Monday, June 28, 2004

The Spirit and the Letter

A Sacramento mother is encouraging photos of her son's coffin at a ceremony held at Sac Airport, protesting the administration's policy against images of returning coffins.

The prohibition, however, affects only military installations and planes, so her protest is described accurately as against the spirit and not the letter of the policy.

It's still a good point, though.

The article also points out the small row over the release of Pat Tillman training photos - similar images have not been released after the deaths of other soldiers.

And continuing contemplating images, I also wonder about the US Marine abducted and being held captive in Iraq. (Interestingly, the headline you'll see if you click on that link above is "US Marine Missing in Iraq." I wouldn't say he's missing - we know where he is - if not geographically - and it's not good).

Listening to the news coverage of the abduction this morning, I learned that Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force has been missing for several days and was presumed AWOL. How many soldiers have gone AWOL in Iraq? I haven't heard of any, really (though I have heard of some going AWOL by extending legitimate leave here in the States). I have no basis for this question (as in, nothing that implies an affirmative answer), but I wonder if the conclusion that he was AWOL and not in danger had anything to do with his nationality.

Here's a report from a an Atlanta local news station:

Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said the military is working under the assumption that the Marine has been kidnapped -- but he indicates that hasn't been confirmed.

Kimmitt said the Marine had gone on an "unauthorized absence" around June 21 -- and that officials suspect he may have been heading to Lebanon. The general didn't give more details.

The Marine is a Muslim of Middle Eastern origin.

There are also reports that his family is doing everything they can to convey to the captors that Hassoun is an Arab and a Muslim. I wonder how much that will help him, however, considering he is wearing the infidels' colors.

Hassoun's unit is based at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, CA. Same unit as one of my closest friends - who to my knowledge is still serving his second tour in Iraq.

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