There is no excuse for behavior unbefitting a U.S. military soldier or…a human being



Abu Ghraib Prison

 We just learned of an incident from 2010 where soldiers took photos of themselves posing with bodies of suspected Afghan insurgents.  In one they are holding two disembodied legs for the camera.  It’s happened in the past—the most famous was the Abu Ghraib Prison incident in Iraq where prisoners were physically and psychologically abused, and there was also sexual abuse including torture.  That was 2004.  But we didn’t learn our lesson.

Even when 11 soldiers were convicted in courts martial, sentenced to military prison with dishonorable discharges.  Two others were sentenced later, and Brigadier General Janis Karpinski was reprimanded for dereliction of duty and then demoted to the rank of Colonel.  It’s hard to understand how the Abu Ghraib thing went on for so long but it did and with the media notoriety you would think that an even half intelligent person would understand the dangers involved.
Troops urinating on dead Taliban bodies

Fast-forward to January of 2012 where the gung-ho U.S. Marines are caught in a video showing them urinating on the dead bodies of Taliban members.  The video shows the marines laughing, with one commenting, “Have a nice day buddy,” another saying “Golden, like a shower.”  These guys are supposed to be a part of Scout Sniper Team 4 with the 3rd battalion 2nd marines from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where you would expect more discipline.

With the learning curve still at zero, a group of guys at a Bagram U.S. Air Force base in Afghanistan apparently didn’t understand the importance of, or just didn’t care, about the Muslim bible and burned several copies of the Quran.  Peter Lavoy, acting assistant secretary of defense, said it was done “unknowingly and improperly.”  He stated further, “…all 140,000 coalition troops in Afghanistan are being retrained in the handling of religious materials.  There’s more.

U.S. Soldiers urinating on dead Taliban:

Army Staff SGT. Robert Bales left his outpost in Kandahar province’s Panjwai district in March going house to house allegedly killing 17 villagers.  He’s described as a “gregarious” family man with five boys from Norwood, OH, close to Cincinnati.  In the Kandahar massacre, the 17 villagers were shot and killed, some burned, with five others injured.  Although it is not known for sure, it is believed that Bales did not know any of his victims.  
Now we know this select few are not indicative of the U.S. military as a whole.  The balance are courageous beyond the call duty and have served with honor in both Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.  And I am sure they have plenty of judgment since it takes a lot of that to just stay alive.  But bad acuity doesn’t just occur in the armed forces.  Look at President Obama’s Secret Service team’s fiasco in Cartagena on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.
Secret Service agents placed on
administrative leave

Eleven agents “were implicated in a prostitution scandal in Colombia that also involved about 10 military service members and as many as 20 women. All the Secret Service employees who were involved had their security clearances revoked.”  A supervisor will be allowed to retire, another fired, and a third non-supervisor resigned.  The Service has said that the President was never in danger but, still, is this a good example of judgment?

On the one side you have the Geneva conventions that dictate that the dead in war “shall be respected.”  On the other side are troops that have watched buddies murdered by snipers and roadside bombs and who might see revenge in these kinds of episodic events.  But this is still absolutely no excuse for behavior unbefitting a U.S. military soldier, or…a human being. 

If, however, there is a breaking point in these kinds of occurrences that are happening to American servicemen and women, and this could be defined with more research, then the military should study this immediately.

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