Saturday, January 14, 2012


The latest video to emerge from Afghanistan purporting to show US Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters is, if true, a sad indictment on the professionalism of the US Marine Corps. I have no doubt that senior US military commanders will be tearing their hair out.

War is a shitty business and Afghanistan particularly so and yes, the Taliban are not signatories to or bound by the Geneva Convention. They too desecrate bodies Nevertheless, to act in such a way is to lose any moral authority you might have that you are fighting for a greater good. In the wars I fought in the enemy dead were always accorded due respect. In recent times my son commanded a major unit in Afghanistan serving in the British Army and their strict protocol had it that the enemy dead were to be treated respectfully and buried facing Mecca within the 24 hour period required by the Muslim faith.

But all that aside there are practical reasons for not stooping to this sort of obscene behaviour. That video will now be played over and over again in Afghani villages by the Taliban used as a powerful recruiting tool.
In one stroke these 'soldiers' have undone much of the good work of their colleagues. Their actions are to be deplored and I for one look forward to their Courts Martial.

I wait for some rambo wannabee to rubbish this post. I doubt whether they will have ever fired a shot in anger and even more that they have experienced incoming enemy fire. Real soldiers accept and abide by the rules of war ... however crazy that may sound.


ZenTiger said...

OK, I'll stick my head up over the trench.

It's an unfortunate incident, but let's just put it down to early post-combat stress disorder. War is indeed a shitty business, and it affects people in different ways.

They will of course be court martialled and used to make a point.

I wonder if Bradley Manning will also be court martialled, or let of because he was gay and under pressure (as his defence seem to be arguing?)

Anonymous said...

Maybe somebody should ask Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl about it.

Oh, wait.. The Islamists beheaded him — on videotape.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for speaking out about this T-Vet.

The Veteran said...

Anon 1.06 ... and that makes it ok?

KG said...

"..I have sat back and assessed the incident with the video of our Marines urinating on Taliban corpses. I do not recall any self-righteous indignation when our Delta snipers Shugart and Gordon had their bodies dragged through Mogadishu. Neither do I recall media outrage and condemnation of our Blackwater security contractors being killed, their bodies burned, and hung from a bridge in Fallujah.
“All these over-emotional pundits and armchair quarterbacks need to chill. Does anyone remember the two Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division who were beheaded and gutted in Iraq?…’
Lt Col.(Ret) Allen West
While you're dribbling on about "moral authority" the Taliban are using the confected outrage over a trivial incident to screw more concessions during the upcoming surrender talks--sorry, "peace negotiations".
Moral authority hasn't worked too well so far. Perhaps hardening the fuck up, stop playing bureaucrats in uniform (the brass), stop allowing lawyers to dictate ROE's and most of all, stop the "nation building" bullshit and simply get on with destroying the enemy might, though.

Anonymous said...

No...It makes it understandable.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine it would make any difference Veteran whether they pissed on these corpses or not.

Nutty muslims will still teach their kids to grow up to hate the great satan no matter what they do (Ask the Israelis)

It won't change until the Islamsists realise that their medieval jihad teachings is nothing short of subhuman.

Until that happens things won't change - I don't really care about the pissing - not even worth getting worked up over.


Psycho Milt said...

It won't change until the Islamsists realise that their medieval jihad teachings is nothing short of subhuman.

I guess there's nothing like video of their compatriot's corpses being pissed on by Americans to help get the message of our cultural and moral superiority across...

The Veteran said...

KG (and others) .... I didn't expect you to understand so I'm not disappointed.

But perhaps a small history lesson might be in order. OTY whether you think it important in the great scheme of things.

One of the most successful 'wars' of the 20th century was that fought by Commonwealth troops in Malaya from 1948 through until 1960 ... the misnamed Malayan Emergency (the word 'war' wasn't allowed to be used as it would have impacted on insurance rates).

That campaign was won be a combination of brute military force coupled by a very successful 'hearts and minds' joint civilian/military operation backed by an iron fist (including forced resettlement and collective punishment).

