Well, it’s over. Allen West has conceded. The election season has truly ended. Hilariously, the Politico report on Allen West’s concession mentioned his dismissing more than half of congressional Democrats as communists, only to follow that up with the line “West ran as a rare truth-teller in politics.” I do not believe his political career is truly over — if nothing else he’ll have a book or three ghost-written for him and appear on FOX News as a special correspondent. Maybe they’ll give him a fancy title, like Homicide-Bombing Islamofascists Correspondent or Senior Reporter for Rooting Out Communist Democrats.
Allen West fought back at his loss with an unexpected tenacity. After he rolled over and fled district 22 to run in district 18, with newly minted Rep. Patrick Murphy following him up the coast, I really didn’t expect that the erstwhile lieutenant colonel had the fight in him to take this thing well past election day. His supporters would probably argue that Allen West is a combat soldier and such tenacity should certainly be expected out of the man. But Allen West ended his career as a soldier by taking the easy way out. When faced with the enemy in Iraq, Allen West quickly became what he loathed.
Much has been made over the incident that started Allen West’s political career. It’s been almost ten years since the man was drummed out of the Army for torturing an Iraqi. The mock execution made him a hero to a certain segment of the right-wing, and that hagiography has clouded the facts. So it helps to read news stories from the time of the event. Just look back at the Boston Globe: “U.S. Officer Resigns for Assaulting Iraqi.” It says a great deal about how far Allen West has come since then that his name wasn’t even mentioned in the headline at the time. The name of Allen West was unimportant. What mattered was that a high-ranking officer in the army had been relieved of his command for his conduct. Indeed, the army said at the time that Allen West’s actions warranted a court-martial, but that because of the “stressful environment” of combat, and because of West’s unblemished military record up to that point, he would be allowed to retire after paying a $5,000 fine. At the time, he was the highest-ranking officer in the military to be disciplined for his actions in Iraq. Again, to quote the army findings as reported by the Globe, Allen West “disobeyed laws, ignored orders … and mortgaged future discipline in his unit. Without discipline, there is no trust, no cohesion, and no higher purpose for which we fight.”
Allen West is not crazy. He is not a loon, despite all the liberal ad hominem attacks to the contrary. To call him so is to relieve him of some of the responsibility of his actions. Allen West is perfectly sane, but Allen West is not a good man. If leaders must lead by example, then Allen West taught his men that torture is acceptable, and afterward, he taught citizens of this country that partisan warfare is preferable to governance, that half of America is an implacable enemy to be destroyed, and that peace is for suckers.
Allen West may have lost the election, but he has already lost far more. He is not crazy. But he is a hateful, spiteful, vindictive clown, and even a cesspool like Washington is better off without him. This country faces serious problems, from unemployment and debt at home to multiple crises abroad, especially throughout the Middle East. And none of these problems will be solved by a man who believes that the jobless are lazy bums on the take and that Muslims are all just suicide bombers waiting to happen.
Prejudice is bound in ignorance. It has always been so. And that applies to everything from anti-gay Christians, many of whom have never interacted with gay couples on any serious level, to Allen West and his ilk and their solemn belief that every Muslim on the planet is involved in some sort of conspiracy to destroy first America and then the world, despite the fact that they’ve never sat down and really talked to Muslims of any sort. Because the truth of the matter is that people are people. Gay or straight, Muslim or Christian, unemployed or filthy rich, people just want to provide for their families and not be harassed by jackals like Allen West. There is only one thing we cannot tolerate if we are to live in a peaceful world, and that is intolerance. A peaceful world has no place for Allen West.