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Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down

 

Chapter Eight

Best of West Point - Then & Not Long Ago

Now that my personal journey in the military has been
told, in stark contrast with the West Point I have portrayed
this last half century, here in this chapter I present two
historical figures from its storied past that represent the
best that the Academy represents. The first is a lesser
known Civil War general and then the most famous West|
Pointer from the last century.


General Warren was the hero
of Gettysburg, the pivotal battle that won the Civil War and
preserved our Union who also happens to be my great-great-
great uncle. Of course in the modern era, no greater leader
has emerged from my alma mater with more impact on America’s
history than General Eisenhower. To illustrate West Point 
leadership at its best in the twenty first century comes the
story of the late great Colonel Ted Westhusing.
Dramatizing the glory of the past amidst the depravity of the present,
the final chapters beyond this one focus on the modern
poster boy for what’s gone wrong with West Point and
America, General Petraeus. Then comes our Empire war machine
that has become the enemy of the world, concluding with our
lost liberty usurped by our current militarized police
state, closing with the Epilogue.
I think it was some time during my third year at West
Point that I first learned of my long lost ancestor named
Gouvernour Kemble Warren, a somewhat famous West Point
graduate and hero of the pivotal, most important battle of
the Civil War Gettysburg. As a cadet I abruptly learned that
General GK Warren was my maternal grandmother’s great uncle
when my mother, the amateur genealogist, made the discovery
researching our family history on the Warren side, the same
lineage dating back to Richard Warren of Mayflower-Pilgrim-
Plymouth fame. I thought it was very cool that I was walking
those same hallowed halls and pathways as the hero of Little
Round Top, whose statues adorn Gettysburg Historic National
Park and even a park in Brooklyn.

