Monday, January 16, 2012

Winning Hearts & Minds with Empty Bladders

In the deluge of hyperbole surrounding the recent primaries we recieve a brief respite. Apparently there are U.S. marines who have been brazen enough to actually defile a corpse. I'll let the shock of all that sink in with you right now...

Alright, now that you're more suitably adjusted for conversation, can I be the hundred-millionth person to take a brave stance in declaring such an act to be morally questionable if not wrong. May I also be the hundred-millionth person to point out that if you don't understand why things like this don't help "our boys" on net in this type of war, then you probably shouldn't be close to affecting anything that would resemble a policy decision.

Let's face it. This makes us look bad. It looks bad to those of us back home. It makes us look bad to the world at large. And, more importantly, it achieves almost nothing outside of giving a half-dozen men a quick laugh and inciting maybe thousands of more men from distant countries and cultures to take up arms against those troops we claim to support. The bottom line is, even if you dismiss it ethically, it's obviously not something we want to be making a habit out of. And it's certainly not something we'd want on public display.

However I would like to make one somewhat contrarian point that stands in at least mild contrast to the outrage of many who think along the same lines as me on the war issue; why is it exactly that this is particularly more outrageous than the actual slaying of the person to begin with?

Let's not even muddy the waters with questions of guilt. Let's just assume, hypothetically, that this enemy soldier had brutalized and murdered hundreds of innocent people. Alright, we've at least largely deemed that this man should be killed - and not in any particularly humane way. So why would it be particularly more outrageous to do something to him that seems far less of an imposition than actually killing him...particularly when the "him" in question isn't even there anymore in any existential sense? He's dead. Now, it's possible, of course, that a large handful of Americans are really haranguing over the disparities of retributive justice - but I said "large handful of Americans" not "the three Anarcho-Capitalists who might actually read this."

Now let's run for a moment with the other assumption. Let's say that you're against our current occupation. We'll even say that you see some resisters as simply defending themselves in some sense or another. In your opinion, the dead "soldier" in question may have been innocent on such an account of the events. But even then, why is there a heightened since of outrage directed at what's done to the body in light of the morally heinous act(s) you believe rendered him dead in the first place? If someone murders an innocent individual and urinates on their body, we might find it peculiar, but I'd like to think the general outrage would still be directed at the primary offense which is the killing itself.

Again, all this isn't to say the actions therein, in this particular instance, were not in poor taste, or that they are something to be dismissed, or, more importantly, that such events won't have serious repurcussions for us down the road in one respect or another. But it is very curious to me - the things we seem to accept so easily and the things that rile us, culturally, in contrast. Gasping over marines urinating on dead corpses seems akin to being outraged that a 9-11 hijacker might have lied about something on his passport. I think you might be missing the larger picture.

1 comment:

  1. Strictly from the teleological side ;-), there are some things it don't pay to advertise.