By now, you’ve probably seen the video of four U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of several Taliban members. But in case you haven’t, here’s a link to the video on YouTube. Note: This is not safe for work.
As of this afternoon, all four Marines have been identified, and a three-star general has been tasked with determining what disciplinary action should be taken. Without question, the action should be harsh and taken expeditiously.
However, we Americans must realize that this is one of the things that happens in war, especially when it is prolonged like the engagement in Afghanistan is.
For thousands of years, soldiers have dehumanized their enemies. It appears to be a requirement in order to repeatedly kill other human beings. But, as a war drags on, that dehumanizing gets engrained in the soldier’s psyche, and atrocities happen.
I suspect that the United States is better than many militaries about preventing this, at least if you look at militaries throughout history. I’m not sure we’re any better than any other modern, first-world military, but we certainly take steps with training and command and control to prevent such horrible activities.
But we can’t prevent them completely.
Whether it’s Marines urinating on corpses, prisoners being tortured at Abu Ghraib, or soldiers hunting humans for sport, when you convince 18 to 20 year olds that their foe is not human, bad things will happen.
The only way to truly prevent such things is to stop becoming entangled in foreign wars.
Peace and free trade with all nations; Binding entanglements with none.
– Thomas Jefferson