Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Gen. Petraeus Linked To High-Profile Suicide in Iraq

The scourge of suicides among American troops in Iraq is a serious, and seriously underreported, problem, as this column has observed numerous times in the past three years. One of the few high-profile cases involved a much-admired Army colonel named Ted Westhusing.

A portrait of Westhusing written by T. Christian Miller for the Los Angeles Times in November 2005 (which I covered at the time) revealed that Westhusing, before putting a bullet through his head, had been deeply disturbed by abuses carried out by American contractors in Iraq, including allegations that they had witnessed or even participated in the murder of Iraqis.


His widow, asked by a friend what killed this West Point scholar, had replied simply: "Iraq."

Now, a new article reveals -- based on documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act -- that Westhusing's apparent suicide note included claims that his two commanders tolerated a mission based on "corruption, human right abuses and liars." One of those commanders: the new leader of the "surge" campaign in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus.

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