Just a few thoughts on the recent video footage of Marines in Afghanistan urinating on the dead bodies of some Taliban fighters. If you haven’t seen it you can click on the link above.
I can honestly say that I am not surprised by this news and I am wondering why anyone else is. While seeing this footage saddens me, I find it curious that people are even outraged by this event or even surprised by the behavior.
I ask the question, what is more barbaric, urinating on the corpses of these departed souls, or the methods by which they met their demise in the first place?
On the one hand we have a culture that defends the soldiers who killed these men fighting for the Taliban with statements like “Our soldiers are fighting for our freedom” but then on the other we have the same culture that condemns them for their equally barbaric actions after the initial murders took place.
As a former soldier myself, I can tell you that you are indoctrinated to see that whoever the government dictates as the “enemy” as just that. The enemy. The alien other who has no family, no feelings, no emotions. Your job is to kill the enemy. Aim center mass. You are not taught to kill as a last resort. The weapons that are created by the military industrial complex are made to kill and bring the maximum destruction possible to the enemy- all paid for by OUR tax dollars.
We “ohhh and ahhhh” when the lastest and greatest weapons of warfare are up for display showcasing the awesome and fearsome might of the empire’s ability to bring ultimate destruction and devastation to the enemy and yet .. we are surprised and outraged by some urination?
After this type of cultural indoctrination and 10 years of fighting and violence what does one think begins to happen to the human heart, to the participants involved in the midst of all this chaos?
This video is a depiction of the loss of humanity in the midst of war.The loss of the humanity of the Taliban, and of the Marines who are urinating on their dead bodies. Is this barbaric? Yes- but no more so than the events that took place that lead to these men’s deaths. No more so than the rally cry for war, revenge and blood by the American public after the events of 9/11 that was in the same ilk as the blood thirsty crowds of the Roman Empire who cried for the death of gladiator slaves who had to fight for their very lives. We are in that crowd. We are those soldiers in theory and in practice.
This is the cost of war.. this is the ugly price of indoctrination, propaganda, nationalism and acculturation. It is said that the first thing lost in the fog of war is truth. I assert that after that, comes our humanity. As the author Chris Hedges states in his book “War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning” “In the beginning war looks and feels like love. But unlike love it gives nothing in return but an ever-deepening dependence, like all narcotics, on the road to self-destruction. It does not affirm but places upon us greater and greater demands. It destroys the outside world until it is hard to live outside war’s grip. It takes a higher and higher dose to achieve any thrill. Finally, one ingests war only to remain numb.”