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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

Roland Gunslinger 2 years, 11 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.

jaywalker 2 years, 11 months ago

Exactly. Couldn't have said it better.

Satirical 2 years, 11 months ago

"negligent discharge of the penis"

What Article is that under the UCMJ?

Does it apply only to urine?

parrothead8 2 years, 11 months ago

I get that soldiers are often in "kill or be killed" positions, but I don't think the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps trains any of their troops to pee someone to death.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 11 months ago

Rather than "proof", I read the comment as in indication of what his impression was, comparing one incident to another. As far as impressions go, I tend to agree with "it's just math".

jhawkinsf 2 years, 11 months ago

How do you call him a liar. He said "outrage". That's something that is impossible to quantify. Does one cup of outrage equal two cups of apathy? Does a letter that expresses mild outrage equal a letter that expresses an opinion that qualifies that outrage with a dash of sympathy? Clearly, clearly, he was expressing an opinion. And just as clearly, he is entitled to whatever opinion he has without being called a liar.
Unless, of course, your comment was not an expression of the validity of his statement, but was itself just your opinion, which you are equally entitled to. If that's the case, perhaps labeling your comments as opinion might avoid confusion.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 11 months ago

Well, if I "know" it's not a fact, if I "know" it can't be a fact, then I can assume it's an opinion. Even the first word in the original comment, "WOW" is an expression of an opinion. It seemed pretty clear to me.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 11 months ago

If it's a baseless "fact", then prove him wrong. Prove there was more "outrage" over the killing of an American journalist of the dismembering of an American soldier (I recalled it as an American contractor, but that's beside the point). A standard of proof would be at a minimum an interview of every human being on this planet with 50% +1 falling on one side of the debate or the other.
Have fun.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

The burden of proof is on him, since he made the claim, not on others to "disprove" it.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 11 months ago

As I said, as I read it, he didn't make the claim of fact, only of opinion. That said, the burden shifts to those who claim it was a fact and to those who claim he lied. If he admits it was his intention to state a fact, then you're correct that the burden is on him.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

"There wasn't this much outrage when Daniel Pearl was beheaded"

Where's the opinion part there?

Sounds like a straightforward expression of fact to me.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 11 months ago

First, the post began with WOW. An expression of surprise, bewilderment, something like that. Who's surprise, who's bewilderment? Maybe his, maybe mine, maybe yours. It's in the eye of the beholder. Hence it's an opinion.
Second, the use of the word outrage is almost impossible to quantify. Even what it means is subjective. Someone's reaction to an event may indicate outrage to me, but not to you. So is it outrage? That's a matter of opinion. Third, I don't want to beat a dead horse. Mr. Math made a statement that I understood to be an opinion. If someone else chooses to take it as a fact, fine. They are entitled to that opinion, as I am entitled to mine. And since math has chosen to remain silent on the issue, we will never know.

emceelean 2 years, 11 months ago

"Where's the opinion part there?

Sounds like a straightforward expression of fact to me."

If you expect people to preface everything they think with "I think" you aren't being reasonable.

progressive_thinker 2 years, 11 months ago

There was actually quite a lot of outrage when Daniel Pearl was murdered. So much that a law in his memory was introduced into the house, H.R. 1861: Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act of 2009. Unfortunately, it was not passed. As well, there is a Daniel Pearl memorial lecture series, a Daniel Pearl scholarship, and many others who keep his memory alive.

This is not about America haters. This is about making sure that as Americans, we hold ourselves to the highest standards of conduct. In short, it is making sure that when one of us falls short of the mark, we correct the problem promptly.

This is called a necessary component of leadership. Sure, the rest of the world does not always follow suit immeidiately. Nonetheless, we should lead by example.

