Military ethicist takes own life in Iraq

Aspazia and the The Goldbricker point to a very sad article from the LA Times.

Military ethicist Col. Ted Westhusing, 44, committed suicide in Iraq earlier this year. He was apparently distraught over allegations that American contractors under his supervision committed human rights abuses.

Westhusing held a doctorate in philosophy. He wrote his dissertation on military honor.

In the months before his death Westhusing had been locked in a bitter struggle between his superiors and military contractors. He suspected the contractors of gouging the government and abusing Iraqis, but his superiors were unwilling to take action.

In his suicide note, Westhusing concluded that there was no place for honor in a conflict like Iraq because profit had eclipsed duty.
"I cannot support a msn [mission] that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars. I am sullied," the note says. "I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored.

"Death before being dishonored any more."
The military psychologist who helped investigate Westhusing's suicide or less proved his point:
She said that Westhusing had placed too much pressure on himself to succeed and that he was unusually rigid in his thinking. Westhusing struggled with the idea that monetary values could outweigh moral ones in war. This, she said, was a flaw.

"Despite his intelligence, his ability to grasp the idea that profit is an important goal for people working in the private sector was surprisingly limited," wrote Lt. Col. Lisa Breitenbach. "He could not shift his mind-set from the military notion of completing a mission irrespective of cost, nor could he change his belief that doing the right thing because it was the right thing to do should be the sole motivator for businesses."
[Mad Melancholic Feminista, The Goldbricker]

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