Sunday, January 15, 2012

Urinating on Dead Taliban was Wrong but not a Crime

It was wrong and the soldiers involved should be reprimanded. But it was not a crime. The real crime is a media that wants to turn this into another Abu Ghraib incident. Let's debate not sensationalize:

I do agree with most of this commentary:

I admit that the first argument has some appeal, that young men charged with killing in their country’s service, and exposed to constant peril and horror, ought to be forgiven such a lapse. While I agree with Taylor that this incident literally screams “dishonorable discharge,” there’s a good case to be made that these men have earned a measure of mercy in their sentencing.

But people like Bill Maher and Dana Loesch completely miss the point when they defend this incident based on how bad our enemies are, and how good and righteous America is. In my view, this desecration has little to do with the unceremoniously moistened corpses. As Bill Maher and The Bible point out, the dead know nothing. If they could talk, I’m sure those dead men would be less offended at the urination than at the whole being made dead thing.

Respect for the dead is for the benefit of the living, and not just for the dead’s loved ones. How we treat the dead says something about us. In doing what they did, those Marines didn’t just piss on some empty meatbags, they pissed on their own humanity.

If that video had shown America’s enemies similarly desecrating US troops, there would have been outrage, for sure, but would anyone be shocked? Do we hold the Taliban, or al Quaeda, in such esteem that this would surprise us? This incident was shocking because America is exceptional, because we don’t do things like that, and we ought to hold ourselves in higher esteem than we do our enemies.

This “things happen in war” excuse is valuable to a point of forgiveness, but using it to mitigate this incident is an insult to the many men and women who fight for our country, who witness the same horrors, yet manage to retain their humanity.

Taylor’s condemnation also highlights the tendency of armchair warriors like Loesch, Maher, and others to co-opt the sacrifices of our fighting men and women into a faux-wizened toughness, perverting and cheapening them in the process. Just because you’ve watched Platoon or The Hurt Locker a bunch of times doesn’t mean you “get it.”
 The proof this is being overblown: The Taliban aren't upset about the incident:
The video comes as the US and the Taliban have reportedly started negotiations. Taliban officials have said the video will not deter them from engaging in talks, but the incident is likely to weaken the position of US negotiators.

[...]At this point, not even the Taliban appears openly fazed by incidents like the one depicted in the video.
Then you have the vulgar Right-wing/Tea Party types whom take the other extreme position and applaud such behavior:
Dana LoEsch, a CNN contributor and conservative radio host, said on her show that she thinks the Marines who were videoed urinating on Taliban corpses are cool and that she wants "a million cool points for these guys."

[...]Loesch is also the editor-in-chief of Big Journalism, a conservative Web site and the co-founder of the St. Louis Tea Party.
Then you have the politicians that want to use the incident to further their political careers:
Rick Perry thinks the video showing U.S. Marines urinating on what appears to be dead Taliban fighters posted online last week is just an example of “kids” being kids.

The GOP hopeful said Sunday he feels the reaction to footage has been "over the top" and he would have handled the situation differently as president.

"Obviously 18, 19-year-old kids make stupid mistakes all too often and that's what's occurred here," Perry said on CNN's "State of the Union" show. "What is really disturbing to me is the over-the-top rhetoric from this administration and their disdain for the military."

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