Curtis Bennett 2 years, 11 months ago

Dear Mr. “its_just_math”...... First of all, I am not a “hater,” quite the opposite, but just FYI In 1968 at the start of the Tet Offensive, I arrived in Vietnam and for the next six months flew 201 close air support missions in an A-4 Skyhawk with VMA-211 out of Chu-Lai, RVN. Then, it was my good fortune to spent the next 7 months out in the boonies (Indian Country) with the Korean Marines; the 2nd ROK “Blue Dragon” Brigade" so far out in the bush that only helicopters were our way in and out... so yes, my friend, I saw combat in all its gore and brutality, as I was directly involved in the fighting on the ground as well as in the air trying to survive being shot at daily in both venues. FYI also, Koreans fight a different war, and that’s where I experienced war at its worst, and the atrocities both sides commit,. I can fully sympathize with anyone who has been to war, and respect their opinion and experience. By the way, Anytime you’d like to visit to share your personal experiences in combat, I’m in the book, but please call first, as I may be getting monthly treatment from the VAsince I am a disabled veteran.

Fred Mertz 2 years, 11 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.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

So we have no standards for behavior in the military?

Anything goes?

Hey, why not rape their women too?

jaywalker 2 years, 11 months ago

Eeeeasy there, jafs. Of course there are standards and I don't think anyone is actually condoning their actions, just lending perspective. And while it was an incredibly stupid thing to do AND videotape, it certainly doesn't rise to the level of obscenity nor is remotely as despicable as raping women.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

"We need to stand behind these young men" - sure sounds like support, more like condoning than criticizing them to me.

Whether or not it's "obscene" is undoubtedly a matter of point of view - if somebody peed on a dead American soldier, many here would consider that obscene - why wouldn't that apply here?

Raping women is worse - I acknowledge that.

But, it seems to me that once we start justifying bad behavior in war because we're at war, that's a slippery slope that's hard to control. And, once we've justified acting like the "enemy", we've become them, and should no longer hold ourselves up as morally superior.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 11 months ago

While you think raping a woman is worse than urinating on a corpse, and I certainly agree, that is probably not true in the country where this happened. Who's standards should be applied? If it's our standards, isn't that imposing our values on them, something I've heard by many on the left as being something we should avoid? And if it's their standard, surely the right would be front and center fighting that.

Linda Endicott 2 years, 11 months ago

I don't see that Jafs is suggesting we hold other people in other countries to our standards...

But shouldn't we hold our own military people to our standards, regardless of what country they're in at the time? Would you consider it obscene or inappropriate, or at the very least distasteful if someone urinated on the body of your family member before burial?

Actually, I think it would be considered defiling a corpse, and most states in this country have laws against it...if we don't allow people in this country to do it, why should we expect our military to behave any differently?

Part of the problem the U.S. has to begin with in the middle east is their perception of us...this display doesn't exactly help with that, does it?

While I don't think they necessarily deserve prison time for the act, either, the military has to consider the possible consequences of their actions, intended or not...have these men, by their juvenile action, made life even more dangerous now for the soldiers still overseas?

This is part of the problem with any war...when you train people to kill they learn to dehumanize the enemy, and this is the kind of stuff that happens as a consequence...

jaywalker 2 years, 11 months ago

Saying we should stand behind someone is NOT the same as condoning their actions. People 'stand behind' or support those that have done wrong every single day. Just because you 'stand behind' your son that committed murder certainly doesn't mean you condone their action, right?

I never questioned whether the act was obscene, just that it doesn't come close to an obscenity like rape.

And I don't see anyone justifying anything, but rather lending perspective, just like I said originally.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

"It certainly doesn't rise to the level of obscenity"

And, many on here are certainly justifying, some celebrating these actions - I'm surprised you haven't seen that.

If a child of mine committed murder, I'd have a very hard time "standing behind" him or supporting him, I think.

jaywalker 2 years, 11 months ago

" it certainly doesn't rise to the level of obscenity nor is remotely as despicable as raping women."

Parsing the quote just to support your argument? Don't be a jerk, jafs.

And that's just too bad for your kid, I guess.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

First you said that.

