West was asked by a constituent in Boca Raton about charges that he’d assaulted an Iraqi police officer while serving in 2003. He deflected the question and then proceeded to bring up the fact that then-college student Barack Obama had once done drugs.
“So if you guys want to go back and talk about what happened nine years ago for me, let’s talk about the president doing blow, and smoking dope,” West said, to applause.
QUESTIONER: Please release your Article 15 conviction.
WEST: I was not convicted of anything. I think everyone knows what happened. I mean if you guys have a problem with the fact that people were out there planning to kill my soldiers and I found a guy, I put a pistol, shot over his head, and they weren’t killing my soldiers anymore. If you guys have a problem with that, you need to go talk to someone else, because if I’m in that exact same situation, I’m making the same decision for those men and women. [...] So if you guys want to go back and talk about what happened nine years ago for me, let’s talk about the president doing blow, and smoking dope.
To be clear, West is comparing formal charges that he’d violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice by threatening a detainee’s life to a college student doing drugs 30 years ago. West was fined $5,000 for the incident and retired the next summer from “a successful 22-year military career that seemed destined for further advancement.”