My little brother looks up to our uncle at Gettysburg

And the more I knew of my
long lost uncle, the more enthralled and intrigued I became
with his fascinating life and story.
Gouvernour was born on January 8, 1830 in a little
town across the Hudson River from West Point called Cold
Spring, New York. The oldest sibling of a dozen children,
Gouv always had an eye out for taking care of others. The
natural born leader at sixteen years of age entered the US
Military Academy in 1846, graduating in 1850 second in his
class of forty-four cadets. As a Second Lieutenant in the
Corps of Engineers, Warren explored vast territories in the
West, charted maps and surveyed critical ground in
preparation for the Transcontinental Railroad, spanning an
area from Nebraska, the Dakotas west to Montana and Wyoming.
There on the northern Plains he saw his first combat
against the Native American tribe the Lakota Sioux. His
involvement in 1855 at the Battle of Ash Hollow (also known
as Battle of Blue Water or Harney’s Massacre) offers a very
telling account of how white Americans genocided Native
Americans. A couple years earlier a Mormon traveling the
Oregon Trail had a cow “stolen”by a Lakota for food. Rather
than the assigned Indian Agent handling the matter as was
protocol, Fort Laramie sent an overzealous Lieutenant
Grattan and his twenty-nine men with artillery out to
apprehend the cow thief. But instead the trigger-happy
Grattan ended up shooting the Lakota Chief and subsequently
the foolhardy Grattan and his men were killed in the ensuing
shootout. This prompted an order from then President
Franklin Pierce to avenge the 1854 “Grattan Massacre”by
dispatching Brigadier General Harney and his six hundred
soldiers in a “get even”expedition with Lieutenant GK
Warren serving under his command in September 1855 against
only 250 Sioux Indians encamped along the Platte River in
Nebraska Territory. While Harney parleyed with Chief Little
Thunder, he had secretly ordered his cavalry units in a
flanking position just north to block any possible escape.
When the chief refused to hand over warriors responsible for
killing Grattan and his men, just as the Indians discovered
the cavalry poised for attack, Harney opened fire killing 86
Indians, many defenseless women and children seeking shelter
in caves along the riverbank. Though numerous newspapers
heralded the victory over the Sioux, there were a number of
critics who called it an unjustified massacre against
innocent women and children. Though the junior officer was
forced to reluctantly participate in the slaughter, Warren’s
first combat experience proved overwhelmingly gut wrenching.
He knew what happened that day was wrong. In a letter to his
brother describing his gripping first combat encounter, GK
guiltily stated that he could not help but stay up all
night, all bloodied still caring for the hapless wounded
women and children. Unlike the typical military officer who
views any enemy as less than human, especially the Native
American “savages,”Gouverneur was profoundly shaken by the
senseless loss of life and bloodshed. The impact of killing
other human beings gave him pause to think twice about his
leadership role that would necessarily lead to the death of
many others. A decade later this compassionate, humanitarian
desire to save lives in the field of battle would cost him
greatly in the final week of the Civil War.
Warren’s pioneering exploration and land surveying out
West enabled him to create the very first comprehensive map
of America west of the Mississippi River. Gouverneur was
quite the Renaissance man, extremely well read in science,
history and classic literature. Possessing a wide array of
talent, as an artist he rendered meticulous illustrations of
the natural landscapes he encountered in his extensive
travels, accompanied by exhaustively detailed accounts of
his observations, carefully documenting his every challenge
as a civil engineer and bridge builder. Later he worked
extensively along the Mississippi River from its Minnesota
headwaters on down south to its delta basin, building
remarkably constructed bridges across America’s largest
river that still stand today. Engineering talent ran in his
family as his little sister Emily Warren Roebling helped
build the Brooklyn Bridge after her engineer husband took
ill. Hence the Brooklyn connection led to his statue as one
of three Civil War memorials gracing the entrance to
Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.
When the Civil War broke out, Warren was a mathematics
instructor at West Point. Upon promotion to lieutenant
colonel, he quickly assembled and took command of a local
volunteers unit that became the 5New York Infantry. He
and his regiment fared well enough in what turned out to be
the first land engagement of the Civil War, the Battle of
Big Bethel in Virginia, to then be assigned as colonel and
regimental commander.
During the 1862 Peninsula Campaign,
Warren led his troops in the Siege of Yorktown. Utilizing
his engineering skills, he did reconnaissance to map attack
routes up the Virginia Peninsula. He took command of the V
Corps Brigade during Seven Days Battles. Sustaining a
serious knee injury at Battle of Gaines’Mill, he refused to
leave the battlefield for treatment. Under his command, his
brigade successfully turned back a Southern division’s
attack at the Battle of Malvern Hill. At the Second Battle
of Bull Run his troops took heavy casualties, heroically
turning back a brutal assault. In September 1862 Warren
became a brigadier general and led his brigade in the Battle            
of Fredericksburg. Major General Joseph Hooker reorganized
the Army of the Potomac, appointing Warren as his chief
engineer. General Warren again was commended for his
valuable service in the critical Battle of Chancellorsville.
When General Lee invaded north into Pennsylvania, it 
was Warren who advised General Hooker on the best routes the
North should take in pursuit. The fast rising general’s
greatest military achievement came on the second day at the
Battle of Gettysburg when Warren realized a gap in the
Union Army’s flank on top of the highest point of the
historic battlefield at Little Round Top. Warren’s quick
thinking rushed troops in defense to the hilltop arriving
just in time to victoriously turn back the Confederate
forces. This decisive action effectively became the turning
point of the war’s most significant battle that in turn
became the turning point of the entire Civil War in favor of
the Union Army. Up until that moment in time the North had
been losing the War Between the States. General Warren was
again wounded, this time in the neck. After his Gettysburg
heroics, Warren was quickly promoted to Major General, among
the youngest to achieve that high rank at the time.
Despite repeatedly proving himself a dynamic, heroic
and valuable leader in battle after battle, not everyone was
won over by the young general’s leadership style or military            
performance. Out of the egotistical jealousy and cutthroat
competition notoriously engrained in some West Point grads,
the hot tempered five-foot five-inch Philip Sheridan (Class
of 1853), a year younger than Warren, seemed to hold a
personal vendetta against him. Toward the final months of
