Marines Urinating on Dead Taliban Show a Disturbing Lack of Shame

MarinesLess than a day after appearing on YouTube, a video of US Marines urinating on Taliban corpses is already being called an embarrassment for our country. Every single person voicing disgust over the four men in their American military uniforms desecrating the dead is right. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like the Marines in question understand the meaning of "embarrassment."

To be embarrassed, one has to have to feel shame. But willingly allowing someone to videotape you as you commit a heinous act against humanity shows a distinct lack of shame. It means you know someone could watch this again, that you don't mind it being remembered.


Generally, when you're making a mistake, the last thing you want is a camera recording the dirty details. Most of us are inclined to throw a hand up over our faces just to hide a particularly bad blemish on the face or a piece of spinach in the teeth. We don't want it captured and recorded for others to see or even for us to have to revisit. And abuse of the dead by men representing the United States military during a time of war is immeasurably worse than a cosmetic blunder. As U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, the actions on the video are "utterly deplorable."

And yet, we can watch the video (if you really must). They let it be made. It's pretty clear the Marines are fine with the videographer recording as they relieve themselves on the bodies thought to be Taliban insurgents. The men make jokes and interact with the cameraman (who is never seen but is himself thought to be breaking codes of war simply by photographing bodies). 

They're unafraid that someone will see what they're doing. You could even go so far as accusing the Marines in question of a sense of pride in what they're doing. Why else would they want it recorded? 

Their lack of secrecy is discomfiting. And sadly, it has led to a video now posted on the Internet that has put a black eye on peace efforts being made in Afghanistan by people who do know that these men's actions are despicable, people who are completely embarrassed to be associated with these few bad Marines.


Image via *Gunslinger*/Flickr

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