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Friday, January 13, 2012

There but for the grace of God...

I'm sure by now you've heard the news. U.S. Marines made an inexplicably bad judgment call and chose to express their anger and frustration by urinating on the corpses of dead Taliban fighters. They made an even poorer judgment call to capture the entire escapade on video. 


Since then there has been a virtual firestorm of hatred flying at the Marines - from Leon Panetta and Hillary Clinton publicly condemning their actions to long Twitter streams filled with gems such as "Marines are barbaric, evil and violent. They should burn in hell." 


I'm sure that you have also heard that Dana Loesch, for having the audacity to stand up for the Marines, is the devil. I personally agree with the great Patch Adams (no, not that Patch Adams) whose response to the whole mess could be summed up in one sentence: "You weren't there, you don't know what you would have done, shut up."


I don't like what those Marines did. I think the action was deplorable. What's worse, it cuts the legs out from under us when we voice our own outrage when Taliban soldiers or terrorists mistreat the bodies of our dead. If we sink to their level, then we can no longer claim to be better than that which we fight against. (I am not equating urinating on a corpse with dragging dismembered bodies through the streets or decapitating prisoners on live video feeds, only saying that it damages our position if we claim to be better than that.) 


As Americans we do not treat others the way that we do because it is what they deserve. We do it because we hold ourselves to a higher standard even when we’ve been struck down, hurt or crippled. After all, if we sink to their level and treat their bodies the way they would treat ours - or even the way we would like to sometimes - then we are no better than those we guard ourselves against.


That being said, as much as the behavior of those Marines bothers me, the hypocrisy of those who are currently attacking them bothers me more. Dana does an excellent job of pointing out that hypocrisy, drawing attention to the fact that these same people who are furious with the Marines for letting off steam (admittedly in a fashion that is at best ill-advised) were silent when the bodies of 200 Air Force members were unceremoniously dumped in a landfill.


Even worse than that, in my mind, is the fact that these same people, who believe in their hearts that it's wrong and reprehensible to take a leak on the body of someone who until ten minutes ago was actively trying to kill you, also believe in their hearts that vacuuming an unborn child from a mother's womb is a perfectly reasonable action. 


Let me be clear: They would rather see a woman punish a helpless and innocent child for simply existing than see a few Marines take revenge on someone whose goal is to take the United States down a peg.


I guess what I'm really saying is this: While I am mad at the Marines for choosing to do something so stupid, I am madder at the culture that allows the mainstream media to get away with pointing a finger at the Marines who are guilty of bad judgment while giving a pass to people who are committing much more egregious acts on a daily basis.


And for those who insist that, if they had been there, they would not have behaved in such a manner, I have one thing to say: There but for the grace of God go we all.

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