Monday, January 16, 2012

Piss Hard

The Marines I have seen around the world
have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds,
the highest morale, and the lowest morals
of any group of animals I have ever seen.
Thank God for the United States Marine Corps
--Eleanor Roosevelt

The Marines have landed
and have the situation well in hand!
--Richard Harding Davis

Marines know how to use their bayonets.
Army bayonets may as well be paperweights
--Navy Times (1994)

The news is abuzz with the story of the four Marines filmed pissing on the bodies of dead
suspected Taliban fighters.

Begin with the premise that these are corpses are "suspected Taliban" -- dead, necro, stiff, checked out, finis, kaput . . .
suspected. When did being Taliban become a death sentence? Don't Taliban sit in the Afghanistan parliament?

These Marines are warriors; it is extremely doubtful that a soldier would piss on a dead enemy fighter, but clearly the warrior culture permits the behavior. Presidential candidate Perry says the action was that of "kids" making a stupid mistake. Now Marines wielding deadly weapons are relegated to kid status. That statement seems as egregious as calling a black man a "boy", and yet it has passed nicely under the scrutiny of the porous Republican radar.

The pissing Marines are emblematic of a warrior culture run amok. Killing is no longer sufficient, so humiliation must be heaped upon the dead. However, this impulse to desecration runs up against the Geneva Conventions which were passed into law to provide minimal standards of conduct between combatants. Pissing on dead bodies is not in keeping with the intent of the conventions.

How do things like this happen? What is the command climate that permits
such disregard of civilized human conduct? Does our training or our never-ending wars contribute to this mindset?

Some say, "What matter?" -- this is one small episode in a larger SNAFU. While that may be true, that fact does not diminish the import or significance of the act. The abject disdain and revilement shown in the act and its filming may be seen as the embodiment of the culture of elective wars, writ small. Peeing on dead opposition soldiers is a microcosm of a destitute military policy. The videotape of actions like this one will serve as future
naufrages of a time and place.

The fact that fighting men would photograph this disgusting behavior is indicative of a bankruptcy of spirit which results from adopting warrior values. Warriors must be brave, but what matter if they are morally bankrupt? If the warriors are bankrupt, our social fabric is rent.

Psychologically, this is a sado-masochistic act in which the Marines are sexually humiliating a fallen enemy. The behavior is aberrant, but moreso when death and killing are involved. It is also (possibly) homoerotic.

You would not applaud the behavior in a snuff film, and yet a trash-talking female "news commentator" proudly declares she would
"drop trou" and join in the Marine's pissing game. Most who oppose the situation only find fault with the filming of it. But would you want your daughter dating such men?

What sort of society are we when we execute and defend such behavior? Ranger believes the Marine's action signify a personality disorder, and he would recommend psychological evaluation and discharge on that basis.

This is a real pisher. The values of warriors are not the values of a liberal democratic philosophy.

--Jim and Lisa


  1. I was about to take umbrage with equating Marines as warriors, but then I saw where you went with it...stuffed my umbrage back into the sack.

    You're right.

    And even more so...I think this is indicative of how, and where our country is going in toto.

    I only find a few people who are actually angry about this, the rest...either impartial, excusatory, or cheerleading.

    I don't know this country anymore.

  2. jim-

    I have been quietly mourning this event and the reaction of the American populace. Of course, I the Taliban posted YouTubes of Taliban fighters pissing on fallen US Marines, there would be a general outrage in US quarters.

    Perry's pathetic justification that this was just "kids" brings to mind the annual opening day words of my HS Principal, F. Hamilton Whipple, probably the finest school leader I have known, an opinion shared by every one of my classmates:

    "Boy will be boys. Girls will be girls. Kids will be kids. That means that one, some and/or all of you will probably do some dumb things this school year. It's the nature of the beast. HOWEVER, that does not excuse, justify or mitigate any dumb acts on your part. It simply predicts them. Thus, when you do some dumb thing, I expect you to stand up and take full responsibility for your actions, accept the disciplinary steps applied and learn from the incident. If you try to avoid your responsibility, trust me, the disciplinary action will be for both the act and the cowardice, and be harsher."

    We would talk about this approach at our reunions over the years, and how it actually and positively shaped our approach to child rearing.

    I wonder what Rick Perry would say if a bunch poor high school kids urinated on Ronald Regan's grave in protest of his policies that adversely effected them?