The result was that the CTs (Communist Terrorists) were separated from their support base and increasingly unable to progress their campaign which was based on the Mao-Tse-Tung dictum that a guerrilla fighter should be able to move 'like a fish in water' among the population which could be terrorised into giving them active or passive support.

We (and the Malayan people) won.

They achieved Merdeka (independence) in 1957 and Chen Peng and his mob were banished to a lonely life in the deep jungle on the Malaya/Thai border until they finally threw in the towel in the 1980s.

We wouldn't have won employing the tactics you suggest as ok. The population would have seen us as no better than them and Colonialists to boot - not a winning combination.

But then, as I said, I don't expect you to understand under the general heading of Rambos of the World Unite.

Andrei said...

It wasn't all white knights in armour during the Malayan Emergency, Veteran.

Personally degradation of the dead sickens me.

Anybody who thinks that such things don't happen in war zones or even where there are "peacekeepers" "keeping the peace" is does not get human nature.

Good leadership is what keeps this stuff to a minimum.

The people who highlight it and focus on it do so to lower the moral of both military and civilians so as to make them loose their stomach for the cause.

It should be deal with it appropriately and move on.

Blair said...

We are not fighting an honourable enemy who is suddenly going to take the gloves off on account of this incident. The gloves are already off. Your objection is not based on what you think but what other people might think. I don't care what those people think, because they are scumbags. What I think is that if I found a dead Taliban soldier I would piss on his corpse too. Would I like it to happen to me? Well I wouldn't care, because I'd be dead.

Now stop whining and HTFU. These soldiers deserve a beer for killing these scumbags and getting the job done, not a court martial.

Mike Carter said...

Veteran is 100% correct.

If the West places itself as objectively morally superior then they should act in such a manner.

Otherwise they are no better than the enemy.

It's as simple as that.

Judge Holden said...

ROFL, KG quotes a war criminal as if that helps his argument that it's fine to urinate on dead people and then roars about destroying people from the safety of his basement. Gormless blank-shooting twat.

And as if you'd be anywhere near the Taliban, Blair you hero.

Johnboy said...

a five megaton airburst over Kabul would all of this a moot point.

Psycho Milt said...

Johnboy, it's the level of thoughtfulness, perception and insight displayed here that make your comments what they are.

Psycho Milt said...

We are not fighting an honourable enemy...

Neither are they, apparently.

Andrei said...

Don't be ridiculous Milt - the hand wringing over the actions of these four numbskulls goes to prove that we are better than the Taliban - who for example force fourteen year old girls into marriage against their will and if they run away flog them in public or cut their noses off.

Which is of course a whole new level of barbarity when compared to peeing on a corpse which though crass and distasteful is not in the same league.

You think there is much angst in Taliban circles about the horrors they perpetrate?

Anonymous said...

Milt is of course always going to be anti the western side, so his comments have to be taken with that in mind.

That said, what I don't understand is why they videotape it!

Judge Holden said...

"the hand wringing over the actions of these four numbskulls goes to prove that we are better than the Taliban..."

That's correct Andrei. Except for those, such as you, KG and Blair, who approve of and/or celebrate and defend the act of urinating on dead people of course.

Anonymous said...

The USMC are quite capable and more than willing to discipline their own. No comments here, for or against, will have any bearing on the matter.


dad4justice said...

Don't be silly judge war is war you siily sad arse anal cadet.

ZenTiger said...

Andrei said: Personally degradation of the dead sickens me.

And yet Judge pisses all over Andrei (figuratively). Charming.

Judge thinks that explaining the cause or reality of something is the same as supporting that action.

Judge tends to shoot the messenger first and then ask the messenger what the message was.

Judge Holden said...

Urinating on dead people is wrong, and almost certainly not in the rules of engagement. Andrei's been defending it as just some sort of stuff that always happens in war zones (regardless of how sickened he claims to be). You're pretty relaxed about the whole thing too Zen. However, your wee bum chum KG loves it. Gives the guy a thrill. And Blair wants to get in on it. All class.

