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Letters to the Editor

Real obscenity

January 18, 2012

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To the editor:

The latest controversy in Afghanistan involves a video of four Marines urinating on the dead bodies of three Taliban terrorists, recently killed by these same Marine snipers. These Marines have been instantly condemned and vilified in our government’s frantic efforts to be “politically correct,” so as not to offend the Muslim world, especially the Taliban! Really?

It is easy for those who have never been in combat to denounce this act. As a Marine Vietnam combat veteran, I understand why this happens in war. In war there are no options, no place for “political correctness!” War is simple, basic: You kill him or he kills you! These Marines have just killed three enemy combatants who were trying to kill them. What are the true obscenities here?

I would submit the first obscenity is our government involved in a war they can’t explain or get out of. The second, is our military leadership, who ask young people to die but cannot articulate what they are dying for or why. The third is our spineless, cowardly Congress, who do not hold the military responsible so as not to offend their corporate sponsors of the military-industrial complex.

And the last obscenity is we, the American people, who send our kids off to die yet never really question why. Let’s not judge these Marines for expressing their opinion of the Taliban, Afghanistan, and war itself.  No one has that right, unless one has walked a mile ... in their boots!

Comments

George Lippencott 2 years, 3 months ago

This thread makes for an interesting read. There are clearly those who have been there and understand without condoning the actions of the Marines. There appear to be another set of posters who have not been there and stand on principal finding no mediating considerations in their actions. Free speech stands.

There is another mini-thread that seems to find fault with the actions of the Marines because the poster finds fault with the war. Shades of Vietnam. I remind those posters that the wars we are in were entered into in accordance with our laws. The policy established to implement those laws is legal. The ROIs are specific. To the extent that the ROIs have been breached the Marines are liable.

That said, you are not free to put yourself outside the system. This is a constitutional republic and each citizen is bound by the actions of the majority. You may certainly protest and work to change what you do not like but you have no right to castigate those who are implementing our laws. Someone with strong feelings about all this would in earlier generations have volunteered as a medic and worked to save lives.

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 3 months ago

The LTE writer was most likely a lousy soldier.

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drillsgt 2 years, 3 months ago

Dont say a damn word ..till you have been over there...it reflects on actions from people back home..

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Shane Garrett 2 years, 3 months ago

I do not think that Snap is striving for the U.S. to be "no better than those he loathes." I think perhaps he is pointing out the disparity in reporting the news. And that the Taliban use many forms of non-approved, by the Geneva Convention, war fare practices.

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tange 2 years, 3 months ago

... and with the wind in their faces, to boot.

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riverdrifter 2 years, 3 months ago

My father was a Marine in WWII, serving in various island campaigns too numerous to mention. He left home in 1943 and got home in the fall of 1946. He had a very well defined idea of just what it was to be a U. S. Marine. They were the "Old Breed", not necessarily better than the other armed forces, just different. Years ago he saw where a former Marine had spit tobacco juice in the face of Jane Fonda at a book signing. His response was "They should send a guard unit to his home and inform him that he'll have to start all over again if he wants to remain a Marine. He's an embarrassment to the corps. Better yet, disown the vomit and send him on his way." If the charges stand, these 'Marines' will be sent away from the Corps. Lord knows, it has happened before.

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BornAgainAmerican 2 years, 3 months ago

The ways of true warriors are often incomprehensible to civilians.

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Satirical 2 years, 3 months ago

I wonder if the Marines will be Court-Martialed under something like General Article 134, or if they can find an order or regulation they violated and get them under Article 92. I think it is safe to say they will not be given the option of Non-Judicial Punishment.

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Satirical 2 years, 3 months ago

First, I don't agree with the LTE on with his definition of obscene. But, I agree the acts of these marines should be punished and are very harmful to the United States.

Anytime something like this or Abu Ghriab is captured on video or in pictures the enemy uses it a propaganda to significantly bolster their ranks. They will claim this is what every American does to their dead, and then lump in several other lies. Since they have video proof of some of their lies, the rest appear more credible. And just like that you have 10k more enemies.

Acts like these which violate the Laws of War (LOW) and Rules of Armed Conflict (ROAC) significantly undermine our nation's efforts. LOW and ROAC aren't just abstract rules because we want to fell good about ourselves. They exist in part to end the conflict more expeditiously. If a Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine violates them, it is not just to their own detriment, but to the detriment of our Nation as a whole.

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BornAgainAmerican 2 years, 3 months ago

“The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!”

