Moral Low Ground

US Government

War Criminal Rep. Allen West Runs Ad with Opponent Patrick Murphy’s Teenage Mug Shot

In what many observers are calling an act of brazen hypocrisy, a US Army officer-turned congressman once charged with war crimes is running a campaign ad showing a mug shot of his opponent taken after his arrests for drunken misconduct at a Miami nightclub.

The ad, approved by Rep. Allen West (R-FL), targets West’s opponent, Democrat Patrick Murphy. Titled “Decide,” it juxtaposes a police mug shot of Murphy, who was arrested outside a South Beach nightclub in February 2003 when he was a teenager for fighting and verbally abusing a police officer while drunk, with images from then-Lieutenant Colonel West’s military service.

The ad states:

February 16, 2003, Fort Hood Texas. Lieutenant Colonel Allen West has just received deployment orders and prepares his men to go to war.

That night, South Beach, Miami. Patrick Murphy is thrown out of a club for fighting, covered in alcohol and unable to stand. Murphy then confronts and verbally assaults a police officer. Patrick Murphy was arrested and taken to jail.

Two men. A country in crisis. You decide.

What the ad does not mention about Rep. West’s wartime record was that in December 2003 he was charged with violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice for an incident in which his men severely beat Yahya Jhodri Hamoodi, a policeman detained during the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. West threatened to kill Hamoodi and fired a gun near his head, a war crime.

The charges were eventually reduced to an Article 15 proceeding, a form of non-judicial punishment, and Lt. Col. West was fined $5,000 and relieved of his command.

“I find it odd that [West] is trying to brag about that particular year of service (2003),” Eric Johnson, a senior adviser to Murphy’s campaign, told the Huffington Post. “And he’s attacking Patrick Murphy for drinking as a teenager, which I think is a silly attack.”

West campaign manager Tim Edson defended the ad.

West “fought and defended his country honorably for 22 years” and “while Patrick Murphy was getting drunk and getting arrested, Allen West was shipping off to war,” Edson told the Huffington Post. “The ad speaks for itself.”

According to a Garin-Hart-Yang Research poll, Rep. West trails Murphy by nine points.

Outrageous statements made by Rep. West, including charges that scores of Democratic lawmakers are “members of the Communist Party,” an assertion that the government should be “censoring American news agencies” and that Social Security is a form of “slavery” are highlighted in a new Murphy campaign ad released in response to Rep. West’s mug shot ad.

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