Over the weekend, NBC’s Meet the Press featured Rep.-elect Allen West (R-FL) without mentioning the offensive Islamophobia that West made central to his congressional campaign, nor the long history of extreme statements and associations that made West a Tea Party star.
Today, the Washington Post continues the mainstream media’s absolution of West’s extremism in a profile titled “Allen West, one of two black Republicans just elected to House, goes against grain.” Among the many issues that the author Krissah Thompson glosses over or ignores, the section about West’s abuse of an Iraqi man is the most troubling. Thompson writes:
West was charged by military authorities and forced to retire after firing a handgun near the head of an Iraqi police officer during an interrogation in 2003. The officer was suspected of having information about attacks on U.S. forces in the area. West admitted wrongdoing and paid a fine. His case became a cause celebre for conservative media personalities, and 95 members of Congress signed a letter to the Army secretary in support of him.
Thompson doesn’t mention that “military prosecutors said [West’s] actions amounted to torture and violated articles 128 and 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.” The actual facts of the case are much more disturbing than Thompson describes:
According to an investigation and by West’s own admission, he walked into an interrogation room and placed a gun in his lap. If the Iraqi detainee didn’t talk, West told him, then West would have to kill him. The detainee insisted he knew nothing about a plot against West. The lieutenant then allowed his soldiers to beat the man. The detainee was then dragged outside, supposedly for his execution. But West fired over the detainee’s head. At that point, the detainee gave West information that may or may not have been helpful — the detainee told the New York Times he made something up just to save his life. In that same article, West admits he may have been wrong about there being an assassination plot.
And like Meet the Press, the Post completely ignores the clear vein of Islamophobia that ran starkly through West’s campaign this year. West has said that Islam is “a totalitarian theocratic political ideology, it is not a religion.” He believes that jihad is an a core of being Muslim, saying of a radial Islamists’ interpretation of the Quran, “this is not a perversion. They are doing exactly what this book says.” And west is proud of these beliefs — he has said that “[u]ntil you get principled leadership in the United States of America that is willing to say that,” we won’t be able to “secure Western civilization.”
When West says bigoted things about Islam, like that war and terror are dictated in the Quran, he often claims that “I don’t care about being popular.” It’s unlikely he would be — unless the mainstream media continues to hide his extreme views.