Eleanor Roosevelt quotes (American United Nations Diplomat, Humanitarian and First Lady (1933-45), wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt

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BornAgainAmerican 2 years, 3 months ago

The Party of Atheists does not miss an opportunity to insult Christians or religion Who knows...maybe these Marines were Atheists. It could be that you all are trashing your own brothers.

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gudpoynt 2 years, 3 months ago

Just glad they didn't pee on a plastic statue of Jesus (that came from godless China).

Now THAT would have been obscene!

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jafs 2 years, 3 months ago

"Geneva convention today is about as relevant as an icebox"

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Agnostick 2 years, 3 months ago

You know, maybe these were good Christian soldiers, wanting to "save" these brave, dead fighting men at the very last minute. Baptism is a quick and easy way to save a troubled soul. Not having any fresh water at hand....

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Roland Gunslinger 2 years, 3 months ago

I'm predicting a urination specific page added to the Law of Armed Conflict computer based training I have to do every year.

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Gandalf 2 years, 3 months ago

Big deal. If people don't want acts like this committed, stop electing presidents who start wars. bush 1 & 2 come to mind.

How many of you posters who are critical have ever been in combat?

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beatrice 2 years, 3 months ago

Okay, since nobody else is asking, I will.

What is up with guys "having it out" together in this manner? Isn't relieving one's bladder a private event if not put in a building where facilities force closeness? If the great outdoors is your toilet, do you really choose to stand right alongside three other guys -- and allow someone else to film it?

What I am asking is, isn't this at least a little homoerotic? (arms in the air) -- Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Imagine if the corpses weren't there and they did the same exact thing -- what would the reaction be then? Is having it out together really made better and more palatable to many when corpses are included?

Discuss

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Liberty_One 2 years, 3 months ago

Did someone say these guys were brave? Really? Why don't they be truly brave and stand up for what's right and come home from this illegal and dishonorable war.

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consumer1 2 years, 3 months ago

Part of the training to kill includes the dehumanization of the enemy. Why are so many surpized?? I applaud these young men for the efforts, and risk the take for an ungreatful country. We did this in VietNam, let us not do this again. Liberals SHUT THE -------heck----- UP!!!!

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consumer1 2 years, 3 months ago

Part of the training to kill includes the dehumanization of the enemy. Why are so many surpized?? I applaud these young men for the efforts, and risk the take for an ungreatful country. We did this in VietNam, let us not do this again. Liberals SHUT THE -------heck----- UP!!!!

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jayhawklawrence 2 years, 3 months ago

I think the outrage over this photo shows how wimpy we have become as a nation.

You take young boys and throw them into hell where they are trained to kill or be killed and then we throw a fit when these guys are not polite to people who live to commit terror and are the worst kind of serial murderers. These are people who throw acid in young girls faces for wanting to attend school.

I recall the God I learned about in my Catechism class has a place where they burn for eternity.

If these highly trained and brave marines get discharged for a small mistake made under the incredible stress of combat, it would be a tragedy.

This would go under the heading of collateral damage caused by politics and ambitious journalists looking to advance their careers at the expense of young marines.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 3 months ago

When I was in the Navy, we had a defination of a good sailor. "A good sailor is one who does not get caught" Those marines who let some dude videotape this were simply stupid to let this hapen. If I had been there, I would have joined them in "blessing" the dead terrorists.Huaah!!!

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Shane Garrett 2 years, 3 months ago

"The greatest pleasure is to vanquish your enemies and chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth and see those dear to them bathed in tears, to ride their horses and clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters." Ghesgis Khan.
I believe it was Patton who said something like let the other s.o.b. die for his country. If today war is to be kinder and gentler, then I say "piss on this whole moot discussion".

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its_just_math 2 years, 3 months ago

Disclaimer: Do your own research on wartime law and protocol. Forum hard-core leftists (about 75% of the forum) only know what they learned during W's two -terms via far-left websites. They all come out and act like they are wartime experts since W was prez. Just like many here like to armchair QB Brownback every time he blinks---they're expert at governing and are keen economists. Amusing to say the least.

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heygary 2 years, 3 months ago

It has nothing to do with political correctness! It has to do with good Order and Discipline. Lapses in judgment like this and Abu Ghraib play right in to the enemy's hands. It will cost American lives. I can assure you the United States Marine Corp does not expect or condone this type of behavior from its members.

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Cait McKnelly 2 years, 3 months ago

Bea is right; desecration of a corpse is against the Articles of the Geneva Convention. However, I would like to point out that the Geneva Convention has, itself, been urinated on by the American government ever since Bush invaded Iraq. Bush and Cheney both are guilty of war crimes. To the extent that a year ago Bush canceled a speech in Switzerland (ironically) for fear he could/would be hauled in front of the Hague. With that kind of example, why should these young men act any differently?

