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Another gory photo showing US marines and dead people

As if the military needed it, another gory photo showing US Marines posing proudly beside dead Afghans has surfaced. This one is even nastier than most:

(NYTimes) — Photographs apparently showing United States soldiers posing with body parts of a dead insurgent drew strong condemnation on Wednesday from American officials including Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and the commander of international forces in Afghanistan.The Los Angeles Times published on the front page of its early editions a photograph of what it described as a soldier from the Army’s 82nd Airborne with a dead insurgent’s hand on his shoulder. It said it was one of 18 photographs of soldiers posing with the corpses of insurgent fighters …

I know this will draw criticism here, but I understand. These guys are trying to kill Marines, and Marines are trained to be bloodthirsty killers in return. Not saying it’s justified, or that action shouldn’t be taken. At this point any units dumb enough to get caught doing this shit deserves the book thrown at them if, for no other reason, it endangers their fellow soldiers.

But the mission in Afghanistan is long over, it’s time to leave, perhaps even speed up our handover. The only reason we’re still there is because of mission creep in theatre and political maneuvering here at home. It really is time to end this, if the Afghanis want freedom or theocracy or whatever, that’s something they’re going to have to decide amongst themselves.

Comments

  1. alexmartin says

    Imagine if…
    You are a bad cop in the very worst part of Detroit (my home town). You and your really bad, really corrupt Gang Squad unit are tasked with keeping the multitudinous roving gangs of murderous criminals off the backs of the people. Your patrol area is sparsely populated, ravaged, burned out, decrepit; the people who reside there are the desperately poor with scarce ability to vacate the area. They are sitting ducks.

    Day and night there are murders, shootings, rapes, assaults, the like. You barely hold your own and barely stem the tide. You know that without your unit and without occasional backup, the gangs will take over and all hell breaks loose. The people suffer, the people are ravaged. The people die, in your absence. It’s that bad.

    The city has dire financial troubles, is bankrupt, in fact. No money even to pay the police. Emergency management. Inevitably, you get the call: Pull out, the department is consolidating its meager forces in more populous areas.

    As bad,as criminal as you are, you’re not wholly devoid of compassion: there are women and children there, helpless to the mob and to anarchy. Prey, for the horde.

    The patrols are stopped.

    What do you imagine would happen next in that section of Lower Hell Town?

    Perhaps we could just negotiate with the gangs after the virtual handover of power?

  2. tynk says

    Part of what we were all taught in the military includes conducting oneself with honor. These actions are not honorable and there are no justifications for them.

    You are sent to do a job, a job that is oft thankless and always dangerous, it wears on a person in ways few other professions can. It is the duty of the commanding officers, of all ranks, to watch their soldiers and take action when any of them are reaching the breaking point. All involved fail when these actions take place, but no more then those who allow these wars to continue.

  3. StevoR says

    if the Afghanis want freedom or theocracy or whatever, that’s something they’re going to have to decide amongst themselves.

    Except the women and children and non-believers won’t be given the choice.

    The West pulls out, the Taliban takes over and we’ve been there before and know how horrible and sick that society is. Don’t we?

  4. left0ver1under says

    Remember folks: these and similar incidents are just the ones we know about. For every one that comes to light, there are probably many more that we never hear about because of the “fog of war” (distance, silence and coverup).

    Soldiers are no different than mobs at sporting events. Being in a crowd gives them a feeling of anonymity. It takes away inhibitions, leading to criminal behaviour.

  5. StevoR says

    Maybe its time the media was told (or something?) to excercise a luttle restraint and NOT publicise or even admit the existence these images?

    To take some serious responsibility and keep these sort of photos out of sight and mind and not scream them across the airwaves (& web) to the point where they’ve made sure the terrorists know every last pixel’s worth of info on them?

    Embargo them for ten or twenty years or even as long a sit takes for Afghanistan to at least remotely resemble a semi-civilised, reasonable secular nation.

    Because isn’t giving this publicity just a little like shouting “fire!” in a crowded theatre after you’ve blocked the fire exits?

    I’m NOT usually a fan of censorship at all but there are just a few basic exceptions and providing information and emotive fuel to the enemy in a war situation surely has to be one of those, right?

    Although I suppose its hard to see how the Islamists can hate us Westerners any more than they already seem to do.

  6. tynk says

    Soldiers are no different than mobs at sporting events. Being in a crowd gives them a feeling of anonymity.

