16 January 2012
"Have a great day Buddy."
Not a phrase that is usually seen as being offensive.
However, if you have recently heard it in a video from Afghanistan then I'm sure that, like me, you took offense to it. If you haven't seen it you can do so here.
The video shows four US marines urinating on the bodies of three Taliban fighters.
All four of the men have been identified and interviewed.
The American Government has condemned the actions of the soldiers, and assured that they will apply the most severe punishment to anyone found guilty.
Some officials are considering these actions as war crimes, which could mean jail time for some or all of the marines involved.
Although the Taliban did react angrily to the video, it said it would not derail the efforts to ensure meaningful peace talks.
"This is not the first time we see such brutality," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.
In 2004 we saw similar images emerge from Iraq. They showed US soldiers abusing prisoners form Abu Ghraib jail.
Eleven soldiers were convicted relating these incidents. Most received fairly light sentences, all of which included dereliction of duty.
This isn't enough. No human deserves to be treated in the way that these detainees were. No matter what the circumstance.
I guess the main question I have is why? Why would these soldiers think that the abuse and torture of prisoners is acceptable? Why would urinating on a dead body be okay, or fun for that matter?
And then you think about the mentality of soldiers in combat war. They are trained to hate. How else could they participate in the killing of another human being?
They don't think about the enemy as a person, they are merely a target.
I'm sure the fact that the people they're about to kill are someone's husband, father, son or brother does not cross their minds.
I'm not trying to justify the actions of these men whatsoever. In fact, incase I haven't made it obvious enough already, I completely disagree with it.
But that is the nature of war. They are trained and taught to kill.
The line between what is right and wrong seems to be very blurred in the context of armed combat.
It is ok to shout at, swear at, hunt down and take someone's life away. Yet anything beyond that could ensure you end up in jail.
Yes, I know that this issue is more about morals than anything else. But how can you have morals in a war zone?
Like I said, it's a fine line to tread.
It will be really interesting to follow the way the story unfolds and to see what sentences, if any at all, the marines get.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue so send me a tweet @Staceylee_ or leave a comment below.
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HELEN CHARALAMBOUS, Australia (21 January 2012 7:54AM) wrote:
Great story again Stacey ...really is appalling the disrespect of human life - as you said all of these men are someones sons,brothers, fathers ...soo sad that the world has come to this.