pezytulska said West should be tried for assault and for communicating a threat. "This is a case about a man who lost his temper," she argued. "There are consequences for [West's] actions."

West retains his eligibility for retirement and his pension. We don't begrudge him his pension or retirement benefits, he had 20 blemish-free years and earned them. As to the fine and lack of criminal sanction, that's what we in the industry call, "a kiss."

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