Patriots and profiteers: the case of Ted Westhusing

Journalist John Rapley has an important insight on the rise of Private military companies:

Scholars have been watching Iraq carefully as a test-case for what many see as a new form of warfare. Up until the late eighteenth century, fighting in Europe had been a business. Noblemen ran mercenary armies whose services they would sell to kingdoms whenever the latter went to war. But in the nationalist period – widely seen to have begun in the French Revolution – things changed. A new doctrine emerged. It held that armies should henceforth be patriotic. That is to say, they would be drawn from among the citizens of the nation, who should be motivated by duty rather than profit. (Jamaica Gleaner)

Rapley notes the recent death of Colonel Ted Westhusing, a soldier and scholar who had written about military honour, and who had been assigned to oversee a private military company. The Los Angeles Times has more on the case:

A psychologist reviewed Westhusing’s e-mails and interviewed colleagues. She concluded that the anonymous letter had been the "most difficult and probably most painful stressor."

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." (La Times)






One response to “Patriots and profiteers: the case of Ted Westhusing”

  1. Will Carr avatar
    Will Carr

    Col. Westhusing was getting ready to come home. He was a teacher at West Point with intimate knowledge of the inner workings and he saw the flaws… and….was vocal about it to General Paetreus.
    I know therapists who help their clients to “love what is.”
    Tell that to the Tillman family. Tell it to the families of the 600 men, women and children killed under Leonard Wood in the Phillipines…or those who saw first-hand Leut. Calley’s handiwork. They’ll tell you “WHAT IS SUCKS!”
    Our leaders will not unplug the slot machine so long as it is in the middle of a gigantic payoff for their privatized companies and the complicit military.
    Col. Westhusing is a hero for all the right reasons. Now the family should pull out the stops to get to the truth of what happened to him.
    Paetreus DON’T BETRAY US! And the rest of you? Repeat after me…”I am Sparticus.” “No, I am Sparticus.” No, here I am, I am Sparticus.”

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