Blair said...

I pay tax so that these brave men can go and do what they do. I pay the tax to pay their wage, they volunteer, everybody is happy. I couldn't care less how they get the job done and what they do with the corpses afterwards. Quite how that translates to me being a chickenhawk is beyond me. If anything, it is those who take the opposing view that are the chickenhawks. To paraphrase Jack Nicholson, they stand behind the protection these soldiers afford them, yet criticise the means by which they do so. Like Jack, I would rather you simply said "thank you" and went on your merry way.

The Veteran said...

Thank you Blair for your comment.

Pray tell, just when you ever pulled on a uniform and faced the enemy in action?

Because in my experience military Rambos nearly always turned out to be 'Chicken Little' when the chips were down.

Broaden your mind a bit ... suggest you have a look at the website to see what I mean.

Judge Holden said...

"I couldn't care less how they get the job done and what they do with the corpses afterwards."

You're happy to pay people to urinate on dead people then. Or worse in fact. This helps win your little war how exactly?

Man you're all class, in addition to being really fucking dim.

Psycho Milt said...

Milt is of course always going to be anti the western side...

Milt is of course always going to be anti the kind of sick fucks who desecrate corpses. If you're a fan of such things, it's your business.

Anonymous said...

Sludge and psycho, I'd be happy to piss on the pair of you but then I think, why waste good urine on sad pieces of leftie shit like you two?

Anonymous said...

How come Winston Churchill pissed in the Rhine as did Paton? and Arapeta Awatere – the great Colonel of the Maori Battalion pissed on Hitlers rug?? Hmmmmm? you are a stupid old shit who has forgotten..... I know what happened in WW2, my dad ( RAF seargent major told me plenty) so bugger off with your self righteous crap..... The military have been pissing on the enemy right through the ages.

Anonymous said...

Pissing on a dead enemy is a combat soldier's right - and this has been so for 10,000 years.

By contrast, dribbledick revisionist "western moral values" have only been in play since circa 2005 when Youtube and camera phones came along.

Fancy that.

By hey, look on bright side. There's hope. These lads didn't take the ears, pull any gold teeth and prop the stiffs up somewhere public with genitals cut off and stuffed in their respective gobs.

Judge Holden said...

I see the anonymous sociopaths eventually had enough to drink to summon up the courage to attempt a contribution.

"How come Winston Churchill pissed in the Rhine as did Paton? "

Yeah, there's a difference between a river and a recently deceased corpse. Look that one up maybe.

"Pissing on a dead enemy is a combat soldier's right - and this has been so for 10,000 years."

Where's that set out in the combat soldier's code of rights? It's amazing what standards of behaviour were fine 10,000 years ago and are now no longer acceptable (except to slimy neanderthal right wing armchair warriors of course).

Simon said...

“One of the most successful 'wars' of the 20th century was that fought by Commonwealth troops in Malaya from 1948 through until 1960”

The most successful war of the 20th century was the war that the Commie Vietnamese fought against the Frogs, Yanks, fellow Vietnamese & sundry others. 1945 to 1975.

What can we learn from how the commie Vietnamese fought?

Anyways with Israeli government murdering Iranian civilians and the American govt pushing Iran towards war someone who released the video is really taking the piss.

Oswald Bastable said...

Among medical and emergency workers, it is well-known that there are more than a few that have a very dark 'gallows humour' and often say things that would be taken by many to be very callous, even cruel.
This was brought up during my ambulance training, so that we could recognize it for what is is- a coping mechanism- and to understand where these folks where coming from. This is how they dealt with seeing what would give some of the sensitive little petals out there the screaming vapours!

You don't have to have been in combat to 'see the elephant'...

The Veteran said...

This is the last word on this thread. I am closing it off.

Fascinating comments which I think reflect the best and worst of us.

There is nothing to be admired about people who desecrate the dead be it Taliban or American.

There is certainly no 'soldiers code' that has that you piss on the dead. Our Anon 'hero' who made that quite stupid statement has clearly never experienced combat.

