The Suicide of Col. Ted Westhusing

Ken AshfordIraqLeave a Comment

Ted_westhusingCol. Ted Westhusing, 44, . . .

was no ordinary officer. He was one of the Army’s leading scholars of military ethics, a full professor at West Point who volunteered to serve in Iraq to be able to better teach his students. He had a doctorate in philosophy; his dissertation was an extended meditation on the meaning of honor.

In June, this military ethicist, who once wrote a 352-page dissertation on military honor, committed suicide in his trailer on a Baghdad military base.  He remains the highest-ranking U.S. casualty to date in the Iraq Warn (although his death lists in the "non-hostile" category).

A note found in his trailer seemed to offer clues. Written in what the Army determined was his handwriting, the colonel appeared to be struggling with a final question.

How is honor possible in a war like the one in Iraq?

Indeed.  Read the whole story.  It’s a compellingly allegorical footnote to the Iraq War.