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akt2 2 years, 3 months ago

A Vietnam vet told about how they would cut the left ear off of the dead and wear it around their neck. There was no video around. It may or may not be true. The lesson learned here is to put the video equipment away so the arm chair pansies of the world never have to witness the reality of war.

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Paul R Getto 2 years, 3 months ago

Our military is good, brave and noble. They just to their jobs even of the leaders (Bush, then Obama) are misguided. We should not judge them all by the actions of a few. We should, however, get out of Afghanistan.

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Alceste 2 years, 3 months ago

Wonder what mayhem would have been unleashed had these boys not hit their target(s)? Seems like taking a whiz on the dead corpse of a guy trying to do mayhew ain't all so wrong.

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beatrice 2 years, 3 months ago

Desecrating of a corpse is against the Geneva Conventions. It isn't just "political correctness," as the letter states. As a nation, we agree to uphold the standards of war found in the Geneva Convention, even when we battle an enemy that does not.

The rest of the letter is a fine argument against the war itself.

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usnsnp 2 years, 3 months ago

Want you to think, what would the outrage be if it was american soldiers killed and the Taliban were peeing on them. The talking heads, newspapers and politicians would be calling it a war crime, and demand that the people be captured and put on trial or killed.

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Number_1_Grandma 2 years, 3 months ago

I don't have to 'walk a mile' in a killer on death row to know it is wrong to have killed. Wrong is wrong. Understanding why they did wrong is fine if you have to. But, it is still wrong!

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 3 months ago

Who are the enemy combatants?

The USA Bush/Cheney invaded Afghanistan which unfortunately makes we the USA the enemy as the Taliban would be had they invaded America.

Condoning the behavior of the few simply because they are in the war zone seems irresponsible and unethical. Certainly their actions do not represent acceptable foreign policy. Perhaps these Marines have been in the war zone too damn long and need therapy so bring them home for treatment.

The Taliban cannot invade America for they have not the resources nor perhaps the desire.

Painting Muslims as terrorists is unacceptable. Perhaps these Muslim Taliban see themselves as protectors of their country not terrorists.

SHUT DOWN the war and bring the troops home. Troops are innocent bystanders forced into a situation for which they have no desire to be. Thousands upon thousands upon thousands upon thousands upon thousands on both sides have either been killed or disabled. For what? Revenge? Killing innocent men,women and children accomplishes what?

SHUT DOWN the war and bring the troops home. Stop wasting lives and trillions of dollars. Spend that money at home for jobs and education and establishing an international peace program that includes understanding the cultures of others.

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Brock Masters 2 years, 3 months ago

This is an absolutely great letter that expresses what I believe but in a much more articulate way than I could have.

What a screwed up concept. You'll get kudos for killing the enemy, but jail for peeing on their dead bodies.

We need to stand behind these young men and I appreciate Curtis writing this letter.

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FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 3 months ago

Give them some credit. At least the Marines didn't throw their shoes.

From past experience in the military, voiding on your enemy is a jesture of respect.

I have had opposition that had their guts been on fire, I wouldn't void on them to put it out.

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its_just_math 2 years, 3 months ago

WOW! There wasn't this much outrage when Daniel Pearl was beheaded or a US soldier was dismembered and dumped off a Baghdad bridge. What these kids did was super dumb and repulsive, but here come the America haters, veteran or not. I thought you flew a plane in Vietnam Mr. Bennett? Now you're claiming to have been an infantryman? Did you do both?

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Roland Gunslinger 2 years, 3 months ago

The bad judgment exercised by a handful of Marines should be treated like an ND: a Negligent Discharge. In the US military, if you “accidentally” pull the trigger and launch an unplanned bullet downrange, you should'nt even bother trying to explain away the “accident.” If that bullet kills someone, it’s called Negligent Homicide. The bullet did not fire accidentally; it was fired negligently. Bottom line.

This should be treated like a negligent discharge of the penis, and of the video camera, and then of common sense. What a dumb thing to do. And super dumb to video tape it. And ultra-dumb to then let the video make it to the Internet.

Those few Marines should be busted, but they don’t deserve prison. They made a big-league mess up... but they did not commit murder. They were young men in combat who committed a stupid act. How many of us who have reached the age of 30 cannot look back and find at least a dozen instances of major league stupidity that we committed? Most of us are lucky that our dumbness did not make it to the Internet.

Punish them, but do not tar them. Do not send them to prison.

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