    Pathetically excusing dumb behavior only serves to make dumb behavior the norm.

  3. to all, esp sheer and al,
    i'm glad we all made it to another year-so all is not lost. now all we have to do is C&R and chief needs to redistribute the ammo.
    when we sent up the count i am missing a trooper.
    i think that this issue is a huge symbolic event b/c of it's deeper meaning. sometimes a cigar is more than a cigar. I THINK THE LARGER ISSUE that is ignored is how the us and nato cmds bury the enemy dead. i've done research and will write an essay later today.
    in short the burial of UBL may be a violation of the nato and gc strictures. if we are not burying the dead as req'd then why should the troops be held to a higher standard.?
    imo we do not honor the code of respecting the enemy dead.the pissing is just an expression of this fact.
    in RVN the US buried NVA in unmarked mass graves w/o even trying to document the i.d's of the dead bodies, and then we say they didn't value life like we do. there are nvn families that have NO IDEA where/when /how their men died.this violates the intent of the gc's, and human behavior.
    this event shows the foolishness of COIN and of pretending that we are there for democratic purposes.
    i fail to understand how our presence in AFGH is any different than Hannibals 16 year presence within the roman border.we now ride mraps instead of elephants.
    1 thing is sure- a soldier must control ALL ASPECTS of using his male member.

  4. sheer,
    1 of my readers used the words-moral indignation-sorta criticizing my point.
    i'm so far beyond anything moral. this event as chief said is just plain stupid.
    the 2 are not the same.
    i wish that i could feel indignation.

    1. I saw that exchange.

      My estimation of your theologic powers stands.

      The dead have no feeling, they've gone off to wherever it is they go, they have no further say in matters.

      It is a sad state of affairs when the immoral outrage has morped into just ordinary everyday occurrence.


  5. jim-

    The Nazi's that were sentenced to death and hanged, along with Hermann Goering, who committed suicide, were cremated in the East Cemetery in Munich, and their ashes were scattered in the Isar River in Munich. Placement into mass graves by the Allies was the fate of many German troops who died on the Western Front. We have never set up "cemeteries" for our foreign foes.

    Urinating, for the camera, on the bodies of a foe, be they military or civilian, is a broad leap from mass graves, cremation or burial at sea (OBL). We're not looking at a "slippery slope", but a step off a precipice. These kids don't necessarily deserve jail time, but loss of rank, loss of pay and some nasty duty are definitely called for. Not because they were "caught", but because we just don't do that kind of crap.

    That said, mutilation of Japanese WWII war dead was not unheard of. And was definitely not acceptable to senior military leaders.

  6. Sad state of affairs. To be part of a group of at least five making a video record of corpse desecration seems fairly weird to me.

    To my military mind they should be whacked to the full extent of the law. But yahoos like Perry will probably make martyrs out of these guys. Hopefully saner heads @ HQMC will stand up to the crazies and prosecute not only the four peepee boys and the videotaper but also the unit leadership. These guys have done a horrendous amount of damage to America. We do not need to make that damage even worse by giving these guys a love tap on the back of the hand.


      “Now we have a bunch of progressives that are talking smack about our military because there were marines caught urinating on corpses, Taliban corpses,” Loesch said during her radio program on FM News Talk 97.1. “Can someone explain to me if there’s supposed to be a scandal that someone pees on the corpse of a Taliban fighter? Someone who, as part of an organization, murdered over 3,000 Americans? I’d drop trou and do it too. That’s me though. I want a million cool points for these guys. Is that harsh to say? Come on people, this is a war. What do people think this is?”

      Apparently, the folk who attended the latest Republican candidate debate in South Carolina booed Ron Paul as he suggested our foreign policy should be based upon the "Golden Rule".

      Now that's obscene coming from the Faith & Values crowd.


  7. al,
    nato has a rule for burying the enemy dead.
    i know ww2 combat soldiers who buried and marked German graves.
    we had a german and italian cemetery at ft. mc clellan with german crosses and all.from ww2.
    we need to talk today rather than historical incidents.
    the germans you mentioned were not KIA nor were they combatants. maybe some were military, but they didn't count imo as killed in action.

  8. Yes, in the US we set up cemeteries for POWs who died in captivity, but not on the battlefield, is what I meant. Battlefield enemy dead were handled strictly from a general hygiene standpoint.

