This video appears to show four Marines laughing while they urinate on Afghan corpses. One of them jokingly says “Have a great day, buddy.”
The individual who uploaded the YouTube video, which is becoming viral, is not known and the details in the caption that individual provided cannot be independently confirmed. The caption reads: “scout sniper team 4 with 3rd battalion 2nd marines out of camp lejeune peeing on dead talibans.” Whether or not the corpses are Afghan civilians or actual insurgents cannot be verified either.
Capt. Kendra N. Hardesty, a Marine Corps spokesman, said officials would “fully investigate” the incident. “The actions portrayed are not consistent with our core values,” she said in a statement, “and are not indicative of the character of the Marines in our Corps.” My question is, when is the promise to fully investigate such wretchedness finally not going to be enough for the American people?
When disgusting photographs of smiling U.S. soldiers proudly standing next to dead Abu Ghraib detainees were released, Americans were basically told to hide their eyes, buy their yellow ribbon bumper stickers and rest assured the incident would be investigated. When news broke of Manadel al-Jamadi, the Abu Ghraib prisoner who in 2003 was hung from his arms twisted behind his back, beaten, and tortured to death at the hands of U.S. interrogators, Americans were told this was the exception and that the war is still just. When the 5th Stryker Brigade in Kandahar – aka “Kill Team” – slaughtered Afghan children for the fun of it, took celebratory pictures next to their corpses, and mutilated their bodies for evidence of their trophy kill, again Americans were expected to buy into the “bad apple” excuse and forge ahead with the support our troops mantra. When American troops forced Afghan civilians to march ahead of them on roads believed to have been filled with bombs and landmines planted by insurgents, Americans were told it would be investigated and promptly looked away.
The point is not that every single U.S. soldier is the type to urinate on the faces of the dead or hunt Afghan children for sport. Rather, the point is that war invades and contaminates the humanity of individuals. And the context of war abroad while Americans sit safely at home pressures people to ignore its brutality in favor of “patriotism.”
The abuses borne on a daily basis by Afghans, and the embarrassment of being militarily dominated as they’ve been, exceed the imaginations of ordinary Americans. There are a million reasons the war in Afghanistan should end tomorrow. But, generally speaking, when people are at the point that they can make fun out of urinating on mangled bloody corpses, it’s about time for some reconsideration.