June 29, 2004


Abducted Marine Had Deserted the Military (JEFFREY GETTLEMANand NICK MADIGAN, 6/30/04, NY Times)

The American marine who is being threatened by his kidnappers with beheading had deserted the military because he was emotionally traumatized, and was abducted by his captors while trying to make his way home to his native Lebanon, a Marine officer said Tuesday.

The officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he believed that Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun was betrayed by Iraqis he befriended on his base and ended up in the hands of Islamic extremists.

The officer said Corporal Hassoun, a 24-year-old Marine linguist who was born in Lebanon, was shaken up after he saw one of his sergeants blown apart by a mortar shell.

"It was very disturbing to him," the officer said. "He wanted to go home and quit the game, but since he was relatively early in his deployment, that was not going to happen anytime soon. So he talked to some folks on base he befriended, because they were all fellow Muslims, and they helped sneak him off. Once off, instead of helping him get home, they turned him over to the bad guys."

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 29, 2004 11:39 PM

America doesn't have forced conscription, so everyone that is serving is doing so because they associated themselves with the army. They knew that there was the risk they'd find themselves fighting a war. This marine should have known what he was getting into. At the same time, I do feel mild sympathy for him.

As for sneaking off... what a dumb thing to do. But in reality, it only shows how desperate he was.

This whole thing is really sad. I can only hope we finish this war with minimal casualties.

Posted by: Matt Lawton at June 30, 2004 1:48 AM

I'm curious as to what evidence, would be needed before, a rational person would say that Muslim troops cannot be trusted by our armed forces, to carry the fight to the Islamic terrorists, and insurgents. Of course, I would never want to suggest such a despicable thing.

What does the following refer to?

"About two months ago, he told a cousin that several American deserters had escaped by bribing Iraqis to help get them out of the country"

Posted by: h-man at June 30, 2004 6:41 AM

OK, never mind, you can behead him..

Posted by: JonofAtlanta at June 30, 2004 7:58 AM

Well, if he was traumatized by seeing his Sgt. get blown up, imagine how traumatized he is now after his fellow-arab "friends" have betrayed him.

I hope he makes it out alive, so he actually gets a chance to make good on what he's learned from his mistakes.

Posted by: Twn at June 30, 2004 9:53 AM

You kill his kidnappers, get him back just like you would any other Marine, and then you court martial him for desertion.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at June 30, 2004 11:31 AM

Chris -

and then you can execute him, which is I believe is allowed for desertion during wartime.

Posted by: Rick T. at June 30, 2004 12:33 PM

Well, they showed the guy some respect, as a "fellow Muslim." They only shot him.

So who are those helpful souls who "befriended" this idiot? Will they be apprehended and tried? By whom?

Posted by: Alan Sullivan at June 30, 2004 3:10 PM

Marines are still listing him as "captured", not deserted. . . .

Posted by: Twn at June 30, 2004 7:00 PM