the Civil War, Warren’s approach and execution into battle
clashed with the more aggressive, reckless style of Sheridan
and Grant. These men favored utilizing superior numbers at
the expense of inflicting enormous amounts of casualties on
their own men than the more thoughtful, careful Warren who,
from his very first carnage in combat with the Sioux, always
considered battle strategies that assured victory but with
minimal human loss. Grant and Sheridan’s MO was simply to
end up with the last troops standing in a war of attrition
regardless of how many of their soldiers paid the fatal
price for their brutality. GK’s superior intelligence and
finesse irritated the lesser IQ endowed Grant and Sheridan,
especially when Warren made suggestions that were quickly
misinterpreted as insolence questioning their authority,
in the end making Warren vulnerable as their chosen enemy.
With both Warren and Sheridan still in their early
thirties and both recognized as the fastest rising young
stars of the Civil War, Sheridan did not hesitate in going
for Warren’s jugular by taking his peer down just one week
prior to the war’s end. General Sheridan knew he had the
distinct advantage in courting the favor of the North’s top
commander, having fought earlier under General Grant on the
western front. Thus, Sheridan had already secured Grant’s
admiration as his superior’s personal young protégé. So when
Sheridan saw his opportunity to eliminate his stiffest
competition for Civil War glory amongst all his peers, upon
re-assignment under Grant to Virginia chasing down what was
left of Lee’s depleted army, Sheridan strategically and
hastily had pre-sought Grant’s permission to relieve Warren
of his V Corps command at the Battle of Five Forks if any
detection of hesitation was observed. To commit such a
grievous wrongdoing -destroying a fellow officer’s career
and subsequent life -Sheridan was merely acting out
aggressively, getting rid of his stiffest competition. He
selfishly exploited and capitalized on both his timing
knowing the war would be over within days and his protégé
status with his superior, using the flimsy lame excuse that
General Warren was too slow in coming to Sheridan’s support.
And when Sheridan personally went to confront Warren with
this bogus accusation, noticing Warren was not at the front
leading his troops, Sheridan seized the moment and relieved
Warren of his command right there on the spot. Sheridan’s
egregiously unjust transgression infamously stands out as
one the most blatant examples in military history of how
one West Pointer ruined the career of another West Pointer. 
This evil cloak and dagger tactic of course is not uncommon
amongst those West Point leaders who operate immorally
driven by their own blind ambition for glory, fame and power
at any cost. Gouverneur Warren, a less aggressive, more
thoughtful, more humane and honorable man, in protest
resigned his commission as a major general of volunteers on
May 27, 1865. Though he continued working in the Corps of
Engineers at the permanent rank of a lowly, humiliated
major, Warren built railroads and bridges over the next
seventeen years in the Mississippi River region.
Gouverneur Warren struggled the rest of his entire life
trying desperately to right the wrong that had been done to
him. Unfortunately timing again was not on his side as soon
Grant became the eighteenth US President and of course
constantly thwarted and turned down Warren’s repeated
requests for a court of inquiry in efforts to exonerate
himself. Finally the same year Warren was promoted to
lieutenant colonel in 1879, then President Rutherford Hayes
ultimately granted the fallen hero his day in court. So many
years later the long and lengthy inquiry lasted more than a
hundred days of heated testimony that included formidable
opposition from the likes of Sheridan, Grant and General
Sherman. But according to Eric Wittenberg’s 2002 book
entitled “Little Phil: A Reassessment of the Civil War
Leadership of General Philip H. Sheridan,”Sheridan was
completely in the wrong, concluding that Warren was exactly
where he should have been that fateful day when Sheridan
arrived on the scene: “General Warren in fact was handling
dispositions of his divisions in a manner consistent with
that of a corps commander, and the attack by the V Corps
carried the day at Five Forks, arguably the pivotal battle
in the final days against Lee’s army.”The 1880 inquest
agreed that it was Sheridan who wrongly acted that day in
1865. Tragically by the time those findings clearing my
uncle’s name were finally published in 1882, Gouverneur
Warren had died just three months earlier. My honorable
uncle felt so humiliated by his ruined career and seeming
inability to right the wrong the last bitter years of his
life that he opted to forego a military honors burial at his
funeral. Maliciously, willfully destroying a brilliant man’s
life and career cost Sheridan absolutely nothing. In fact, a 
year after Warren’s death, Sheridan was rewarded with the
promotion as Commanding General of the US Army. In 1888 just
prior to his own death, Sheridan rose to the same pinnacle
his cronies Sherman and Grant had attained, General of the
Army of the United States. After the Civil War the ever-
bloodthirsty General Sheridan was eager for more battle,
making even more of a name for himself with the infamous
quote, “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.”Sheridan
relished in his murderous role along with his West Point
buddy General “Tecumseh”Sherman in eliminating as many
Native Americans out West as their evil-doing genocide
allowed.
This telling story of my long lost family relative
epitomizes the premise of my entire presentation -how evil
is too often rewarded in the highest echelons of power while
humility and leadership greatness too often are either
overlooked or willfully destroyed. With such a promising
career and life cut so short at the relatively young age of
just fifty-two, after thirty two years of nothing but
outstanding military service to America, until his nemesis
came along, GK Warren seemed destined for greatness with so
much talent, leadership, and humanity going for him. But
with such a travesty of justice inflicted on my uncle,
despite his remarkable life and accomplishments, due to one
man’s evil act, the full potential of what he could have
achieved and given to his country was totally crushed. I
find this sad irony both fateful and fitting that nearly a
century later I would suddenly first and find out about my great
uncle as a fellow West Pointer while on the verge of my own
historical crossroads, trying to right yet another wrong
this time being done to me as a cadet. But I’m certain ol’
Gouv was smiling down on me for my triumph despite him not
living quite long enough to see his. General Warren
represented the positive kind of leadership that leads by
example, that demonstrates genuine care and concern for his
soldiers and is always looking out for their best interest
over his own. Thanks “unc”for your incredible contributions
during America’s darkest hour. And especially thanks for
your inspiration for the ages. Your gifted leadership to
your nation is a legacy I can only hope to approach.

