Worse than the urinators were the pinhead(s) who shot the video and posted it without a clue that it might wind up on YouTube or Al Jazeera, which, of course, it did.
When our Marines yielded to a juvenile urge, they were uncivilized and wrong. Some media outlets and pinhead pundits suggested that it was a "war crime" and that the Marines should be prosecuted as war criminals.
When I read the words "war crime," I felt like a crime was being committed against the English language and sanity. At worst, this was a "war misdemeanor."
Killing a man is not a "war crime" but urinating on his corpse is? Have we gone crazy?
While I was fuming about this, I received an email from Florida Rep. Allen West - an African-American tea-party conservative and retired Army lieutenant colonel - to the Weekly Standard. I confirmed the email with West's press secretary, who said it was not intended to be published, but it's out there now. Just like the urination videotape.
West wrote, "I do not recall any self-righteous indignation when our Delta snipers [Randy] Shughart and [Gary] Gordon had their bodies dragged through Mogadishu. Neither do I recall media outrage and condemnation of our Blackwater security contractors being killed, their bodies burned, and hung from a bridge in Fallujah.
"All these over-emotional pundits and armchair quarterbacks need to chill," he continued. "Does anyone remember the two soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division who were beheaded and gutted in Iraq?"
He might have added the taped beheadings of civilians Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg and other atrocities committed by Muslim terrorists.
West served in Afghanistan and Iraq, where he was once reprimanded for intimidating a prisoner with a gun. He thinks the urinating Marines should be given a "nonjudicial punishment."
Then, he wrote, "have them in full dress uniform stand before their battalion, each personally apologize to God, Country, and Corps . . . and conclude by singing the full U.S. Marine Corps Hymn without a teleprompter."
Everyone else, "unless you've been shot at by the Taliban, shut your mouth, war is hell."
Abusing an enemy's corpse is bad, but not new.
Achilles dragged Hector's body around the walls of Troy behind his chariot. The Crusades were no picnic. Cowboys and Indians scalped each other. The nature of war is dehumanizing, stripping off civilization's veneer. Under their version of Islam, our enemies commit atrocities and ache to die in the name of their god.
It's our military's job to oblige them, but not to desecrate them.
The repugnance about the Marines' stupidity illustrates a troubling double standard. One early New York Times story devoted 20 paragraphs to the anger, the dismay, the possible war crime. Then, the 21st paragraph: "While the images dominated the news in Afghanistan, the Taliban's campaign of assassination continued when a suicide car bomber killed the governor of a district in the southern province of Kandahar. Two of his sons were also killed."
Which was the real outrage - the rude behavior of some Marines or the murder of civilians by the Taliban? Urine got tons more media play than blood. Maybe we have gone crazy.
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