    I am not justifying nor minimizing the inexcusable actions of these Marines. However, the mass graves in RVN were nothing new.

  9. Where the hell were these numbnuts' squad leader, gunny, first shirt, and smage is what I want to know?

    I mean, damn, guys, Counterinsurgency 101 - Don't Fuck With The Local's Religion, right?

    Piss on our dead and see how WE like it. You don't think that by doing this utterly brain-dead bit of dumbfuckery you haven't just helped these Talibs do more for their cause after getting slotted than they could have done if they'd lived to be 103 and been better at kicking Western ass than Suleiman the Magnificent?


    I really wonder sometimes if Dick Cheney and Dubya weren't Iranian spies, getting us up to our asshole in these central Asian alligator farms...

  10. FDChief- Piss on our dead and see how WE like it.

    That doesn't process in the minds of people like Rick Perry. It is indeed another "Crusade". Now we just need another Constantinople to sack, and the "Mission Accomplished" can be hoisted. Oh, wait, Constantinople wasn't Muslim!

  11. Al,
    i need help here.
    why do we dig up mass graves in Bosnia,Iraq ,and wherever to indicate how bad a regime was ,AND THEN WE BULL DOZE DEAD into mass graves.??!

  12. Al: I suspect that may be true, but you'd think that even those numbnuts would figure out that if you WANT your enemies to fight fanatically to the death you can just ensure that they know that not only will you hunt them down and kill them but even AFTER they're dead you'll continue to fuck with them.

    Effed up as it was, I can almost sorta kinda understand the guys in the PTO in WW2; the Japanese had already proved that they would not surrender. When people force you to exterminate them like lice pretty soon you start thinking of them like lice (especially if you grow up in a racist society that has already conditioned you to think of them as monkeys, etc.). I can imagine how I'd feel after surviving these bastards - knowing they were doomed, without hope of success - forcing me to risk my life, not for any real reason other than just to slot them. I'd hate 'em like the clap.

    OTOH these Talibs - from what I can tell - are like most tribal-type warriors. If they think they can win, they'll fight. If they get slapped around, or are outnumbered, or don't see the profit in it, they'll slink away, or chieu hoi. So it takes some fairly high-order dumbfuckery to turn them into fanatical martyrs (I remember reading that the suicide bombers were a shock to most of the old "Afghan hands" just because the muj had never done that against the Sovs - it wasn't thought to be an Afghan-sort of thing...)

    So Crusade or no, you'd think that the simple self-interest of NOT giving your enemy more propaganda points would have sunk into these folks' heads...but apparently not...

  13. Jim - Not sure where you are going with this. Are you equating the mass graves of murdered concentration camp victims with burials of battlefield dead?

  14. mike,
    no the mass graves of US wars are different b/c we can give the dead a proper resting place EVEN IF IT'S A MASS GRAVE.all we have to do is mark it, report it to the chain and list the number and names of those interred. that's really quite simple and we fail to do it.the names are predicated on id disks. we marked german graves in ww2, as i've talked to infy soldiers who buried germans. we know the rules.
    this is worse than pissing on bodies. imo.

  15. Jim,

    I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. My understanding is that Taliban KIA are turned over to the Afghan government or to whatever local authority exists for burial. This usually happens pretty quickly because of Islamic traditions. I don't know of any case where the US has put Taliban bodies into unmarked mass graves, much less "bull-dozed" them in.

    Secondly, I don't see how a burial at sea can be a violation of the GC. We've been doing burial's at sea since we had a Navy and I don't see anything inappropriate about that.

    As for the Marines in this case, I agree. I'm sure they will be busted and everyone I know in the military that I've spoken to about this incident is angry at them and what they did, as am I.

  16. Chief-

    In the Pacific, US troops mutilated enough Japanese war dead to merit command attention.

    How's this one:

    May 22, 1944 Life Magazine Picture of the Week, "Arizona war worker writes her Navy boyfriend a thank-you-note for the Jap skull he sent her"

    We ain't perfect either.

  17. Al - yeah, I saw that same picture. The PTO was a nightmare, and there's no way to refine that. We did some pretty awful things there, as did the Japanese.

    I think the difference in the cases, tho, is that the guys in the Pacific saw firsthand - and the U.S. public believed because they were told - that the Japanese weren't going to go quietly; they would have to be butchered like animals, and the sense that they WERE animals got going pretty strongly. There was a huge dollop of racism there, too - you'll note that that sort of brutality never really got any traction in the ETO.

