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U.S. Marine “pee party” is hardly surprising

It spread across the news outlets like free beers at a “kegger.” Four American Marines had done the unthinkable to the corpses of Taliban fighters who had once opposed them. If you missed it, suffice to say that, in a final show of supremacy, our boys indignantly trained their “weapons” on the combatants’ dead carcasses, effectively treating them as urinal pucks.

“Oh, the humanity!” the talking heads screamed.

“What were these vile young men thinking when they peed on the enemy?” asked a gaggle of high-placed politicians and press members whose feigned shock was worthy of an Academy Award.

To answer that, a football metaphor might prove helpful. The gridiron gang is trained with one goal in mind: to destroy the opposition at almost any cost. As long as a fairly liberal set of prescribed rules are followed, all is hunky-dory. Everybody loves a winner, especially team owners, so the men are drilled and then drilled some more until the squad becomes a crushing force to be reckoned with. When a player ultimately scores a touchdown, he has done all that he was trained to do. Hooray!

But at that instant, woeful is the player who dares to celebrate too exuberantly. We’ve now been told that this sort of thing is akin to “bad sportsmanship,” that “rubbing it in” isn’t the “American way.” Put another way, it’s perfectly alright for players to kick the living hell out of those standing in their way – in fact the most violent players are cheered on for their boneshattering “hits” while enroute to a goal – but it’s somehow bad form to execute a celebratory dance once that goal is achieved. Is it just me, or is there something ridiculously screwy with this rationale?

Human beings never cease to amaze me. Some of the very same people currently taking these soldiers to task for their “yellow” celebration have no problem at all with the idea of killing in the first place. It’s the “chest puffing” that occasionally comes afterwards that seems to annoy them. Here’s a question for these “concerned” Americans.

After you train a soldier to kill, after you systematically destroy and/or remove every instinct that a soldier once held regarding the sanctity of life, how can you then act surprised when that soldier turns tribal and decides to “take a whiz” on the bad guys? In the pre-politically-correct football era, this would be considered nothing more than a spiked ball; in tennis, it would be a ball hit into the crowd. You simply can’t have it both ways. When you encourage the taking of lives in the national interest you shouldn’t be too surprised when the participants sometimes forget their post-kill manners.

Some argue that this “outrageous” act will serve to incite the Taliban and its sympathizers and will be used as a propaganda tool to further their cause. That may be true, but I have a newsflash for those who labor under such a mindset: These extremists and extremist factions are going to hate us anyway. Period.

At this point, I’d be far more concerned with sending mixed messages to our soldiers – a seriously exploited group who receive precious little in return for saving our asses. In an allvolunteer military, where the perception that a soldier will receive a fair shake is basically everything, it’s mighty bad form to pick our heroes apart for their “bad manners” after the fact—after they’ve done the job that we asked them to do.

For those who don’t approve of such celebrations, I suggest you visit the local recruiting office. Then you can head off to boot camp and show us all how it should be done. Until that time comes, let’s cool it with the political correctness. “War is hell,” said Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman – a ruthless but effective warrior who knew a little something about the carnage of this ultimate human failing. If the taking of lives is considered necessary in order to preserve the American way of life, then an impromptu “Pee party” should be no big deal. Just ask some real soldiers – they’ll tell you. After they zip-up, of course.

—Jeff Bahr

jeffbahr@theobserver.com

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