#

Born into a large hardworking German immigrant family
and raised on a Kansas farm, young Dwight David Eisenhower’s
humble roots never wore off. Eisenhower graduated from West
Point with the class of 1915, the class the stars fell on
because one third of the graduates went on to becoming
generals, including Eisenhower’s right hand man during the
Second World War General Omar Bradley. Though as a cadet
Eisenhower played football and enjoyed competition and
military life, he was not an advocate toward the demeaning
Fourth Class system of hazing first year cadets, believing
that a system that humiliates, disrespects, demeans and
bullies other humans is a very poor way to train America’s
future leaders. He also objected to the thousands of silly,
insipid rules that mean so much to the hierarchy in the name
of discipline. Ike failed to see how compliance with petty
ridiculous rules makes one any more disciplined or a better
leader. His down to earth common sense approach to positive
leadership placed far more value on a leader’s respect and
genuine care toward his troops.


So even one of the greatest             
West Point leaders of all time, Dwight Eisenhower, as early
as early twentieth century America, recognized the Academy’s
serious deficiencies in its leadership training. Eisenhower
instinctively knew that effective leadership hinged on the
relationship between leader and subordinate. Demonstrating
understanding, concern and placing his men’s needs over his
own were key elements that engendered a relationship of
mutual respect and trust that would meet and overcome nearly
any challenge. Both Bradley and Eisenhower implicitly
understood this key component that inspired their troops to
amazing heights of achievement. This kind of leadership
again was the kind I felt most comfortable gravitating
towards and emulating. They led by example and wanted the
best for their men. And knew decisions that placed them in
harm’s way were decisions that needed to be made with as
much information, knowledge and deliberation as is humanly
possible. They got it, what good leadership was all about.
And it carried their forces to victory.
Dwight David Eisenhower’s humility, disarming smile and
integrity made him not only likeable Ike but instilled an
instant trust in people. Ike’s organizational skills were
what permitted the Supreme Allied Commander to successfully
oversee the grandest, most ambitious amphibious invasion in
history, in charge of the greatest air and sea armadas ever
assembled and leading 160,000 soldiers to eventual triumph
in Europe.
As US President Eisenhower foresaw the critical
importance of providing a strong infrastructure to the
nation’s transportation system and the interstate highway
system we so often take for granted today was built under
Eisenhower’s leadership. The Fifties are considered perhaps
the most economically sound era for America during our
modern history. More jobs were available and unemployment
was at a near all time low. Housing was also inexpensive and
plenty available. The actualization of the American dream
was readily within reach of more Americans at that time than
any time prior or since. Industry and mass production were
strong as America fast became a consumer nation, and by no
coincidence the most powerful country on earth. However, 
Eisenhower did permit the CIA too much power during the
rising cold war tensions between America and the Communist
bloc nations, resulting in assassinations of democratically
minded leaders in Iran and Argentina. And of course the vast
rapid growth of America’s military industrial complex was on
his watch as well, despite his farewell speech warning
America against its future threat to our liberties and
democratic principles that have now been usurped and
overtaken by its cancerous spread.
West Point leadership since Bradley and Eisenhower has
suffered from inept incompetence to sinister megalomaniacal
doom and gloom. And the civilian leadership in this nation
has slithered into the gutter as well. For half a century
West Point has been punching out rule pushing bureaucrats
playing the high stake politics game as militant bidders and
executioners of a bankrupt corporate oligarchy elite gone
amuck all over the globe, placing all of humanity as hostage
in a neo-system of global economic slavery and bondage. Gone
are the Robert E Lees, the Omar Bradley’s and the Dwight D
Eisenhower’s. The corrupt and evil system will simply not
permit a leader with integrity, morality and strength to
ever flourish in the global toilet bowl of today’s politics.
As Douglas MacArthur proclaimed, old soldiers may never
die, but their positive leadership apparently died with
them. With the rise of the military industrial complex after
World War II, West Point began churning out cookie cutter
leaders who were no more than bureaucratic politicians, no
longer producing the same dynamic military warriors of the
glory days of yesteryear. Focus on exploiting technology to
gain military superiority over potential enemies with the
hi-tech weaponry produced by the growing military industrial
complex, brought a new kind of leadership to the fore.
Pentagon generals fell in bed with the Lockheed’s and
Northrop’s, becoming their lobbying prostitutes before
Congress, hyping up fear propaganda as a means of procuring
their latest expensive destructive toys as their weapons of
mass destruction that only American Empire forces are
ordained to use as its killing machine.

#

Though my portrayal of West Point leadership in the
last half century has been anything but positive, as alluded
to before a minority of contemporary officers have
demonstrated heroic leadership and character that truly
exemplify the best of the Long Gray Line. One such officer
is the late Colonel Westhusing who died in Iraq in June
2005. Theodore “Ted”Westhusing was born November 17, 1960
in Dallas, Texas into a large close-knit Christian family
among seven children. Ted stood out from the beginning.
After moving to a small Oklahoma town, in high school he
became a National Merit Scholar and nearly went to the state
basketball finals as the over-achieving point guard. He was
so devoted to his basketball that every morning at seven he
would shoot 100 jump shots before classes even began. Though
he could have attended any college he chose, Ted was
enamored by members of his family’s illustrious military
service and selected West Point as his undergraduate
collegiate destination. His father was a Korean War veteran
who later served in the Navy Reserves. Ted possessed both a
commitment and compassion in everything he did. With his
passion for justice guiding him, the West Point motto “duty,
honor, country”meant everything to Ted. His final year at
the Academy he was chosen to be the honor captain, the
highest ranking ethics official within the entire Corps of Cadets.

