They are our sons. We taught them to hate and we taught them to kill because you usually have to hate before you can kill. And I suppose they experienced a lot that made that hate burn even hotter and brighter, like seeing their fellow soldiers burned and blown up and shot down. And while we sat safely and comfortably here at home and watched via our widescreen t.v.'s, they walked the mean streets and deadly mountain trails of Afghanistan, burning hot in the summer and piercingly cold in the winter.
We trained them to be snipers, not to kill by tossing a grenade or loosing a bomb or spraying automatic weapon fire at whoever, but to capture their target in a scope, bringing them up close and personal, not a generic enemy, but an individual, then to squeeze the trigger and triumphantly watch them fall dead. That's what we wanted from them; that's we called doing their duty.
They took their hatred and contempt one step farther, urinating on the corpses they'd created and worse yet, making a video of themselves doing it. A foolish act, to be sure.
And that's what has us all indignant. We call it desecration, as if making a human being dead isn't the ultimate desecration. No, we're fine with them killing. We probably gave them medals for being such effective dealers of death. It's being "insensitive" to the ramifications, of forgetting that wars are fought on diplomatic channels as well as on battlefields, that has us up in arms.
Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, finds their behavior "deplorable" and completely "unacceptable". President Hamid Karzai wants "the harshest punishment possible". Generals intone their own unctuous judgments. Reporters are breathlessly horrified. The Obama administration contemplates criminal charges.
Do we not even see how war twists our sense of morality into a fucking pretzel? What these marines did was not like bombing villages, even though the "collateral damage" might include women, children and the elderly. It's not like torturing and humiliating living, feeling human beings at Abu Ghraib. It's not like sending people to Guantanamo for years without ever charging them with a crime. It's not like water-boarding. It's not like "extraordinary rendition" whereby we transport possibly innocent victims to countries that use the most brutal methods to get torture-coerced "confessions".
No, all these things are perfectly fine, just what you have to do in times of war. But, pissing on corpses, now that is beyond the pale. Jesus, People, can you even recognize how perverted this kind of thinking is?
These Marines did everything we asked of them. They hated when we told them to hate and killed when we told them to kill. And then they lost it. How easy it is to say we would never do the same under the same circumstance when we'll never have to prove it?
Now, we are engaged in the most monstrous hypocrisy because this is really all about not upsetting the tender feelings of the other side. Not that I've noticed them worrying much about upsetting us when they drag our soldier's bodies through the streets of Somalia or behead Americans and send the video to t.v. stations. Hillary (and anyone who reads this blog with any regularity knows I love Hillary) gets her most disapproving school-marmish look. Hamid Karzai cries his crocodile tears. President Obama bows to the pressure. Our leaders apologize in our names. Well, they freakin' don't have to apologize on my account. I'd respect them more if they stood behind their soldiers. ("Yes, we realize that they over-reacted in the heat of the moment but we find that understandable under the circumstances and we have no plans to do more than reprimand them. Sorry if you don't think that's enough.")
We know all about the offenders who served as scout snipers - a team of 4, members of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, but we haven't heard a thing about the deceased. Maybe if we knew who they were and what they'd done, we might temper our judgment. But there will probably be a conspiracy of silence because our leaders want to "direct" our opinions.
Desecration is defined as treating something profanely. These Marine snipers will end up being the scapegoats. Isn't that always the way it is? The grunts pay the price while the movers and shakers who created the whole mess will get off scot-free to pursue their paths to political power. That's what I consider profane.