Then you said "I never questioned whether the act was obscene".

Sure you did - why backpedal?

jaywalker 2 years, 11 months ago

Not sure how you can read that wrong, but I said it didn't rise to the level of obscenity of rape, never said it wasn't obscene. Note the 'nor', it's a coordinating conjunction.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

My bad, if that's how you meant it.

Jean Robart 2 years, 11 months ago

you are correct jafs. These miserable examples of the American fighting man need to be punished. It was not a gesture of respect.

Fred Mertz 2 years, 11 months ago

Sucks to have to work....miss so many comments during the day. Anyway, yes,I think we need to stand behind these men and stand against any harsh punishment.

And no, peeing on a dead body is not the same as raping a woman. No comparison. Is peeing on a dead body the right thing to do? Of course not because not only is it an unprofessional act it encourages hate against the US and gives the enemy a rallying call.

But, consider that we tell these young men good job for putting a bullet through our enemy's head and snuffing the life out of them. Many talk about the sacrifice that our soliders make when they die, but what about the sacrifice of killing another human being? Not a fun thing to do and perhaps peeing on the dead body is more of a defense and coping mechanism than it is an act of disrespect.

I am sure de-humanizing the enemy helps cope with the fact that you just killed someone. Should they have peed on the dead bodies? No, of course not, but should they lose their careers or be punished severely for doing it? I say no.

I don't condone them doing it, but I am not going to condemn them for it because I have not walked in their shoes. I have not killed for my country. I have not faced death on a daily basis for my country. I have not been separated from my family for long periods of time for my country. So no, I will not condemn them or criticize them. I have no right for I have not done what we have asked them to do.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

I have every right to criticize them, even if I haven't been in their shoes - I don't lose that right because of that fact.

In fact, we must examine these things critically as a society, and not only from the perspective of the soldiers involved.

You are absolutely right that we train them to dehumanize the "enemy" in order to make it possible to kill them - that's exactly why we need to set some boundaries for them. It may seem strange to say it's ok to kill them, but not to pee on their corpses, but I think we want to say that. Throughout history human beings have been at war, and yet we seem to want to set some limits, and not devolve into sheer animal brutality.

Personally, of course, I'm not at all sure it's ok to kill them indiscriminately in the first place, and I'd prefer for us to examine how our own actions create enemies, etc. I'd also like to see young people think critically about our country, and not just blindly follow authority, so when they're asked to go to war, they think carefully about whether or not the war is justified, necessary, etc.

But I know that's unlikely to happen, at least in the near future.

Fred Mertz 2 years, 11 months ago

I only said I don't have a right....you certainly have a right - in fact many of these men and women died for your right.

You know you sound like Ron Paul when you say our own actions create enemies. Of course, I like Ron Paul and actually agree with him and you.

But I'm not going to condemn these men for a situation we've created.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

Ron Paul says some good things.

I didn't "condemn" them - I "criticized" them.

They're part of the creation, as well, in so far as they vote, or don't vote, and think or don't think critically when asked to go to war.

We have not only the right, but the duty, in my mind, to think about these issues, and not leave them up to the military, or simply turn away from the ugliness (BAA even suggests that it's best for civilians to not know much about what happens in war).

geekin_topekan 2 years, 11 months ago

"expresses what I believe but in a much more articulate way than I could have." ++++ Ummm...

nah!

Richard Heckler 2 years, 11 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.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 11 months ago

"The Taliban cannot invade America for they have not the resources not perhaps the desire."

But they can give sanctuary to those can can attack the U.S. They did give sanctuary to those who did attack the U.S.

Have you forgotten the events of Sept. 11, 2001? Merrill, look it up. There is probably an article or two about those events. Google 9-11. I'm almost certain there is something there. After reading an article or two that explains the relationship between the Taliban and those who committed the attacks, perhaps you will see how wrong your statement is.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 11 months ago

Well, this non-hip senior citizen looked up NDDA on google and found 1. The North Dakota Dental Association. 2. The North Dakota Dept. of Agriculture. 3. The North Dallas Dermatology Association.

