Hasan Akbar, the Screaming Eagle who fragged his fellow 101st Airborne soldiers, faces a possible death penalty.
Prosecutors say Akbar told investigators he launched the attack because he was concerned U.S. troops would kill fellow Muslims in Iraq. They said he coolly carried out the attack to achieve “maximum carnage” on his comrades in the 101st Airborne Division.
The verdict came after 2.5 hours of deliberations following seven days of testimony in a court-martial — the first time since the Vietnam era that an American has been prosecuted on charges of murdering a fellow soldier during wartime.
Well, he was right that US troops were going to be killing Muslims in Iraq.
Defense attorney Maj. Dan Brookhart countered that Akbar was concerned the invasion of Iraq would result in the deaths of Muslims and that U.S. soldiers would rape Iraqi women.
He said the prosecution’s depiction of Akbar as a cold-blooded killer ignored that the defendant was sufficiently mentally ill — though not insane — to be confused and fearful about the impending invasion of Iraq.
The defense lawyer scoffed at an Army psychiatrist’s testimony that Akbar suffered merely from “the blues” — not any serious mental problems.
I haven’t heard the testimony or read the transcripts, of course, but “mentally ill – though not insane” seems a bit convenient for me.
And he really, truly thought that US troops raping Iraqi women was a concern? Sure, it’s not an impossibility. But a reason to try to halt the invasion by killing a couple of officers? For an Airborne soldier, he really doesn’t seem to have much understanding of things.
During Thursday’s arguments, relatives of the victims cried when prosecutors showed pictures of the bodies on a large TV screen. When a prosecutor pointed at Akbar, nearly yelling that he was responsible, Akbar sipped from a coffee mug.
That sort of thing really burns me. But its written to burn me. I wish I knew more about what really happened, because a lot of what’s been written about this hints and infers about hidden motives that might have driven this guy to do what he did. But if those hints are accurate, this is a far, far bigger story than a double murder in a war zone.
If this US soldier they’re questioning really turns out to be a Muslim American and is really the one of the attackers, or assisted them in any way, there are going to be SERIOUS repercussions. I don’t want to be one of those making knee-jerk reactions, but does anyone remember the FBI agent who flat-out REFUSED to follow orders to wear a wire when meeting with a suspected terrorist? He’s a Muslim American. This event could end up having more significance that the war itself. I don’t think I’m exaggerating.
Upon reflection, I think maybe I was exaggerating. But doesn’t this suggest that maybe there’s a deeper problem here?
I’m not trying to paint with broad strokes, mind you. I fully believe that that the overwhelming majority of Muslim Americans, especially service members, are loyal and trustworthy. But if the US military has been penetrated, (and come on, now, we know it must be) there are going to be more problems.
Sometimes the problems will be fraggings. More often there will be intelligence leaks. Most of all will be the distrust and suspicion that a few bad apples will bring.