I never cease to be amazed at what will cause Americans to become outraged. This current urination scandal is no different.
It’s not that I condone or encourage such behavior, but let’s be honest here… this kind of disrespectful act is pretty common in war. It’s one of the risks a nation needs to take into consideration when going to war. The horrors of war are inevitable in every conflict, and desecration of bodies is hardly the worst of it.
Since America invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, our troops and private contractors have engaged in every manner of war crime. Children have been raped and killed. Prisoners were tortured. The death toll on innocent civilians has climbed well over 100,000 (it was calculated at 132,000 back in June of 2011). Still, Americans express little outrage, save for a few weeks following the release of photos from Abu Ghraib.
We’re a visual people. Those photos spoke to us more than a number like 132,000 can. The image of naked men on leashes evoked more of a reaction than sterilized descriptive narratives of how waterboarding works. A smiling, pointing soldier with a cigarette in her mouth left more of an impression than stories of court martial cases involving child abuse.
So, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the reaction to a video depicting Marines peeing on corpses.
Please don’t misunderstand my lack of concern. It’s not that I support urinating on corpses, but in the grand scheme of things… it’s pretty low on my priority list of abuse I want to see ended. I mean, for one thing… the victims are dead. You can dress them up, attach cables to them, and turn them into life-sized puppets that act out Shakespeare for all I care.
Well, maybe I would “care”… I would certainly watch the video.
And yet, while this is my view, I find the handling of this matter by most Republicans to be downright frightening. I’m some douche with a blog, but Republican leaders, who are elected by the people, seem to have no problem with defending these actions. It makes you wonder whether Republicans would side with the military, no matter what they do, so long as Democrats are upset about it.