The dead are dead and sometimes quite horribly so. Their guts may be hanging out and certainly someone shredded by a claymore mine is not a pretty sight. They also smell.

My experience is that the soldiers I was privileged to command would tend to go quite quiet faced with someone they had just killed ... perhaps the 'there but for the grace of God goes I' kicked in.

Be very clear. This incident has played into the Taliban hands. That war has just got harder to win however you want to define winning.

As I said. Fascinating response.

Paul G. Buchanan said...

The difference between a professional military and armed thugs is discipline before, during and after combat. This incident demonstrates a breakdown in unit discipline and is especially worrisome if, as reports have it, the unit is a sniper team and there are two sergeants among those doing the urination. The camera operator is also at fault. This will reverberate harshly within the entire command structure and the USMC will deal to these soldiers severely.

Although as desecrations go it is a small matter, the point is that command discipline has broken down. Moreover, given the prohibitions on taking war booty, the new substitute is to video oneself in the field if not in action. This led to Abu Ghraib and British soldiers videoing themselves beating prisoners in Basra, all of which resulted in US and UK command orders prohibiting the use of videos and cameras by soldiers in the field. This incident is a violation of that standing order.

Regardless of the bad PR the video gives to the USMC, it speaks to potentially more serious issues with the Corps itself. That has to be addressed ASAP, so perhaps this incident has a silver lining in that it has broken the silence over what clearly is a significant, albeit hopefully localized problem within the ranks.

The Veteran said...

Thank you Paul. It is appropriate that you should have the last word.

WAKE UP said...

"Real soldiers accept and abide by the rules of war ... however crazy that may sound."

Actually, Veteran, real soldiers piss on things all the time, and I bet deep down you know that.

I think you are being disingenuous.

WAKE UP said...

And in any case, if it did happen (unlike the slavering lamestream media, who are so desperate for it to be true, I have my doubts) a tiny handful of abberant soldiers* do NOT represent, embody or symbolise the great nation of America. All they are is human.

* ditto Abu Ghraib

Anonymous said...

Good old Paul B - ever ready to supply a suitably ivory tower academic perspective on soldiers and combat stress.

Let me tell you that before Youtube and cellphone cams, frontline soldiers routinely:
1. Refused to take prisoners.
2. Helped themselves to body parts [ears were especially popular].
3. Took gold teeth out of stiffs.
4. Pissed on corpses.
5. Retrieved skulls and used them for vehicle and hootch decor.

Then we get into the really fun bit - terrorist warfare and their happy Geneva Convention captives:
1. Nailing [as in crucifying] a captive to a barn door and hammering a cartridge case into the forehead [think Mr Lecter's dinner party].
2. Tying a captive up with barbed wire and using him for bayonet practice.
3. Flaying a captive alive.
4. Cutting off a captive's lips with a bayonet.
5. Fire is always useful - e.g. a couple of tyres and some petrol.

And finally we get to the Afghans. Here's what you can realistically expect if captured by the Terry the Jolly Tally:
1. One eye gouged out. [This is important - see 4. below.]
2. Tied over a rock.
3. Get creative with a knife.
4. Slit the stomach, remove the intestines and pile onto the chest. [Remember the one eye gratutity?]
5. Throw a bit petrol over and set alight.

But hey, this type of footage probably violates Youtube's conditions of service.

Paul G. Buchanan said...

Anon @3:15PM:

You appear to have missed my point about discipline and prohibitions on collecting trophies. As I said and which the Vet and others have also maintained, just because the other side fights dirty does not mean that a professional military from a liberal democracy has to. It may restrict soldier's ability to commit mayhem, revenge and the assorted other nasty things that you mention, but that is, again, what marks the difference between a professional military and other armed crowds.

I am acutely aware that these type of things do happen, not because I sit in some ivory tower (those days ended a while ago) but because I have spent enough time with conventional and unconventional forces to understand how and why discipline is a fundamental necessity of modern fighting armies. That is why these soldiers as well as their immediate commanders will see their military careers ended on dishonorable terms.