July 06, 2004

More on Wassef Ali Hassoun

Just when you thought this story couldn't smell any more than it does . . .

BAGHDAD A U.S. marine held by an Iraqi militant group is alive and has been released, the marine's brother said Tuesday. . The group, Islamic Response, issued a statement on Monday saying that it had taken Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun, the marine it had earlier threatened with beheading, to a "place of safety" after he promised to abandon the American military.

On Tuesday, Corporal Hassoun's older brother, Sami Hassoun, said, "We received a sign that he is alive and he is released and everything is O.K."

"The sign is something that came directly from him, there is something that nobody else could possibly know," Sami Hassoun said in a telephone interview from Tripoli, Lebanon. "It's a certain clue. He is alive, and he is released."

What makes the brother so certain?—surely any information the terrorists have could have been extracted by subterfuge or torture. The longer this situation goes on, the more I begin to think Spoons may be right about it: the whole thing could be an elaborate deception to cover up an act of desertion. I don't want to think that, but there's something very weird going on.

Perhaps Hassoun was spared because he was a Muslim. If so, the terrorists did the smart thing. Which doesn't happen often, but on occasion they do act in their own best interest. (I want to say, in my best Charleton Heston voice, "darn the luck!" I hate it when my enemies wise up.)

Even Rusty Shackleford, who had been insisting that the Hassoun had to be dead—and made a convincing case—is wavering. It's actually possible, though, that Rusty's original idea was right, and only the timing was different than he supposed. Rusty's thought was that Islamic Response had captured Hassoun, killed him, and then realized what a public relations disaster that would be in the Muslim world. They buried the body, and announced that Hassoun had been moved "to a safe place." I wonder whether the scumbags kidnapped him and then figured out that it wouldn't be bright to decapitate a Muslim.

Of course, now one Muslim family knows what it feels like to go through the uncertainty of having their child kidnapped by extremists. I wonder if this will create more sympathy for Western values among the often too-silent "moderates." It's definitely a Western-values family to begin with, of course: otherwise Hassoun wouldn't have joined the Corps in the first place.

One supposes that more will be revealed.

Posted by Attila at July 6, 2004 11:49 PM
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