    Soldiers are trained professionals who deal with situations on a daily basis that most would not be able to handle. There is a very significant difference between people out seeking an afternoon of entertainment and people who went through very tough training, sent half way around the world and told to kill.

    I will not justify the dishonorable actions of these soldiers, the war, and especially not the way it was fought. But to equate soldiers facing their own mortality on a daily basis, for years at a time, with fans at a football game is simply moronic.

  7. Pierce R. Butler says

    As if the military needed it…

    Why shouldn’t the military need reminders that they’re perpetrating savagery and turning their own personnel into psychopaths?

    Perhaps they could rename official doctrine to “Winning Body Parts and Minds”.

    Remember, folks – lots of these guys will come back to the US and sign up for your local police force.

  8. StevoR says

    @ ^ Pierce R. Butler : Others won’t come hoem at all or willcome home maimed.

    For the sake of your freedom and that of the Afghani women and kids having a chance of a better life, heck, a life at all.

    The troops that have posed for these pcitures , well, shouldn;t have and should be told so and disciplined. Quietly.

    But the Taliban do and think far worse. Remember why this war started.

  9. sailor1031 says

    The actions of those at the bottom of an organization are generally reflective of the attitudes, expressed or implied, of the leaders of that organization. So what responsibility do senior marine commanders take? None. An investigation is launched, a few low-level “misfits” are punished and everything swept under the rug until the next incident. Remember Abu Graib? The prime punishee was a private, court-martialled and imprisoned. The colonel in charge received a reprimand. Big deal.
    I’ll believe the military care about this when some senior heads roll – and not just reprimands either.

  10. says

    Marines are trained to be bloodthirsty killers in return

    Which is a stupid way to train your soldiers, because it makes them entirely unsuitable for peacekeeping missions, or even occupations. In addition, it doesn’t exactly make them to keep around between wars either. Training them to be cold-blooded killers would be a step up.

  11. StevoR says

    Please read :

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/taslima/2012/04/18/religion-is-like-a-rapists-penis-it-attacks-women/

    By Talsima Nasrin.

    Excerpt :

    Taliban poisoned drinking water in girl’s school. 150 schoolgirls were hospitalized in Afghanistan yesterday. Girls education was banned during Taliban rule from 1996 –2001. After girls schools are reopened, periodic attacks occur against girls, teachers and school buildings. It is not the first time Taliban poisoned girl’s school’s water, they did it before. In 2010, more than 100 schoolgirls and teachers were sickened in similar poisonings

    Taliban’s poison gas attack was well known. In August 2010 it was revealed through blood tests that a mysterious series of cases of mass sickness at girls’ schools across the country were caused by a powerful poison gas.

    Taliban throw acid on girls faces while they walk to schools. They have been blowing up girls school in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They threaten to blow up girl’s schools if they refuse to close. Taliban wages war against girls education. They destroy girls education. They burnt down over 125 girls schools calling women’s education un-Islamic.

    Can we give the women and girls of Afghanistan back into those hands?

    Can anyone who belives in feminism, in treating women and secular folk fairly and decently seriously be fine with letting the Taliban win?

    Or are they an evil that cannot be permitted to take over again whatever we have to do to stop them?

  12. tynk says

    Marines are NOT trained to be bloodthirsty killers, they are trained to survive and follow lawful orders. Just as all military branches are.

    We are trained to do a job, and we are trained to do what is necessary. As I have said, actions like this are not acceptable and all those responsible, to the top of the chain of command, need to be held responsible for these infractions to ensure they do not get repeated.

    No matter what you think of the justifications for these, or any wars, dehumanizing soldiers by calling them bloodthirsty killers is wrong. They are trained professionals, and just as with any group of humans, there are those who will do insanely stupid things, and those who will not stand up against those actions.

    Do not use a broad stroke to paint all soldiers negatively just as you would not for any other group of people.

  13. says

    @StevoR:

    Maybe its time the media was told (or something?) to excercise a luttle restraint and NOT publicise or even admit the existence these images?

    I so hate that attitude. It’s not the messenger that endangers the reputation of the US – or even the lives of its soldiers – it’s the original actions of these soldiers.

    Besides, keeping secrets is a very poor substitute for not being evil in the first place. Also, keeping secrets is much harder.

    I’m NOT usually a fan of censorship at all…

    Could’ve fooled me.

