Sunday, January 22, 2006

I Knew Chief Welshofher. 
Chief Welshofher was a friend of mine.

Lynndie England, you're no Chief Welshofher.

Seriously, I did know Chief Welshofer when he was an intelligence warrant officer with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, working out of Al Asad. I was in charge of transporting two or three truckloads of detainees up to his crew every couple of days for the summer of 2003, and would get a chance to chat with him once a week or so.

On several occasions, if we captured a high profile target, we'd make a special trip up and it usually seemed to be Chief Welshofer waiting up for the guy.

Welshofer wasn't an easy interrogator. I've seen him work. But I've never seen him lay a hand on anyone, or harm anyone in any way. Of course, I was a commissioned officer, too, while he was a warrant - and I never saw him question a bigwig.

I never saw Chief Welshofer do or suggest anything that was illegal or unethical.

That said, the defense was pathetic. The chain of command is, by law, not allowed to authorize torture, or anything else illegal. If this guy had his air blocked to the point he died, I can't imagine how that wouldn't qualify as torture, by any definition (yet Welshofer was acquitted of assault. Is it a lesser included offense with the involuntary manslaugher?)

Anyway, I knew and liked and respected Chief Welshofer, so I am saddened to see that this happened and that Chief Welshofer is responsible for this man's death.

I don't question Welshofer's motives. He wanted to win the war. He wanted to save American lives and Iraqi lives. He was willing to be the bad guy to make that happen.

But your prisoners aren't supposed to wind up dead. That's not how the U.S. does business. We cannot tolerate that in any facility, from any rank.

Good for the Army for investigating. I wish it were different.

Splash, out


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