Honor captain cadet Westhusing

Cadet Westhusing was also an outstanding student,
graduating third in his West Point Class of 1983.
As an Army Infantry officer, Ted completed Ranger
school, served in Italy, Honduras and South Korea, and the
82 nd Airborne Division under then Colonel David Petraeus at
Fort Bragg. Ted became fluent in both Italian and Russian
and also earned a masters and then later a PhD in philosophy
from Emory University, choosing that particular school
because it uniquely offered graduate programs in both
classical Greek and Roman history as well as military
philosophy. His expertise in classical military history led
him to becoming an adviser for the film “Troy”where he
explained military planning and troop movement to the
filmmakers.Ted’s military service dedication and academic
brilliance were rewarded in a lifetime teaching position at
the US Military Academy where he served as a professor in
both philosophy and English. Though happily married with
three children, when given the chance to round out his
leadership experience by participating in the Iraq War,
Lieutenant Colonel Westhusing volunteered to oversee
training operations of Iraqi security forces, again serving
under General Petraeus’command of special operations in
Iraq.
Initially when Westhusing arrived on the scene in
Baghdad in January 2005, he and Petraeus had an ongoing
mutual admiration society with King David anointing Ted a
full bird colonel. Three star General Petraeus was
instrumental in outsourcing the US military with privatized
civilian contractors, replacing military personnel that
historically performed all previous logistics, training and
support services in American wars throughout its history.
Thus, Colonel Westhusing’s Iraq War assignment involved
working closely with the Virginia based, no bid, Carlyle
Group owned private contractor United States Investigative
Services (USIS) that held a 79 million dollar contract with
the Pentagon. Of course having the sitting US President Bush
owning shares in these civilian outsourcing companies that
changed the way America was fighting its wars was nothing
new under the Bush-Cheney regime. Shortly before Cheney
became the US Vice President, he was the CEO of Halliburton,
another giant no bid contractor given multimillion dollar
contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan and the United States.
The corruption, theft and greed of the neocon war
criminals in charge clashed with the ideals and morays of
the 44-year old Army officer that represented West Point at
its best. The professional ethicist and scholar from West
Point was shocked to learn that the real world politics of
modern dirty Empire wars necessarily involved theft,
corruption, greed and war crimes on an unprecedented global
scale. In May 2005 Westhusing’s world began rapidly
unraveling upon receiving an anonymous four page letter from
a USIS insider citing various violations that the huge
private contractor was regularly engaging in there in Iraq.
It exposed greedy civilian USIS contractors ripping off the
government for millions of dollars with stolen equipment,
weapons, electronics, helmets that the company swept under
the carpet by falsely claiming it was lost on loan to the
irresponsible Iraqis. To cut corners even further in order
to increase profits, the company was also alleged to have
supplied a gross shortage of instructors to train the Iraqi
security forces. But most serious was the charge that
American USIS civilian contractors bragged about shooting
Iraqi citizens during the siege of Fallujah and other
aggressively covert patrols. It was against both US and Iraq
law for private contractors to engage in combat missions,
the one job in Iraq that was still designated to be
fulfilled by military personnel only. Of course
indiscriminant shooting and killing of Iraqi civilians also
constitute serious war crime atrocities.

