Anyone that has watched any news this morning or been reading it online probably knows about the video that appears to show US Marines urinating on dead Taliban fighters. I say “appears” because well these guys are INNOCENT until proven guilty. All too often the same people who many in this county feel sorry for and think aren’t able to do anything but serve in the military are held to a completely different standard and aren’t afforded the same rights they fight to protect.
I agree the video looks pretty bad, but so did the bloody glove that didn’t fit. However I would hope that American and the World does not convict these guys in public opinion before they are given a fair chance in a court of military law. If they did do this act and if there are no extenuating circumstances and are found guilty, then they should be punished based on the Uniformed Code of Military Justice and not on the Media hype or Congressional babbling that may come from this.
I would hate to think that if they are found guilty that the Commander responsible for the punishment would let political pressure or media pressure to sway his/her judgement.
The bottom line is that if they did it, it is far better than what they do to our guys and our partners. I don’t see our soldiers cutting off heads while they are still alive, or killing them and stuffing their bodies with booby-traps, or capturing Taliban and making them call their families while we torture them to death while the family is listening. Yes that is just a small taste of what our enemies have done.
Is it morally wrong to desecrate and disrespect a body? In the sane world of what we in the western nations consider “right or wrong”, yes it is. Do people of other nations or beliefs feel that way? Not not at all. Does that make it right for us to do it? No.
However if these guys did it, they are humans. They are flawed, they have emotions and they get caught up int the moment. They have probably seen more of their buddies killed, ripped apart and maimed on the six tours this unit has had then most people could stomach. They are worn out, worn down and just plain tired of fighting an enemy that has no rules, morals or cares about any human life of any nationality while they (all US Forces) have to comply with layer after layer of rules, laws and regulations about what is fair and not fair. In hindsight (if they are guilty) they would probably never put themselves in this situation or wished they weren’t. However until a person walks even a few steps in the shoes these guys wear, they cannot honestly and fairly judge the actions by them.
It is sad that our military (as flawed as many try to make them out to be) are always held to the highest possible standard imaginable in the world. When Hezbollah or AQI or Taliban or whomever put a person on their knees, turn on the camera and cut their head off with the screaming and gurgling and slicing for all to hear and see, it is essentially ignored by the world. However when our forces do anything that is considered in the slightest to be disrespectful to our enemies, they are marched into the “proverbial” streets and hung by the media and the pontificators for all to see and glorify in.
What I do find amazing are the comments on the Yahoo News story about this (http://news.yahoo.com/karzai-condemns-video-urination-corpses-120758800.html). In reading some of those, it appears many could care less about this and don’t think it is that big a deal. I find that amazing because maybe a larger population of America is getting sick and tired of seeing our sons and daughters killed and maimed by these cowardice bastards and have themselves turned a little cold to dead tangos. I mean the reality is, they are dead. They will never know and hey if they are right, they are probably hanging out with 72 virgins when that was happening anyway, so what do they care.
The shame in all of this is that the far left, and the radical muslims (who themselves have and continue to do far worse than this) will probably use this in the I/O campaign and to inflame the people who listen to them against the US and the US Military as a whole. Just as in any situation, a few people do not represent the whole of a group, culture or society. Muslim men flew planes into buildings and killed 3000 of my fellow Americans, they have also hung burned bodies from bridges and cut off the heads of innocent non-combatants. However I don’t consider all young Muslim men to be that way. I have many friends, especially Afghan Army and Interpreters who I trusted with my life that are young Afghan men. I don’t let the actions of a few stain my view of the whole. I just wish the entire world would have that view also.
It is also a shame that this video was even taken and worse yet made it public. This could have been turned over to military authorities and dealt with in the military law system without having to be made public and create the uproar it has already started. It makes me wonder what the motivations are of the person that released this.
I will be talking about this subject in a lot more detail today at 1PM on BBC’s World Have Your Say radio program. You can listen live at starting at 1PM or catch the podcast later at http://www.bbc.co.uk/