What does NDDA mean?

Flap Doodle 2 years, 11 months ago

"Painting Muslims as terrorists is unacceptable." Except for the fact that Muslim terrorists kill thousands of people all over the world every year. Most of their victims are other Muslims who aren't the right kind of Muslim.

Jeff Zamrzla 2 years, 11 months ago

one could say that religion in general has killed millions just in the last millenia.

gudpoynt 2 years, 11 months ago

Painting Muslims as terrorists is the same as painting Christians as terrorists.

Islaic extremists are to Islam as KKK is to Christianity.

KKK interprets the Christian Bible in such a way to justify terrorist actions against non-Christians (and non-whites).

Islamic extremets interpret the Koran in such a way to justify terrorist actions against non-Muslims.

So yes, "painting Muslims as terrorists is unacceptable". Absolutely. Just as painting Christians as terrorists is also unacceptable... and painting Jews, Bhuddists, Hindus, or atheists as terrorists is, likewise, totally unacceptable.

No exceptions snap. None.

usnsnp 2 years, 11 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.

littlexav 2 years, 11 months ago

No, of course not. They would just say that they were "expressing their opinion."

Stuart Evans 2 years, 11 months ago

you nailed it. we tend to put our soldiers on a pedestal, regardless of their actions.

beatrice 2 years, 11 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.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 11 months ago

I'll begin by saying I'm not very familiar with the exact rules contained in the Geneva Convention, I'll pose my comments in the form of a question. Does the Geneva Convention categorize different crimes? Is posing as a civilian while carrying out military operations worse than desecration of a corpse? Might ripping a corpse apart in a public square and then burning that corpse be worse that urinating on a corpse?
Just saying it's against the Geneva Convention puts it in the same category as mass murder. Is there a distinction between the two? Since you brought up the subject of the Geneva Convention, please tell us, or provide a link, to how urinating on a corpse is viewed by that convention.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

If someone were to break into your home and steal from you, should their defense be, "Well, did I rape anyone?"

As an atheist, I don't think what we do to corpses is as horrible as what we do to living people. I am simply pointing out that urinating on a corpse is a form of desecration, and it is the type of thing we as a nation have agreed not to do when in war. I'm not debating which form of desecration is worse than another. Either you treat the a corpse with a certain level of respect or you do not.

I don't think the best defense of our actions is to compare it to worse actions by our enemies. We are not our enemies and we do not hold ourselves to their standards, we hold ourselves up to ours. If you want wizzing on corpses to be the type of thing we allow and encourage our soldiers to do, so be it. I myself think it the wrong thing to do. It is no way to end a beer summit.

Here is the info you asked for on the G.C. source: http://www.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v2_rul_rule113

Geneva Convention IV Article 16, second paragraph, of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV provides: “As far as military considerations allow, each Party to the conflict shall facilitate the steps taken … to protect [the killed] against … ill-treatment.”

Additional Protocol I Article 34(1) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides: “The remains of persons who have died for reasons related to occupation or in detention resulting from occupation or hostilities … shall be respected”.

Additional Protocol II Article 4 of the 1977 Additional Protocol II provides: 1. All persons who do not take a direct part or who have ceased to take part in hostilities, whether or not their liberty has been restricted, are entitled to respect for their person [and] honour … 2. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the following acts against the persons referred to in paragraph I are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever: … (e) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment

jhawkinsf 2 years, 11 months ago

Thank you for the information.
I've said in the past on various threads that I believe there should be natural consequences for people's actions. If something is against the law and they break the law, they should suffer the known consequences. The same is true here. The U.S. Army, should hold these individuals responsible in accordance of the legally prescribed standards.