Colonel Westhusing on duty in Iraq

When Ted Westhusing was confronted with the reality of
what was really going on in Iraq, he immediately let his
superior officers know and called for an investigation per
proper chain of command protocol. However, the colonel
became disheartened when the two generals -three star
Petraeus and two star Fil -in so many words told him to
keep his mouth shut and play the game. After all, Petraeus
was responsible more than any other single general for
outsourcing the neocon wars with corrupt private civilian
contractors. Also at that time Petraeus was overseeing the
training of Iraqi death squad commandos marauding through
Iraq’s city streets block by block systematically invading
homes, murdering families, and detaining innocent Iraqi
males for prison torture. This is how US counterinsurgency
wars are fought by the man who wrote the book on
counterinsurgency warfare. Collateral damage is merely a
secondary afterthought in the business of rooting out
potential enemy insurgents.
Upon realizing General Petraeus never had his back and
that Colonel Westhusing was merely a growing problem in the
business-as-usual method of modern US imperialistic warfare,
Ted Westhusing increasingly confronted USIS management with
the alleged evidence of their wrongdoing. During his final
weeks alive, the open hostilities and tensions between Ted
and USIS personnel were mounting daily. Ted spoke on the
phone and regularly emailed his wife and family members
alluding to the growing danger of his own safety. Though he
never specified any overt threats made toward him by USIS
adversaries, he did reveal that “terrible things are going
on in Iraq”and only going from bad to worse. He also said
he hoped he would make it back to the United States alive.
Ted’s wife Michelle had her last phone conversation with her
husband lasting about a half hour exactly two weeks to the
day prior to his death. She knew from his voice that his
life was increasingly in peril. Though bodyguards were
generally not assigned to military officers in Iraq other
than to King David himself, Michelle and Ted’s family
members insist that Colonel Westhusing had in fact been
assigned a bodyguard that had suddenly been granted a leave
of absence when the colonel that final weekend of his life
traveled to Camp Dublin to the USIS headquarters near the
Baghdad airport. That Saturday morning the day before his
death the colonel had a very contentious meeting with the
USIS private contractors. Ted had also uncovered a link
between death squad commando units from the Iran-Contra
affair and current death squads trained and killing in Iraq.
By this time word was out that the super honest colonel
threatened to go public with the filth he had uncovered at
USIS. That same day Ted attended the scheduled demonstration
put on by freshly trained Iraqi security forces to show just
how skilled and adept they were fresh off their “successful,
effective”USIS training. It was all for show as Ted knew
the darker truth. Just hours before his death, Colonel
Westhusing also had an extremely heated and confrontational
meeting with General Petraeus over the USIS charges and what
was to be done about it. By lunchtime that Sunday June 5,
2005, just prior to his scheduled departure to return to his
regular headquarters in the green zone, Ted Westhusing was
found face up lying on the floor in a pool of blood in his
trailer, dead from a gunshot wound to his head, becoming the
highest ranking soldier to die in Iraq at the time.
Since this case was extremely high profile, the US Army
and later the US Congress both launched investigations into
Westhusing’s untimely death, both ultimately concluding that
the demoralized colonel died from a self-inflicted head
wound from his own revolver with a suicide note allegedly
found on his bed. Part of Ted’s alleged suicide note written 
to General Petraeus published in the Texas Observer in March
2007 follows below:
“Thanks for telling me it was a good day until I briefed
you. [Redacted name General Petraeus] -You are only
interested in your career and provide no support to your
staff -no msn [mission] support and you don’t care. I
cannot support a msn that leads to corruption, human
right abuses and liars. I am sullied no more. I didn’t
volunteer to support corrupt, money grubbing contractors,
nor work for commanders only interested in themselves. I
came to serve honorably and feel dishonored. I trust no
Iraqi. I cannot live this way. All my love to my family,
my wife and my precious children. I love you and trust
you only. Death before being dishonored any more. Trust
is essential -I don’t know who to trust anymore. Why
serve when you cannot accomplish the mission, when you no
longer believe in the cause, when your every effort and
breath to succeed meets with lies, lack of support, and
selfishness? No more. Reevaluate yourselves, commanders.
You are not what you think you are and I know it. Life
needs trust. Trust is no more for me here in Iraq.”
Three of seven numbered pages from his suicide note
went undisclosed during the investigation, which begs for
further explanation and opens a floodgate of unanswered
questions. Ted’s suicide note apparently was part of a
journal he had been compiling to chronicle issues and
events. And then raising even more suspicion, other pages
from his journal were purposely omitted from the Army’s
final report because they were considered “too sensitive
government issues.”
Clearly the colonel felt betrayed by his commander
Petraeus in the wake of Ted’s efforts to alert him as to the
immoral and illegal activities of USIS. Yet every last
allegation about USIS improprieties proved unfounded
according to the official inquiry released three months
later. That said, today common public knowledge has long
since accepted the fact that obscene amounts of US taxpayer
dollars in cash and millions more in unaccounted weapons and
equipment in Iraq were looted and stolen by various military
industrial complex war profiteers. Human rights violations
as war crime atrocities have also been documented later by
whistleblower Private Bradley Manning. Despite those bogus
“official”findings, subsequently confirmed rampant
corruption and misconduct in Iraq were committed regularly
by the same privatized profiteers with whom Colonel Ted
Westhusing was confronting and exposing right up until his
death. To vindicate Westhusing’s accusations and discredit
the previous finding that exonerated USIS of any misconduct,
two years after his death in August 2007 the Government
Accountability Office disclosed that the Pentagon could not
account for 110,000 AK-47 assault rifles, 80,000 pistols,
135,000 items of body armor and 115,000 helmets all planned
for use by Iraqi security forces.
To maintain the appearance that the Army really cared
about Ted, both Generals Petraeus and Fil had the audacity
to fly back to the US to attend the colonel’s funeral at
West Point. No sooner was Ted buried before Petraeus was
then suddenly heading off to his next assignment, not in
Iraq but Fort Leavenworth, while Fil was off to Fort Hood.
The Army saw to it that both brass were conveniently and
safely far enough away from any subsequent connection with
Iraq war crimes and Westhusing’s untimely ending crying foul
about what they were both privy to and responsible for.
A postscript to General Fil, as Eighth Army commander
