- Apr 17, 2002
US soldier left patrol duty to marry Iraqi
Wednesday December 3, 2003
An American soldier is expecting to be dismissed from the army for taking a break from patrol in Baghdad to marry his Iraqi girlfriend, says his lawyer.
Sergeant Sean Blackwell has not been allowed to see his bride, Ehdaa, since the wedding on August 17, but the couple have recently been allowed to talk by phone, Sgt Blackwell's lawyer, Richard Alvoid, said.
The US army has accused the soldier, 27, from the Florida National Guard, of revealing the timing and location of his patrol to his bride and the Iraqi judge who married them, in organising the wedding.
The sergeant and another soldier, Corporal Brett Dagen, converted from Christianity to Islam to marry Iraqi women, both doctors, in a double wedding. Cpl Dagen and his wife have since divorced under pressure from her parents.
Mr Alvoid said Sgt Blackwell's only crime was passion in time of war. "He is guilty of falling in love. The more they punish him, the more negative publicity the military likely will receive."
The couple met when he was on guard duty outside the health ministry in Baghdad. Their marriage, after a couple of months of courting, appears to be the first such US-Iraqi union produced by the war.
Sgt Blackwell's mother, Vickie McKee, told Associated Press he could be home by Christmas. "He's a little ticked off at the government now. I'd hate for him to get a discharge because he fell in love." Mr Alvoid is helping the newly-weds clinch a book deal and a film has not been ruled out.
Ehdaa may flee to Europe this month in the hope of being reunited with her husband while applying for a US visa.
I'm kinda conflicted on this. I'm a romantic at heart. But shouldn't he know better than to disclose patrol routes when an enemy agent can find them? Sure, setting an ambush up has happened more than once. . .