Fred Mertz 2 years, 11 months ago

To use a military phrase, the world is FUBAR. You can put a bullet through someone's head and get a medal. You can burn them to death and be a hero. You can drop a bomb and anhilate a city, men women and children and you're okay, but pee on a corpse and you're in trouble.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

Yep. Desecrating the dead is frowned upon in many societies.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

I don't consider it ok to annihilate cities, including women and children, especially non-combatants.

Do you?

Alceste 2 years, 11 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.

akt2 2 years, 11 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.

jaywalker 2 years, 11 months ago

It happened, along with other 'trinkets.' Trying to fit war zone mentality into what most consider 'rational behavior' is a deluded exercise. I believe it's extremely difficult for those that haven't served to understand.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

True. But does this mean we shouldn't set boundaries on what is and isn't acceptable?

jaywalker 2 years, 11 months ago

Of course not. Pretty sure most feel this is unacceptable, we don't want to come off like other heathens on the battlefield. Just that this incident shouldn't made to be more than it was.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

I'd bet that there's a significant number of Americans who think this was just fine.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

Your claim would be supported by reading some of the comments here.

jaywalker 2 years, 11 months ago

No kidding. But I'd bet a majority don't.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

And we wouldn'tbe making more of it than we are -- if we didn't have the film. Capturing such incidents on film somehow elevates the atrocity by letting us actually see the offense. Pictures can be powerful things.

Most importantly, it raises social awareness of such things because film and photographs gives "horrified" and "stunned" news anchors something "shocking and disturbing" to show their largely somnambulant audience during 24/7 news programming.

Had there only been a written account, we almost certainly never would have heard about it and would not be discussing this now.

jaywalker 2 years, 11 months ago

Excellent point. I just can't get my mind around how so many are stupid enough to record despicable behavior. Blows me away.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

It must be generational. I'm blown away by how much personal information people put on websites like facebook, or with the general fascination among younger people to record their seemingly every waking moment and share them with others. My sense of personal and private is not shared by the younger generation.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

Hey, you have an avatar now! Maybe I just noticed.

jaywalker 2 years, 11 months ago

No, you didn't miss it, just put it up today. That dunk in the Baylor game was just too pretty, figured I'd kill two birds with one stone.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

They clearly don't consider it "despicable".

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 11 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?

heygary 2 years, 11 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.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

See the above post with details of the Geneva convention rules about this sort of thing.

Shane Garrett 2 years, 11 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".

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 11 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!!!

jayhawklawrence 2 years, 11 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.

BlackVelvet 2 years, 11 months ago

Give these Marines some beer, so they can replenish their urine!

BlackVelvet 2 years, 11 months ago

Give these Marines some beer, so they can replenish their urine!

beatrice 2 years, 11 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

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

No, I don't remember that. Never heard of it.

I do recall Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ," which pictured a crucifix in an odd, golden environment. Were it not for the title, however, nobody would have known the source. The photograph has to do with the corporeal nature of Christ and religious ideas about the "body," or something along that line. Like it or not, it doesn't appear as it is often described. http://www.artnet.com/artwork/424288434/piss-christ.html

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

That I do remember. I'm not a particular fan of Chris Ofili. I'm a little more traditional in my personal tastes in art - Edward Hopper and John Singer Sargent over much contemporary work.

Are you saying we need to censor museums if they receive any form of government support?

Fred Mertz 2 years, 11 months ago

Is it a private matter? Depends. Generally yes, but guys drinking might all piss on a fire to put it out. Or they might pee on a wall to see who can pee higher.

I see what they did as a defense and coping mechanism. Think the trauma they psyche would suffer if they stood there and discussed how the guys they just killed probably left behind a wife and kids. And how their kids would miss their fathers.

Instead they pee on them because they aren't fathers, sons or even human. They are the enemy and therefore killing them is okay and not a sad horrible act.

We ask these young men to commit the most heinous of all acts in the name of their country and then we expect them to adhere to the same standards that you and I adhere to in the safety and comfort of our country.