    AND it was a straightforward total war - kill or be killed.

    This would have been more as if we were intervening in a Japanese civil war - a Satsuma Rebellion, let's say - and a bunch of Federal troops made a daguerrotype of themselves pissing on some samurai bodies.

    Leaving aside the questionable combat ethics of it, imagine the reaction among our Japanese "allies"; enemies or not, traitors or not, these were fellow sons of Nippon being pissed on by a bunch of hairy white-eyes.

    You can imagine the reaction...

    So, no, I'm not saying we are or were perfect. But we're supposed to be at least smart, and this was about as bone-stupid a way to fight a foreign counterinsurgency as I can think of...

  18. In their Dec 22, 1941 issue, Life Magazine illumined the American public with this feature article, "How to tell Japs from the Chinese".

    I ran across that issue in 1972 or 3 at the A.M. Pate Automotive Museum in TX. He had every issue of Life ever printed in the Library there. A friend had said to go through the ones immediately following Pearl Harbor to see some "serious" propaganda.

    However, the wrongs of the past to not justify the wrongs of today.

  19. Not to be left behind, Time Magazine had a brief item:

    Virtually all Japanese are short. Japanese are likely to be stockier and broader-hipped than short Chinese. Japanese are seldom fat; they often dry up and grow lean as they age. Although both have the typical epicanthic fold of the upper eyelid, Japanese eyes are usually set closer together. The Chinese expression is likely to be more placid, kindly, open; the Japanese more positive, dogmatic, arrogant. Japanese are hesitant, nervous in conversation, laugh loudly at the wrong time. Japanese walk stiffly erect, hard heeled. Chinese, more relaxed, have an easy gait, sometimes shuffle.

    Source Time Magazine, December 22, 1941, 33.

  20. andy,
    what about the massacre at MASRI early in the war and documented by british news crews.?

  21. Jim,

    That massacre was not committed by US forces, but by one of the Northern Alliance factions. President Obama ordered an investigation to see if any US forces were there or knew what happened, but I don't know what became of that. I'll see if I can find something out later today.

  22. andy,
    handing the problem off to the host nation DOES NOT relieve US from ultimate responsiblity.
    the nature of this pwot will not produce mass graves.
    anyway i went down a side street here- the point is that most thinking men realize the stupidity of this incident.those that oppose and condemn it use logic and common sense, and those who defend it use emotion and feelings to justify their stance.
    i'm writing an art. on RAW about SOG and i can't for the love of life conceptualize any of those hardened SF soldiers doing such a thing, and they were premier soldiers.
    if you have the luxury and security to pull your dick out for entertainment then you are not in a very high threat area.what's this say about the mess?
    btw- what would the Host nation have to say about getting corpses turned over for burial that smell of piss?
    i'm not atk you, i'm just sayin'
    hope your transfer went smoothly.

  23. chief,
    as always you hit the nail.
    we both oppose the stupidty as much or more than the illegality etc. of the pwot.
    i'd appreciate your input on -FEEL THE LOVE part2.

  24. Andy,
    the cia financed, and lead the NA in that fight. we provided the air support.
    THEREFORE WE ARE RESPONSIBLE for their actions.
    this was a cia game from the gitgo. imo if you can lead an invasion then you should have a plan beyond what's for breakfast.
    there are reports that the taliban bodies were simply dumped in the fact there were photos to prove this point.
    there were sf shooters shown on german tv firing into the bulk of prisoners in the compound. this was the incident in which the cia operative was killed.
    i find it strange that the talibs surrendered and then later were so stupid as to fight an armed conqueror. maybe they were treated so inhumanly that they felt they had no choice.
    we talk outta both sides of our mouth , as my Daddy used to say.
    you just can't start a war and then say somebody else did it. that's only cool in kinder garten.

  25. jim -

    I am confused (a normal state for my advanced age). I cannot find any references to your massacre. Are you conflating the putdown of the prison mutiny by armed talibs who had murdered their guards with the later murder of some of those captured by the Afghan authorities they were turned over to? Americans participated in the former, none that I have heard of participated in the latter.

  26. Mike,
    i'm talking both.
    we do not get a free pass b/c we "handed them over" to the afghan authorities.
    btw- wtf is an afghan authority in that point in time??