I joined the United States Marine Corps in 1988. That one sentence always makes me smile, because if you knew me, you’d be surprised I was a Marine. I’m not real military material – and Marines are the cream of the crop. But I made it through boot camp and spent 3 years in North Carolina and finally a year in Okinawa. I got out with an honorable discharge in 1992.
I did not serve in a typical Marine type of job. I worked in an office for the most part. I spent a year working as a Chaplain’s assistant, then working for a Logistics office and finally for an Intelligence office while in Okinawa. I basically did…paperwork. But a Marine is a Marine is a Marine.
For someone whose job was to do paperwork, I was always surprised by the amount of time I spent out in the field on exercises and forced marches and other such non-administrative tasks. The reason for this is primarily tied to what I said already. A Marine is a Marine is a Marine. A Marine is to always be prepared to fight – no matter what their actual day-to-day job is.
I will be the first to admit to you that being a career Marine was not for me. That’s why I got out. I had other ambitions and the lifestyle was a little more than what I wanted. But I always understood one thing about being a Marine. It was something to be looked at as a great honor. Not everyone wears that title and it’s a title filled with a lot of history and should always be treated with great respect.
The Marine Corps motto is “Semper Fidelis” or “Semper Fi” which translates to “Always Faithful”. In essence, the way I always understood this is that you are faithful to your God, your country, your family and the Corps. This is why even 20 years after getting out of the Corps, I still think of myself as a Marine. There is no such thing as an ex-Marine. We are a band of men and women who form a group that not many understand. It’s an honorable group filled with dignity and blood and tears of many wars over the course of our history. Even if you never fought in a war, you are a part of that group because you are a Marine.
This is why I find myself in a very unenviable position today. This week a video came out of some Marine soldiers urinating on dead Taliban soldiers. As of this writing, it appears the video is legitimate. And as one may expect, this video has been met with outrage across the world.
However, I have seen a very confusing reaction amongst people in our own country. I – as a conservative Republican – tend to lean towards the attitudes that most conservatives share. So imagine my surprise when the general reaction of most conservatives I read about was basically, “eh…no big deal.” No big deal? These Marines urinated on dead people! How is that not a HUGE deal? Being a Marine is supposed to stand for something! I don’t care what the person who is dead did, we don’t desecrate their bodies. Ever. Period.
I know and understand that these Taliban soldiers have done horrible things. I know that given half a chance, they’d have taken those Marines and done unspeakable things to them that makes urinating on them look like a day in the park. Does. Not. Matter. We, first as Marines, and second as AMERICANS, should always be better than this. We do not stoop to the same low levels of behavior that others do. That’s grade-school mentality…”well they did it first!” It’s ridiculous.
Let’s look at another way. Consider the roles reversed – because they easily could be. Picture your brother, uncle, husband, father off fighting a war against some country. And the soldiers of that country killed your loved one and then stood over them and urinated on them. Then they videotaped it and put it out on the Internet for the world to see. At that point do you still think its ok? If your answer to that question is: “Well the Taliban does/did horrible things to us so they deserved it!” then you are still leading with a grade-school mentality.
And how about this? If urinating on them is ok – after all their dead and they deserve it…how is that any different from chopping off an ear for a souvenir? Cutting their head off and using it for a soccer ball? Or as gross as this sounds – eating a part of them? Why is one thing ok but the others cross a line?
Now before anyone thinks I’m taking to task only the conservative side of our country – let me be clear on one thing – I don’t support the liberal side’s position either. While there tends to be the moral outrage amongst them on this issue that I do agree with – it seems that their moral outrage is not put in the same place as it usually is when there is a Republican president in office.
A few years ago – some soldiers did some despicable things to prisoners in Abu Ghraib and the first thing many liberals did – was blame George W. Bush. Where is the outrage against Barack Obama in this case of the Marines?
The left tend to take great excitement when a Marine defends the ludicrousness known as Occupy Wall Street but then turn on them in any case involving the military and their actions against other countries. Their moral outrage is in no way consistent and in many cases hypocritical.
Ultimately, regardless of political belief, it is my belief that what these Marines did is not only wrong, it’s criminal and it goes against anything honorable about a Marine. They should go to jail for these actions. As Marines, we need to remember who we are, what our history is, what we stand for and always act accordingly. These men did not and as such have lost my respect. While I will be “always faithful” to the Corps, I will not extend that to those four soldiers. They no longer deserve it.