in South Korea, he apparently received kickbacks from a
wealthy, prominent local Korean businessman. In early 2013
Washington Post reporter Craig Whitlock broke the story
that the three star General Fil wrongfully accepted a $1500
set of gold-plated pens, a $2000 leather briefcase and
allowed a "family member" to accept $3000 in cash.
Ironically of all things, Fil was slated to become the
Inspector General at the Pentagon when he was busted.
Instead he lost a star and retired in disgrace. Both of
Ted’s “superior officers”in Iraq -Generals Fil and
Petraeus -who after Ted’s demise went on thriving in the
military system that rewards lies and corruption. But in the
end, each brought dishonor and humiliation onto themselves
in a classic case of just deserts.
To a person all of Ted’s family members, classmates and
friends believe that the consummate professional soldier was
murdered in action. He became a growing threat revealing the
evildoing of greedy war profiteers with direct ties to
President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary
Rumsfeld and future CIA Director Petraeus. Though perhaps
insufficient evidence exists to convict the responsible
guilty party or parties in a court of law for murder,
Colonel Westhusing either way was a casualty of war. And
just the same, a strong body of circumstantial evidence
makes for a very serious and solid case of suspected murder
and assassination.
The systematic practice of eliminating individuals who
pose an imagined or real threat of exposing the ugly truth
about status quo clandestine operations committed by the
powerful in America is nothing new. Most American citizens
believe that President Kennedy was not assassinated by a
lone gunman, but that elements of our own government were
also involved. Many witnesses and potential whistleblowers
have since been mysteriously killed. Cover-ups in America
have long been maintained by customarily dismissing any and
all conspiracy theories as mere unsubstantiated speculation
despite whatever evidence is emerging to prove they are in
fact true. This gross and blatant form of denial of reality
is simply how our nation’s leaders continue living their
lies, of course aided and abetted by ongoing propaganda and
disinformation pumped out nonstop by mainstream media. As
the incriminating facts do slowly get uncovered over time,
more Americans are now coming to believe and accept more
than ever before that even 9/11 and the so called war on
terror may have all been an inside job perpetrated by the
neocon regime and only continued under Obama. Last June
muckraking journalist Michael Hastings was most likely
murdered for nearly blowing the shady lid off current US
intelligence agencies’illicit and unconstitutional
activities. For the growing legions of Americans who no
longer place any trust in the official party line spun by
our government propaganda machine, the following account of
facts surrounding this case of Colonel Westhusing’s
suspicious death is presented for consideration.
Ted Westhusing was born and raised a devout, practicing
Roman Catholic. And committing suicide is nothing short of a
sin to all Catholics. Ted was happily married and loved his
wife and children as much as any husband and father. All who
knew Ted also knew this to be fact. At the time of his death
Ted also loved his job as a West Point professor and was
merely three short weeks away from returning to his prior
life and family he loved so much awaiting him back in the
States. At no point did he share any thoughts of suicide
with anyone, not even with his closest family and friends
who knew him best. Not even for a moment does any one of
them believe that Ted would actually throw away his life and
abandon those he loved and cherished so much. On the morning
of the very day he died prior to his Petraeus meeting, Ted
sent a thoughtful email message wishing his mother a happy
birthday. That such a devoted Catholic ethicist, loving son
and moral warrior would commit such a forbidden sin on his
own mother’s birthday is far less believable than a corrupt
company made up of lying, murderous mercenaries run by the
lying, murderous Bush family doing him in to preserve its
own reputation and 79 million dollar defense contract.
The USIS manager that allegedly discovered his lifeless
body had gone to his quarters initially by himself, knocked
on the door several times, called out his name and even
attempted to enter but observed that the door was locked.
When fifteen minutes later he returned with a colleague who
peered through the blinds and noticed the colonel laying in
blood on the floor, the USIS manager explicitly stated that
that same locked door fifteen minutes earlier was suddenly
and mysteriously found to be unlocked. That same manager
then picked up the revolver allegedly used laying on the
floor near Westhusing’s body. His account maintains the gun
was near his head yet another witness stated it was near his
feet. The manager obviously knew he was tampering with
crucial evidence by placing his fingerprints all over the
pistol used to kill the colonel, coming up with the lame
feeble excuse that since it still was loaded, knowing people
would soon be arriving on the scene, for safety purposes he
took it upon himself to unload the weapon. Moreover, in the
Army’s rush to rule the death a suicide, only Westhusing’s
fingers were tested for gunpowder traces, conveniently
failing to even bother testing the manager that admitted to
tampering with the lethal weapon. A pair of suspicious
plastic gloves were also found at the crime scene.
A USIS secretary whose living quarters were attached to
Westhusing’s trailer at Camp Dublin went on record stating
that she heard loud voices coming from the colonel’s
quarters around lunchtime not long before the USIS manager’s
account. She concluded it was either Westhusing talking
loudly to himself, alluding to observing the colonel’s
eccentric behavior earlier that weekend, or that Westhusing
was possibly talking to a cleaning crew supervisor who spoke
English. She explained she could not make out the content of
what was being said but only that the voice or voices she
heard were in English and could identify one voice as
definitely Westhusing’s. In spite of being within earshot of
the colonel, strangely enough she claimed she never heard
any gun go off, yet its noise is far louder than a voice.
Because Colonel Westhusing died on USIS turf, all the
witnesses interviewed during the subsequent investigation
were limited exclusively to USIS employees that would be
sure to tow the company line. Their sworn testimony
described Westhusing’s behavior that weekend as highly
disturbed, incessantly scratching the back of his head,
staring blankly into space or at his computer screen,
repeatedly scratching his legs uncontrollably, periodically
removing his revolver from his holster and fidgeting with
it. The Army psychologist subsequently brought in to
investigate and assess Westhusing’s psychological state at
the time of his death concluded that his rigid moral
convictions and beliefs could not accept the reality that
the war in Iraq with which he found himself participating
was largely waged by private civilian contractors driven by
the profit motive rather than the military officer’s own
credo of “duty, honor, country.”She felt his response to
