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January 13, 2012

Marines May Face Prosecution For Peeing On Corpses

The real crime was the felony stupid of videotaping it.

A lot of people seem upset by this. I think it's upsetting that now these guys are probably going to get cashiered over a stupid act. But the act itself doesn't really upset me.

The whole point of a rule against corpse desecration is that you show respect and honor to the fallen one. But what if that fallen one had been trying to kill you not ten minutes before, and in fact you had killed him before he killed you?

It's not that suddenly you're permitted to pee on the corpse. The point is that they natural sympathy for a dead person that most people would feel is entirely absent in this case -- in fact, you feel something pretty close to hate; I'm not sure there's any other way you can feel about a terrorist dirtbag who was just trying to kill you and your friends -- so you're not naturally going to feel that you should treat the corpse with respect.

Your training and discipline should kick in to supplement that and keep you from doing this, but your natural moral sense isn't there. Because, seriously, the hell with this terrorist.

In addition, people who don't see corpses very often are naturally reverential about them. Awestruck to see what death looks like. Those who see it frequently lose that, almost just as a coping strategy. The first dead body a medical student sees might be cause to contemplate the mortality of man; the tenth dead body and jokes start occurring to him, like spinning around in surprise and accusing the corpse of grabbing his ass.

This happens, and yet those guys aren't monsters. They're just dealing with dead bodies every day.

Likewise these Marines aren't monsters. They don't have the advantage most civilians do, of being unfamiliar with corpses and hence a little awestruck by them. They see this a fair amount.

Nonetheless, this was certainly stupid, and bad for their fellow troops, both in terms of exciting the enemy and disrespecting the uniform of the Corps. They'll probably be ejected from the Corps, which is probably a good thing, since their discipline and judgement seem to be lacking. They also seem to have put their own hijinks above the Corps and their fellow Marines.

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posted by Ace at 11:33 AM

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