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June 29, 2004
NYT: Captured Muslim Marine A Deserter

The New York Times reports tonight that Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, captured by Islamofascist terrorists in Iraq, had deserted his post and naively trusted his captors to sneak him out of the country and into Lebanon:

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."

While this news should not affect our efforts to get Hassoun freed from his captors, it should serve as an object lesson to others stationed in Iraq, especially American Muslims. The locals may seem friendly, and many of them probably are, but many people in that area of the world want to see you dead. On the whole, Marines and soldiers will improve their health by staying close to other Marines and soldiers and not accepting offers to sneak out of the country.

I suspect this will be part of the daily briefing at Coalition bases this week, if it isn't already.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 29, 2004 9:33 PM

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