We Americans can hardly object to the wanton brutality and ugliness of Al Qaeda or the Taliban or any other enemy if we engage in it ourselves.
(I thought, think that of waterboard torture, but that is a different facet of this subject.)
At the same time, as Gen. Sherman said: “WAR IS HELL!”, and I am not being original to note that. But it was the first thing that came to my mind when I heard about the incident or at least when I got to thinking about all the outcry over the incident of U.S. Marines urinating on dead Taliban fighters.
Of course some people are applauding it or at least seeing it as not really right but highly understandable.
I think the problem is this modern craze of everything has to be posted as a video on the World Wide Web for all to see. It used to be when you did naughty things you did them in private, but a whole generation is being brought up to think what you do is share every moment and every thought in your whole life on the world wide web and the accompanying social media.
I believe the Marines did discredit to their country when they did this, but at the same time I am not the one out there dodging the bullets and IEDs and losing my friends in battle.
Certainly they probably need to be reprimanded, court-martialed I do not think.
I’m not even sure that high level government officials such as Defense Secretary Panetta or Secretary of State Clinton should have bothered to condemn it, but maybe in private they ought to ride hard on the command structure who holds the responsibility. I’m not so sure but whether the chiefs don’t condone this behavior by well it’s wrong but wink, wink, nod, nod, attaboy!.
When it really gets bad is when troops wantonly go after innocent live civilians. And there is a history of that in the current and other wars.
War is hell and all of those who think it is something we just have to do also have to accept it.
I don’t know how much this is connected if at all, but we do have an essentially mercenary military, although that word in its strictest sense means soldiers from outside the country I guess. But we do not have a citizen military. We have hired people to do the dirty and dangerous work of war. Part of the deal is they face lethal danger to the ultimate. People willing to do that may have a different frame of mind than many of us. Of course I recognize that most who have served in the past as well as those serving in current times have managed to keep their civility.
But also, much of the story of the dishonorable or embarrassingly ugly aspects of war on our part was covered up or not widely disseminated in the past, with the narrative always being that it was, as an example, only the treacherous “Hun” or the dirty Japs who engaged incivility and committed atrocities.
Nonetheless War is Hell, get used to it or don’t support it.