There was quite a fuss in the media last week over a video showing American Marines urinating on the corpses of recently killed combatants. A lot of outrage expressed, of course, and even suggestions the young men had committed a war crime.
For many, such behaviour is inexcusable and should be punished harshly. I’m not a member of that group.
This sort of behaviour, while it falls short of what is ideal under the circumstances, is more of a misdemeanour than a high crime and should be dealt with as such. I acknowledge that the Marines’ actions probably violate the Geneva Conventions, and they should be punished for their breach of discipline.
Let’s consider, however, that the enemy has proven to be barbaric in their cruelty—throwing acid in the faces of schoolgirls and hacking the heads of prisoners are examples. In enemy hands, those Marines’ bodies would have been treated to far greater indignities than a shower of urine, and that fact is not lost on the young Americans.
I’d, therefore, recommend leniency when disciplining these Marines.
War is hell, folks. Things happen.