become so demoralized, severely depressed and nearly
despondent over this clash between his moral West Point high
ground and the reality he witnessed on the ground there
pushed him over the edge to commit suicide, calling it an
inherent characterological weakness in the colonel’s
incapacity to reconcile the two.
Meanwhile, a renowned expert in forensic and clinical
psychiatry, Dr. Lawson Bernstein, discussing the case stated
that a self-inflicted gunshot wound behind the ear is
extremely rare since suicide by gunshot is most commonly
executed by aiming the barrel of the gun toward the mouth or
temple, and never in his extensive experience has suicide
resulted from reaching behind one’s left ear to pull the
trigger. The medical practitioner concluded that Ted
Westhusing was either murdered or killed himself wanting it
to appear like a murder. Simply put, shooting someone in the
head from behind is far more typical of an execution-style
murder than a suicide by self-inflicted gunshot.
That all USIS employees would portray Colonel
Westhusing as a severely depressed individual but not quite
so severe as to actually think he would commit suicide is
exactly what USIS would want to project, so as to absolve
its personnel from any suspicion or blame. Even though the
colonel had a series of increasingly heated arguments and
confrontations openly accusing the contractors of misconduct
and greed, predictably for all too obvious reasons, none of
them went on record acknowledging any major conflict or bad
blood between them and the colonel. And of course the DoD
investigators never much pursued that pink elephant in the
room that most likely killed Ted since the Army’s agenda was
to simply whitewash and quickly sweep the truth under the
rug. After all, the unholy marriage between Petraeus’
outsourced Army and Bush’s privatization war was self-
servingly never about the truth. From the very start it had
been built on lies upon lies. Because too much was at stake
with Colonel Westhusing still alive, it seems all too likely
a decision was made that he simply had to be put down.
Far more objective and knowledgeable than I can be,
there are inside government investigators that reviewed the
facts of the case that off the record concluded that Colonel
Westhusing was murdered. In a February 2008 Texas Observer
article, reporter Robert Bryce opened with: “Since last
March, when I wrote a story about the apparent suicide of
Colonel Ted Westhusing in Iraq, I had believed there was
nothing else to write about his tragic death.”But in
December 2007 he interviewed a Department of Defense (DoD)
source who explained that he met Ted Westhusing in Iraq
about three months prior to his death. For obvious reasons
the source requested that he remain unidentified. At the
time he was investigating claims of wrongdoing against the
very same military contractors in Iraq.
When Robert Bryce asked him what he thought had
happened to Westhusing, the DoD investigator replied, “I
think he was killed. I honestly do. I think he was murdered.
Maybe the DoD didn’t have enough evidence to call it murder,
so they called it suicide.”
My own admittedly biased take on Colonel Ted
Westhusing’s death is that he was assassinated by one or
more USIS personnel probably when the secretary in close
enough proximity heard the loud voices one of which belonged
to the colonel. Of course no surprise that she would
conveniently omit and deny hearing any gunshot go off. After
all, had she told the whole truth and incriminated her
company for murder, she too would have been silenced. Per
Wikipidia, “a DoD Army report stated that an administrator
near his trailer had heard a very loud argument in Colonel
Westhusing’s office trailer before he was found dead by the
contractor.”Despite accounts overhearing voices from Ted’s
trailer on the same timeline, no apparent gunshot was ever
reported.
I believe that Ted’s suicide note is real,
authenticated both by investigating authorities as well as
Ted’s wife who stated that his handwritten note contained
the exact same language and sentiments she had heard her
husband utter before. I believe that it may have been
written under duress at gunpoint, composing his final
remarks knowing he was about to be murdered. Or even more
likely, some or all of it may have been taken directly out
of the journal he had been writing. In any event, Ted
Westhusing held true to his convictions right to the end as
the honorable and brave officer that he was, fulfilling his
mission that he had volunteered for in Iraq to become the
battle-tested warrior he ended up in the end. Colonel
Westhusing gave his life to his country but did not die in
vain. His spirit and will to live by his own integrity in
telling the truth is his invaluable legacy for all of us
humans who also believe in and value truth and justice. Rest
in peace America’s premier fallen moral warrior.
Like my Civil War uncle who was falsely accused by evil
powerful West Point generals and died a premature death as a
result, it seems another great West Point leader this time
from the modern era was falsely accused of killing himself
and murdered too young by equally powerful sinister forces.
Colonel Ted Westhusing’s goodness, honor and tragic death in
contrast with the soiled bloody hands of General Petraeus
segue fittingly into a poignant introduction to West Point
at its very worst. The next chapter features in detail the
poster boy himself General David Petraeus as the embodiment
of toxic West Point leadership. America’s most infamous
living general’s worst sins have never been fully exposed.
The sins committed as the war criminal he is are far more
evil and sinister than any sin he committed as an adulterer.
Yet it was ironically the sin of adultery that prevented him
from becoming the next President of the United States.
Ultimately both history and God will be his judge.
If there ever were West Pointers who lived up to the
eloquently expressed ideals of the Cadet Prayer below, it
was GK Warren, Dwight D. Eisenhower and especially Ted
Westhusing.
Cadet Prayer
O God, our Father, Thou Searcher of Human hearts, help
us to draw near to Thee in sincerity and truth. May our
religion be filled with gladness and may our worship of
Thee be natural.
Strengthen and increase our admiration for honest
dealing and clean thinking, and suffer not our hatred
of hypocrisy and pretence ever to diminish. Encourage
us in our endeavor to live above the common level of
life. Make us to choose the harder right instead of the
easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth
when the whole can be won.
Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all
that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise
with vice and injustice and knows no fear when truth
and right are in jeopardy.
Guard us against flippancy and irreverence in the
sacred things of life. Grant us new ties of friendship
and new opportunities of service. Kindle our hearts in
fellowship with those of a cheerful countenance, and
soften our hearts with sympathy for those who sorrow
and suffer.
Help us to maintain the honor of the Corps untarnished
and unsullied and to show forth in our lives the ideals
of West Point in doing our duty to Thee and to our
Country.
All of which we ask in the name of the Great Friend and
Master of all.
Amen

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