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US Congress War Criminal Free

Allen West has run for Congress three times, losing in Democratic wave election of 2008, winning in Republican wave election of 2010, and losing again last night in a Democratic wave election of 2012. Being redistricted didn’t help. Nor did being a buffoon.

OTB first covered West in October 2003, when he became famous as an Army lieutenant colonel for being charged with criminal assault for firing his weapon at the head of an Iraqi detainee as a means of enhanced interrogation. Or, as we used to call it, “torture.” Or, as they call it in Geneva, a “war crime.” I observed at the time,

While the results were obviously terrific in this instance, the Army can’t condone this conduct lest it become the norm. While West’s actions would not cause any negative reaction in most armies, a professional force can’t behave in this manner.

Amusingly, John Cole was ambivalent on the matter, perhaps the last time he’s been ambivalent about anything. Five years later, when the Veterans of Foreign Wars endorsed West’s non-veteran opponent, I had forgotten that back story before being reminded of it by a commenter. Even without that information, though, I noted,

[S]imply serving in the military doesn’t  mean you’d be a good Congressman and automatically deserve the support of veterans, even if your opponent never wore a uniform.   If the VFW supported Charlie Rangel’s opponent, for example, I’d be thrilled.  And Rangel is a bonafide hero of the Korean War.

Little did I know how prescient I was. Rangel was a veritable Henry Clay compared to West, who embarrassed himself more times in a two-year Congressional career than Rangel managed over the course of decades. And lord knows the man tried.

The West highlight reel includes:

  • Sending an email to Debbie Wasserman Schultz with the memorable lines, “Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige. You are the most vile, unprofessional ,and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up.”

Also, he wears his military medals, including his skill badges, pretty much everywhere he goes.

Sadly, we’ve almost surely not seen the last of this clown.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. If Florida law permits him, I bet he tries to pull the recount move. But, yea, this is one person who I will not miss

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  2. mike says:

    Of course we won’t. He is perfectly qualified to be hired by Fox News – willing to say anything, no matter how idiotic b/c there is a great following for his antics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  3. mantis says:

    Sadly, we’ve almost surely not seen the last of this clown.

    Hopefully he will stay where clowns belong…at the circus. Also known as Fox News.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  4. J-Dub says:

    A man without a home. Rejected by every group he ever belonged to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  5. J-Dub says:

    This raises the question, does Roger Ailes really care about the conservative movement or is he only concerned with ratings? Would he have any interest in pulling the Republican Party out of the teabaggery so they have a chance at being competitive in the future?

    I am convinced that Rush Limbaugh is just laughing his way to the bank and probably doesn’t believe half the garbage he spews. He is a complete opportunist, but is Ailes?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  6. Neil Hudelson says:

    He was only a congressman for 2 years? It’s felt like 20.

    He truly did quite a bit of embarrassing things in just 24 months.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  7. jukeboxgrad says:

    This is a good moment to remember that Palin and Gingrich both said West should be VP. More proof that the GOP is bonkers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  8. Rob in CT says:

    Very gratifying to see this correction made.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  9. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    West paid for his offense. He was found responsible, fined, and accepted retirement. Further, West reported himself for the incident.

    And, unlike Benghazi or Fast & Furious or Chappaquiddick, no one was actually killed in the incident.

    Perhaps that was his mistake. If he’d actually killed someone, maybe he’d have gotten away with it…

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 31

  10. Facebones says:

    Sadly, it appears that Michelle Bachman (R-Crazytown) will not be joining him on the Fox News bread line.

    It’s amazing that the same state that elected Al Franken can also elect Michelle Bachman. Either MInnesotans have a very peculiar sense of humor or they need to adjust the lithium in the drinking water.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  11. mantis says:

    @Jay Tea’s puppet Jenos Idanian #13:

    West paid for his offense. He was found responsible, fined, and accepted retirement. Further, West reported himself for the incident.

