Reports immediately after the fragging incident in March 2003, when American soldier Hasan Akbar killed two of his fellow soldiers, suggested that the sergeant had changed sides, seeing himself as an Iraqi jihadi fighting the Americans. Here is a summary of evidence that I published two days after the incident:
The Los Angeles Times quotes him stating, after he was apprehended, "You guys are coming into our countries, and you're going to rape our women and kill our children."
NBC found that he "was opposed to the killing of Muslims and opposed to the war in Iraq." Reuters quotes one source saying, "He's a Muslim, and it seems he was just against the war," while another told the news agency that the violence was "politically motivated."
There is evidence to suggest that Akbar expected to get in trouble even before he arrived in Kuwait. His former stepfather quotes him saying that Akbar "did not want to fight in this war, he didn't want to go over there." A neighbor explains why: "America shouldn't be going," Akbar told him; he judged it not "right" to attack Iraq. And his mother quotes him: "Mama, when I get over there I have the feeling they are going to arrest me just because of the name that I have carried."
This comes to mind now, with Akbar's trial underway, because the prosecution has entered evidence that confirms and extends these sentiments. Specifically, it presented passages Akbar wrote in a diary found on a computer he left behind near Fort Campbell, Kentucky, before leaving for Kuwait with the 101st Airborne Division:
Writing of his fellow soldiers: "I suppose they want to punk me or just humiliate me. Perhaps they feel that I will not do anything about that. They are right about that. I am not going to do anything about it as long as I stay here. But as soon as I am in Iraq, I am going to try and kill as many of them as possible."
"I will have to decide to kill my Muslim brothers fighting for Saddam Hussein or my battle buddies. I am hoping to get into a position so I don't have to take any crap from anyone anymore."
"I may not have killed any Muslims, but being in the Army is the same thing. I may have to make a choice very soon on who to kill."
Given this hard evidence, the defense has wisely not contested the fact of the Akbar murdering two soldiers and instead mounted a case of insanity.
Comment: The presence of this jihadi in an elite army unit points again (see "The California Suicide Bomber" for another recent case) to seemingly loyal, normal, decent Muslims unpredictably transformed by radical Islam into brutal murderers. When will the authorities wake to this problem and seek ways to remedy it? (April 14, 2005)
April 28, 2005 update: Akbar delivered a completely unconvincing apology today, at his sentencing: "I want to apologize for the attack that occurred. I felt that my life was in jeopardy, and I had no other options. I also want to ask you for forgiveness." And the jury correctly sentenced him to death for his hideous crime.
April 29, 2005 update: The Los Angeles Times carries some more extracts from Akbar's diaries, dating from before he joined the U.S. Army:
1992: "I made a promise that if I am not able to achieve success because of some Caucasians, I will kill as many of them as possible."
1993: "I do not like the military. They have too much control over people's lives. I suppose I am just anti-government…. A Muslim should see himself as a Muslim only. His loyalty should be to Islam only."
1996: "Anyone who stands in front of me shall be considered the enemy and dealt with accordingly."
1996: "destroying America was my plan as a child, and as a juvenile and in college. Destroying America is my greatest goal."
Two years after expressing these sentiments, in 1998, he joined the army. One can only speculate as to his motives in doing so; was he, for example, from the start planning an attack on military personnel? If so, then we may be lucky that he managed to kill only two of his comrades.
Comment: Akbar is a poster boy for the conclusion I reached in January 2003:
There is no escaping the unfortunate fact that Muslim government employees in law enforcement, the military and the diplomatic corps need to be watched for connections to terrorism, as do Muslim chaplains in prisons and the armed forces. Muslim visitors and immigrants must undergo additional background checks. Mosques require a scrutiny beyond that applied to churches and temples