Tuesday, March 25, 2003

The strange case of the resentful soldier

On Sunday morning, BBC News reported an incident in Kuwait where an American soldier attacked his own side.

Since then, the UK press has gone rather quiet on the issue. The facts that have been reported are that the soldier, Sergeant Asan Akbar of the 101st Airborne Division, threw grenades into three tents while the occupants were sleeping. One man was killed, apparently shot as he tried to put on his gas mask, and another 15 were injured. As yet, Akbar has not been charged with any offence. The official explanation for his behaviour seems to be 'resentment'. He had recently been disciplined for insubordination and had expressed concern to his mother that, once out in the Middle East, he would be persecuted by NEWCOLUMN other soldiers for being a Muslim. The San Francisco Chronicle claims he shouted, 'You guys are coming into our countries and you're going to rape our women and kill our children'. Newsday claims that he had been acting erratically in the days before the attack, and had been told he would be left behind when the unit moved out, but other reports contradict this version. ABC7.com suggests that 'Akbar opposed the war on Iraq'. Which seems to suggest that, while the USA sends troops to fight the enemy abroad, it may be exporting some home-grown problems.

US Soldier Detained for Grenade Attack, ABC7.com, 24 March 2003

Grenade Attack 'Out of Character', Newsday, 25 March 2003

Grudge cited in grenade attack at U.S. camp, San Francisco Chronicle, 24 March 2003

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