Allen West on Fort Hood: “Lightning should not strike twice in the exact same place”

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Kurt Wallace: Our guest today on Rare is Allen West, United States Army Lieutenant Colonel for 22 years. A former US Congressman, his new book Guardian of the Republic and Allen West, thanks for being with us today on Rare.

Allen West: It’s an honor to be with Rare, thanks so much.

Kurt Wallace: Fort Hood has two tragedies now. What’s going on? Is it a problem within the military? Maybe dealing with PTSD or even deeper problems. What’s your take?

Allen West: Well I think first and foremost, Fort Hood was my last duty station as a battalion commander back in 2002, so I’m very familiar with the installation. Lightning should not strike twice in the exact same place. But what has happened between the [Army Major] Nidal Hassan shooting and now this shooting with Specialist Ivan Lopez. There was no correction made to look at how we can better protect our men and women on military installations. In between those two Fort Hood shootings, we have the Washington Naval Yard shootings. So I think first and foremost, installation commanders need to look at a procedural need and they can institute an order by which – at the unit level – certain senior non-commissioned officers, and also junior officers can carry side arms in the unit areas to make sure that soldiers are protected in some of the major areas where they congregate like the barracks, like the motor pool, in certain transition in-processing/out-processing facilities.

But another thing is that if Specialist Lopez was going through medical evaluations for anxiety, depression, and some other things, he probably should not have been transferred from his previous duty station. Which I believe he had only been at Fort Hood for 2 months, which is the exact same thing we saw with Major Nidal Hasan, who was transferred from Walter Reed Army Medical Center to Fort Hood, Texas. So we need to look at why are we transferring people from duty station to duty station if they’re under medical evaluation? Or if we have some suspect behavior we need to look into?

But I think we also do need to look wholeheartedly into at how we’re treating mental problems in the pilots, soldiers, sailors, and the Marines. With Specialist Lopez**, he had only been in Iraq for four months, and that was back in 2011 when basically things were winding down. He did not engage in any combat whatsoever. Did not get any combat citations. So I don’t think we can fall back on that. So there may have been some stress with the family, I believe there were some issues with his mother passing away, and we’re not sure about this altercation between soldiers. But those are the critical things I think we need to look at.

Kurt Wallace: You have a new book, Guardian of the Republic. Tell us about the book.

Allen West: Well, I’ll tell you, it is a book that I term it a philosophical biography. It takes my upbringing from the inner city of Atlanta, Georgia, my experiences in the military, and how my political philosophy was developed looking at the founding fathers – going back and doing some readings – and talking about the establishment of this Republic. Today as I sit up here in Philadelphia where I did an event last night. I’m staying at the Omni Hotel which is right down the street from Independence Hall. As I look out my window, I’m looking at Independence Hall, which is the birthplace of our nation, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution. And as they finished their deliberation over the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin came out and Mrs. Powell asked him the question, “So, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” And Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

And really what this book is about is that challenge that Benjamin Franklin gave us to keep this Republic. It’s my story of being a guardian, but it’s a clarion call for others to be guardians of this republic because right now, I believe we’re seeing it slip away. The single question I ask in this book to everyone is – when back in 2008 – then Senator Obama said, “We’re five days away from fundamentally transforming America.” And the crowd went crazy cheering, but no one asked him what we were fundamentally transforming to? No one asked him what we were fundamentally transforming from? So right now, I think that the challenge Franklin gave us as a Republic, we are starting to see ourselves not meet up to that challenge. I want to see us make changes to our Republic and pass it on to subsequent generations.

Kurt Wallace: Allen West thanks for spending some time with us today on Rare

Allen West: Thanks for having me.

 

Purchase Allan West’s new book “Guardian of the Republic“

 

 


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