All wars are hell and some are unnecessary. Iraq and Afghanistan are unnecessary.

jaywalker 2 years, 11 months ago

We used to call it "crossing swords", and was fairly common and when I was but a lad. Never considered it 'homoerotic', but that's just me. More about being boozed up andimmature.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

I've not been in combat, but that doesn't mean I can't voice my opinions. I've also never been in Congress. Does this mean I can't be critical of their actions either? I've never been a venture capitalist, so can I not critize images of businessmen turned politicians holding wads of cash after firing people like they are pirates displaying ill-gotten gains?

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

Nope, its the Constitution that gives me that right. The military is there to protect the nation.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

Plenty of people have fought and died to protect the rights outlined in the Constitution without being in the military as well.

Again, one need not be a member of a group in order to be critical of actions within that group.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

I think I know about it being wrong on more than one level to piss on a corpse.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

I'm not disagreeing. I'm not calling for their heads or saying they be tossed from the miliary. I am saying it isn't just "political correctness," as the letter states, as to why we don't allow soldiers to urinate on enemy corpses. I think most people are agreeing that it is not what soldiers should do.

Strongly punishing these soldiers, however, would be making scapegoats out of indivdiuals.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

I'd say we should know everything that happens, and exercise our rights to judge whether or not we find it acceptable in our society.

If we find it unacceptable, then we should exercise our rights to petition our government, and change it.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

I completely disagree.

We must, as a civilized society, make these judgements, and with all of the necessary information to do so.

We get to decide, as a nation, what we find acceptable and unacceptable, even in war.

Hiding the reality of it doesn't help us, it harms us, as a nation.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

Thanks, but no thanks.

I have no interest in learning how to kill people by dehumanizing and demonizing them.

That doesn't mean that I want what soldiers do in war to be hidden away, as BAA suggests, so that we don't have necessary information to make judgements as a nation.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

I have it right when you say "Its not the right thing to do, we all know that."

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

Actually, that should read "You have it right ..."

Satirical 2 years, 11 months ago

You predict just a page? I think it will be a whole new CBT.

Satirical 2 years, 11 months ago

LOL. Oh c'mon. You know you love all those CBTs. I am sure you would watch them every day if you could. And I bet you have a favorite.

voevoda 2 years, 11 months ago

Making fun of the holy sacrament of Baptism is offensive to Christians. Please don't do it.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

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

gudpoynt 2 years, 11 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!

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

So now we are holding our military to the standards of individual artists? Good grief.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

And now individual artists -- one of which is British -- is now representative of your imaginary Party of Atheists. Wow.

Jerry Sandusky is a Republican. Using your "logic" is it safe to call the Republican Party the Party of ....

No, I can't go there. I'll leave that kind of thing up to you.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

How you manage to bring religion into this when no one else has is striking.

I, for one, couldn't care less about the religious beliefs (or lack thereof) on the part of these Marines.

Although, I did miss the part where Jesus instructs his followers to kill people and then pee on their dead bodies.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

I've read this whole thread numerous times.

Please point out the comments that do that - I have not seen them.

Satirical 2 years, 11 months ago

I thought everyone new that verse....

"And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left." - Psalms 106:11

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

Quoting the wife of the former leader of the "Party of Atheists"? Do you know no shame?

chuckle

Satirical 2 years, 11 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.

Satirical 2 years, 11 months ago

Correction - Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC), not ROAC.

I should avoid posting quickly when I have a headache.

Satirical 2 years, 11 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.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

See the comments on the Geneva Convention and desecrating corpses.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

Good movie, great performance. If you noticed, however, the clip ends right when Nicholson's character is realizing he is about to be carted off to jail.

Yes, great example. (sarcasm)

riverdrifter 2 years, 11 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.

Shane Garrett 2 years, 11 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.

drillsgt 2 years, 11 months ago

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

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 11 months ago

The LTE writer was most likely a lousy soldier.

George Lippencott 2 years, 11 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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