There is very good news in the case of Lt. Col. Allen West, the army officer accused of mistreating an Iraqi prisoner. Today, the Article 32 investigation concluded that West should not face a general courts martial, and should be offered non-judicial punishment (which means the charges against him will be considered and decided by his superior officers without a court proceeding). West has accepted the NJP, and will meet with Gen. Ray Odierno, the division commander, on Friday morning in Tikrit. West’s attorney, Neal Puckett, says that the general can fine West, but cannot order reduction in rank or other more severe punishments because they are not within his authority. There will be no reduction in rank or imprisonment for Allen West.
The Article 32 report, which I have not yet seen, reportedly reaches some very important conclusions in West’s favor. Because of West’s integrity and honesty in this incident, in light of his 20-year record of service as well as the motivation behind his actions (to save the lives of his men), the Article 32 concludes that West’s dignity should be preserved in whatever action the army may take against him. This is very much the right view of what this man did.
It’s all in Gen. Odierno’s lap now. I’ll let you know when I hear more.