I am not sure what I think of this:
The Army has filed a criminal assault charge against an American officer who coerced an Iraqi into providing information that foiled a planned attack on U.S. soldiers.
Lt. Col. Allen B. West says he did not physically abuse the detainee, but used psychological pressure by twice firing his service weapon away from the Iraqi. After the shots were fired, the detainee, an Iraqi police officer, gave up the information on a planned attack around the northern Iraqi town of Saba al Boor.
But the Army is taking a dim view of the interrogation tactic. An Army official at the Pentagon confirmed to The Washington Times yesterday that Col. West has been charged with one count of aggravated assault. A military source said an Article 32 hearing has been scheduled in Iraq that could lead to the Army court-martialing Col. West and sending him to prison for a maximum term of eight years.
Some soldiers are privately questioning the Army’s drive to punish the officer for an interrogation technique that likely is used regularly to get information from terrorists.
Col. West’s unit in Iraq operates amid extreme danger. Fighters loyal to ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein are poised at any moment to kill the soldiers in ambushes using explosive devices, guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
I do not condone this type of interrogation (but I know it happens), yet I am sympathetic to an officer doing everything he can to protect his men ina tough situation. Comments?