    Doesn’t mean he is fit to represent the people in congress.

    And, unlike Benghazi or Fast & Furious or Chappaquiddick, no one was actually killed in the incident.

    Yes it is good that West was forced to retire before he committed more crimes.

    Perhaps that was his mistake. If he’d actually killed someone, maybe he’d have gotten away with it…

    That was not his mistake. Interesting that you’re having murder fantasies today though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  12. Mr. Replica says:

    So Florida rejects West after two years and in the same day re-elects Alan Grayson by 20+ points, two years after voting him out.
    I guess there is hope for West if he wants to try again in 2014…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  13. legion says:

    The single, solitary thing I regret about West getting the boot (again) is that it happened before his anger management issues truly got out of hand. I was absolutely certain he would get to a point in a debate some time, lose his sh*t, and just start swinging.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. Rob in CT says:

    @Mr. Replica:

    It’s become very, very clear that the electorate for mid-terms is a very different one than the electorate for Presidential elections.

    That’s something the Dems really need to work on, for 2014.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  15. Lynn says:

    @Facebones: “It’s amazing that the same state that elected Al Franken can also elect Michelle Bachman.”

    I know… it’s so embarrassing. Her district is very conservative, however, not typical of Minnesota. And, we did defeat the voter ID and marriage amendments.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  16. rudderpedals says:

    West is history. Grayson’s back. Mack, Mourdock, Akins, farewell, alas we never knew you. Warren cruises to the Senate. Keep up the good work, tea partiers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  17. C. Clavin says:

    @ rudderpedals…
    the tea baggers pretty much ruined Romney too.
    if the Mass Moderate had run he would have beat Obama.
    But the tea stain made him run as a severe conservative.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  18. Barry says:

    @J-Dub: “This raises the question, does Roger Ailes really care about the conservative movement or is he only concerned with ratings? ”

    I would answer that (given a few weeks of free time) with an analysis of how Fox treated Latinos; if they were in the faction which basically declared them to be unwelcome in the GOP, then it’s all ratings. Ailes would know that this is a powerful demographic and valuable/dangerous to the GOP.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. Barry says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: How does it feel to be sooooooooooooooo wrooooooooooooong?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  20. The Q says:

    Whats the difference between Alan West and the rest of the GOP?

    The salad on his suit. Other than that, not much.

    They pretty much all think Obama is a communist

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  21. swbarnes2 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    the tea baggers pretty much ruined Romney too.

    No. Romney is a grown man who freely chose his actions, and should therefore be held personally responsible for them. He is not a victim of the Tea Party, or anyone else.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  22. mike says:

    @The Q: why in the world does he wear all his metals on his suit? It’s not a uniform. When I dress up and go out to a wedding or other event, I don’t wear my medals. he probably carries a copy of his 201 file in his pocket. I haven’t seen Duckworth wearing her medals on her outfits. West your retired – move on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  23. An Interested Party says:

    And, unlike Benghazi or Fast & Furious or Chappaquiddick, no one was actually killed in the incident.

    Awwwww…conservatives are always so precious whenever they mention Chappaquiddick…

    It’s amazing that the same state that elected Al Franken can also elect Michelle Bachman.

    This just shows how hideous gerrymandering is…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  24. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @An Interested Party: Awwwww…conservatives are always so precious whenever they mention Chappaquiddick…

    From “left a girl to drown” to “Lion of the Senate.”

    Maybe if, instead of leaving her in the back seat, Teddy had strapped her in a carrier to the roof of the car…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  25. Franklin says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Congratulations on the prediction of a recount, Doug …

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/83476.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. @Franklin:

    The final results came out this morning and the difference between Murphy and West is 0.7%, which is above the level that would trigger an automatic recount under Florida law. So, West may be out of luck here unless there’s also a method for him to petition for a discretionary recount.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. James Young says:

    Yes. West is so much worse than a perjurer and impeached judge representing a district from Florida.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2