    … but there are just a few basic exceptions and providing information and emotive fuel to the enemy in a war situation surely has to be one of those, right?

    Wrong. First, they don’t need these photos to begin with, they have first-hand experience with what the US is doing there. Second, what if such photos get leaked to someone who is not under government control anyway (as will invariably happen), and on top of people finding out that the US is committing atrocities, they find out that the US has actively tried to suppress the information?

    The troops that have posed for these pcitures , well, shouldn;t have and should be told so and disciplined. Quietly.

    No, they should have been disciplined very publicly. Not necessarily by throwing the individual soldiers under a bus, mind you, but they should definitely make a good spectacle of being outraged by it. Otherwise, one might get the impression that the US doesn’t think this is worth an outrage.

    Now, maybe the Taliban will think the US doesn’t give a damn no matter what you do. But then again, don’t forget your allies are also watching.

  14. Brownian says

    As if the military needed it, another gory photo showing US Marines posing proudly beside dead Afghans has surfaced.

    Well, just like kiddie fuckers who don’t like being painted as kiddie fuckers, there’s always the other option: don’t fucking do this kind of shit.

    I’m NOT usually a fan of censorship at all but there are just a few basic exceptions and providing information and emotive fuel to the enemy in a war situation surely has to be one of those, right?

    Why don’t we just rename all our regiments and corps and squadrons after Care Bears, so both the Middle East and Middle America won’t have any idea of what’s being perpetrated in our names? (Well, except for those, on either side, who have their loved ones murdered.)

    Or, y’know, the military could stop training psycho trophy-collecting cowboys. That’s another option.

  15. Brownian says

    But the Taliban do and think far worse. Remember why this war started.

    Oh, that’s right. Nevermind then. Pull out all the stops. Censor all the criticism. After all, we’re fighting Bad Guys™ here.

  16. Brownian says

    Remember, folks – lots of these guys will come back to the US and sign up for your local police force.

    Or get sick or injured and become homeless.

  17. Brownian says

    I so hate that attitude. It’s not the messenger that endangers the reputation of the US – or even the lives of its soldiers – it’s the original actions of these soldiers.

    And then, when the whole thing remains a clusterfuck, what do we do?

    “Afghanistan. That place is just ungovernable, the savages.”

    I know right? We’ve shot at innocents, journalists, we’ve sent mercenary forces like Blackwater, we’ve sent out death squads looking for thrill kills, and we’ve posed with and pissed on their corpses. Ungrateful fuckers.

  18. says

    In this case it’s US Army personnel at fault, not Marines. The article states the photos are allegedly of members of the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.

  19. says

    Yeah, I’m a bit insulted about being conflated with Marines. Marines are freakin’ nuts. No offense, brothers and sisters in arms. But, yeah, while most of us, after being shot at by faceless civilians in a crowd, blown up by IEDs, and having rockets rained down on our FOBs every day, and seeing these people shooting defenseless children in the back, do get a little morbidly cavalier about the idea of killing as many of these guys in the least respectful way possible, most of us do understand that doing so is wrong, and we are briefed on the ROEs to this effect thoroughly and regularly. In fact, I’ve had to sit back and watch guys for an hour set up a mortar round, aim it carefully at our FOB, and we couldn’t get approval to shoot them until they actually shot at us first. Seriously, we’re actually incredibly paranoid about violating our very restrictive ROEs. And these guys just make it even harder for us to do the job we’re supposed to do and, y’know, protect people.

  20. F says

    Remember why this war started.

    That would be due to a jackass president with an agenda refusing to provide any sort of evidence to Afghanistan against the people the US wanted them to turn over (whom Afghanis had already gone to the trouble of capturing). That’s why. There is no other reason except that a warmonger wanted war.

  21. sc_72744af7efe9efc694b5140d373d872e says

    Obviously what these soldiers are doing in the pictures is sick and immoral, but from my point of view it seems somewhat understandable given the things they have to deal with over there. It also seems like these kinds of things happen in at least many of the wars we’ve fought throughout history, its just that now its easier for the pictures to go viral. It seems the best way we have to prevent this is to not dehumanize the people we fight, but that also raises the problem of how are our troops affected when they have to continuously kill people they are constantly reminded are people just like them?

    http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/4092567?uid=3739688&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=47698898948817

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Gun_Ri_Massacre

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trophy_collecting

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