Guns and Gear

Time to move past the urination incident

Mike Piccione Editor, Guns & Gear
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Making the rounds is a short video showing four Marines urinating on Afghan terrorist corpses in northern Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Evidently the Marines were letting off steam after a firefight and washing the bodies with urine instead of following the Muslim tradition of washing the bodies with water and burying them within 24 hours. Without doubt this was an aberration and such conduct should not and cannot be tolerated by our armed forces under any circumstances. It would be interesting to know the combat circumstances that led up to this incident.

At the same time, U.S. Army Spec. Ronald Wildrick Jr., was killed Dec. 11, 2011 by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan’s Kundar province, one of many Americans who have given their lives trying to bring liberty and freedom to this Muslim country. I don’t know how much the sacrifices of our young men and women’s lives are appreciated by the Afghans, but I don’t read much of Muslim extremists being criticized by them or American heroes being thanked or praised.

Secretary of State Clinton said that anyone engaging in this act of urination should be held accountable, and I wholeheartedly agree. But what does that mean: life in prison, castration, beheading, a slap on the wrist, administrative punishment or a dishonorable discharge? The knee-jerk outcry from Secretaries Panetta and Clinton does not bode well for our four Marines or their officers. A Marine Corps spokesman says, “The actions portrayed are not consistent with our core values and are not indicative of the character of the Marines in our Corps.”

On the other hand, although Afghan Prime Minister Karzai and Taliban officials strongly condemned the Marines’ actions and called for a quick and thorough investigation followed by swift punishment, they did not hesitate to put the Marines’ actions in their proper context. Karzai refused to allow the incident to be used to inflame anti-American feelings as he has been overly quick to do in the past. Surprisingly the Taliban leaders, perhaps following Karzai’s lead, have said that the incident should not be allowed to derail the peace negotiations that are just getting underway.

We are told that showing disrespect for the dead violates Islam. What this means is that if you’re an American you shouldn’t desecrate the bodies of dead Muslims. But if you’re a Muslim, desecrating the bodies of dead Americans after IED attacks and then doing an Islamic dirty-double-standard dance is just fine, and merits no apologies from Karzai, Clinton or Panetta.

Evidently desecration only applies to Muslim corpses. It doesn’t apply to the non-Muslim dead like journalist Daniel Pearl. Muslims see nothing wrong with beheading non-Muslim bodies, cutting them up into pieces and dragging the pieces through the streets. In the case of Saddam Hussein, they saw nothing wrong with desecrating a Muslim corpse.

A terrorist’s body getting urinated on rates a phone call from the Secretary of Defense and an apology from the Secretary of State. An American killed by an IED rates a grave at Arlington National Cemetery. What does this tell us about America’s current leadership?

Supposedly the recent incident involving the four Marines in Afghanistan and other similar incidents have turned Arab public opinion in the Middle East against the United States. That’s absolute nonsense. Muslim public opinion is turned against America in the Middle East because we are not Muslims.

We can do all the nation-building our money and lost American lives can afford and it still will not be enough to make up for the void of freedom and liberty in Muslim societies. You can militarily win their freedom for them and give it to them on a silver platter, but you can’t plant the Tree of Liberty in their hearts, minds and souls. No matter how much you nourish and care for the tree, it will neither grow nor flourish.

Urinating on dead bodies may be reprehensible, but it is not a war crime, nor should it be portrayed or pursued as such. Karzai and the Taliban got it right. The corpse desecration issue is an aberration that needs to be put behind us as quickly as possible so we can focus our energies and efforts on the more important work at hand, the drafting of a workable peace treaty which Karzi, the Taliban and U.S. forces can honor.

The more we examine this issue, the more clear it becomes that it should be filed away under the category of a misdemeanor — not a felony.