Col. Theodore S. WesthusingCol. Ted Westhusing, a leading Army scholar of military ethics, was the highest-ranking officer to die in the Iraq war. The ethics scholar died just weeks after receiving an anonymous complaint about USIS, a Carlyle-owned army contractor.
Westhusing graduated third in his class from West Point in 1983. He served in the Special Forces in Italy, South Korea and Honduras. Eventually, he became division operations officer for the 82nd Airborne. In 2000, he started the doctoral program in philosophy at Emory University. His dissertation focused on the meaning of honor and the ethics of war. He later became a professor at West Point and a leading scholar on military ethics. In 2004, Westhusing, 44, volunteered to serve in Iraq. Colleagues say he believed the experience would make him a better teacher.
In Iraq, Westhusing oversaw USIS, a private security company with a $79 million contract to train an elite, special forces unit of Iraqi police. Weeks before his death, Westhusing received an anonymous complaint that USIS was defrauding the government on the number of trainers it was paying. The note also described two incidents where USIS contractors participated or observed the killings of Iraqis. Westhusing reported the allegations to his superiors.
According to the military, he was found dead in a trailer at Camp Dublin on June 4. After a three month investigation, the army called his death a suicide. The investigation into USIS is ongoing as of the end of 2007.
- “A Soldier Dies in Search of Iraq's Moral Core,” The Los Angeles Times, 11/27/05.
- “A quest for honor ended in tragedy,” The Houston Chronicle, 11/18/05.