Exonerate Lt. Col. Allen B. West From Criminal Prosecution
To President George Bush, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and acting Secretary of the Army Secretary Les Brownlee:
We, the people of these United States, rightfully petition our President, House of Representatives, Senate and Department of Defense on behalf of Army Lt. Col. Allen B. West. Col. West, together with his fellow line officers engaged in combat with terrorists in Iraq, has been ordered to complete a difficult mission under impossible circumstances. U.S. forces in Iraq are not engaged in conventional warfare. They are facing a terrorist enemy who blends into the civilian population -- hiding behind women and children -- only to reemerge to conduct deadly attacks against our troops, themselves fettered by the rules used to govern traditional wars. Col. West's own battalion faces such attacks almost every day.
While we acknowledge that U.S. soldiers have an obligation to adhere to a higher standard than their enemy counterparts, and that the Uniform Code of Military Justice is a fair and just standard in ordinary cases, we believe the circumstances surrounding Col. West's case are extraordinary, to say the least. It is beyond dispute that Col. West's actions saved the lives of men under his command when he extracted information of an impending attack against himself and his men from an enemy combatant in his custody. In twice firing his sidearm, Col. West never intended nor did he actually harm the interrogated prisoner. In this case, the end does indeed justify the means.
Col. West's actions do not merit prosecution, demotion, loss of benefits or prison time. Col. West's actions merit the praise of his countrymen for the lives he saved in the line of duty.
We, citizens of the United States, do hereby petition for Col. West's reprieve from prosecution and return to duty through the intervention of the President, the Congress or the Department of Defense. We will not forget how our nation's leaders choose to treat this brave soldier.