Allen West has just two months before his general election faceoff against Congressman Ron Klein, but he wasn't inclined to spend this precious holiday weekend campaigning in the Broward/Palm Beach congressional district. Rather, he made a road trip to Leavenworth, Kansas, to speak at a rally for ten soldiers who have been jailed at that base after being convicted of murdering Iraqis.
West knows firsthand the dangers of using extreme methods in war zones -- his treatment of an Iraqi detainee brought about the end of his 22-year military career. But at the "Freedom Ride," West's pistol-wielding threat to an Iraqi brought a hearty laugh from the crowd. Video from that speech is after the jump.
West revisits the August 2003 interrogation around the two-minute mark of the video. The version of the story that West tells is inconsistent with the one that appeared in a report by military investigators and with his statements to a New York Times reporter in 2004, but they're consistent with the version he's adopted this summer in response to this Juice post from March.
But from a campaign strategy perspective, it's a curious decision by West, who doesn't live in the district where he's running and who has even opened a campaign office outside the district.
It's hard to know what West is thinking, especially since his campaign hasn't responded to countless efforts to get comment from him. But most likely, West knew that an appearance at an event with a national conservative audience would help him raise money from that same national audience.
Part 2 of West's speech is here.