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By Michelle Malkin  •  December 9, 2004 08:27 PM

The Lebanon-born Muslim Marine who was reportedly taken “hostage” in Iraq in July, was feared beheaded, and then mysteriously turned up in Lebanon safe and with his head still on, has now been charged with desertion.

Here’s what Wassef Ali Hassoun said at his news conference on July 19:


In the name of God, I’m glad to come home. And thanks — thanks for everybody who prayed and support me. I understand that there are too many questions, and respectfully, I ask that the media respect my need to spend time with my family.

I did not desert my post. I was captured and held against my will by anti-coalition forces for 19 days. This was a very difficult and challenging time for me. Since my release, I have been fully participating in the repatriation process.

I thank everyone. I thank everyone who was looking for me and give thanks for god for everything. I would like to tell all the Marines, as well as those others who are serving in Iraq, to keep their heads up and spirits high. Once a Marine, always a Marine. Semper Fi.

Thank you.

He has now been charged following a five-month investigation with taking unauthorized leave from the unit where he served as an Arabic interpreter; loss of government property; theft of a military firearm for allegedly leaving the Marine camp while still in possession of his 9 mm service pistol; and theft and wrongful appropriation of a government vehicle.

The blogosphere was all over the smellier aspects of the case.

On a related note, Muslim soldier Hasan Akbar–who admitted he rolled grenades into the tents of sleeping soldiers in Kuwait last year and reportedly ranted against the American military before the bombing (“You guys are coming into our countries, and you’re going to rape our women and kill our children.”)–is pursuing an insanity plea. His court-martial has been delayed until next spring.

Spc. Autumn Simmer, who was sleeping in a row of tents behind the soldiers who were attacked, told the Los Angeles Times :

“It’s bad enough we have to worry about enemy forces, but now we have to worry about our own guys.”

Let’s hope the Pentagon is doing something more concrete than just worrying about Islamists and Islamist sympathizers in our military.

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