This post was originally published January 22, 2012, on ConfessionsofaThinkaholic.com
The following is a post I read on Facebook not long ago. The original post or comment made by Rep. Allen West is the original post of an old acquaintance of mine. What follows are comments from several different people, including that same acquaintance. It is copy and pasted, word for word. I did not change or omit anything that was said. I changed the names because I would not betray anyone’s trust or want to embarrass anyone. That is not what I intend to do with this. I just had such a strong reaction to the ‘human-ness’ of this conversation, I needed to write about it. My intentions are not to judge these people. My opinion is not about these individuals as people, but of my heartache over how people feel about acts such as these, and the fact that it quite possibly represents a lot more of America, of our World, than we realize. I will quote the copied text and follow up with my own words at the end. I had to think about what I wanted to do with this for several days. I just knew I wanted to do something.
“Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), a former Army lieutenant colonel, commenting on the Marines’ video:
“I have sat back and assessed the incident with the video of our Marines urinating on Taliban corpses. I do not recall any self-righteous indignation when our Delta snipers Shugart and Gordon had their bodies dragged through …Mogadishu. Neither do I recall media outrage and condemnation of our Blackwater security contractors being killed, their bodies burned, and hung from a bridge in Fallujah.
“All these over-emotional pundits and armchair quarterbacks need to chill. Does anyone remember the two Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division who were beheaded and gutted in Iraq?
“The Marines were wrong. Give them a maximum punishment under field grade level Article 15 (non-judicial punishment), place a General Officer level letter of reprimand in their personnel file, and have them in full dress uniform stand before their Battalion, each personally apologize to God, Country, and Corps videotaped and conclude by singing the full US Marine Corps Hymn without a teleprompter.”
“As for everyone else, unless you have been shot at by the Taliban, shut your mouth, war is hell.”
(end of Rep. Allen West’s comment)
(start comment feed)
“(Jake*)He’s right… War is hell. However, since when does two wrongs make a right? All of these “right-wing, war mongers” claim to be Christians, well maybe it’s time they start acting like it!!!
The U.S.A. is better than this! Just because they do despicable things to us doesn’t mean we have to do them back. We should be the “bigger person”.
“(Ted*-original poster/acquaintance)Jake this is why we live in AMERICA bro. You have the right to have your own opinion even though I disagree and would piss on their bodies as well. I also served in Kuwait and was a living target. I can forgive BUT I will NEVER forget!!!!!!!!!”
“(Susan*this is who sent Ted this article about Rep. West)My husband has been in the military for 18 years and has been deployed 5 times to both Afghanistan and Iraq..and he has not killed anyone..but trust me, he has ducked and weaved and bobed when those rockets come into their camps, he has also been shot at..AND he has seen the dead bodies of our soldiers as they come through to be shipped back to the US. I would hi five my man if he did it! Just saying!!”
“(Jake*)And I trully do appreciate your service. Trust me, I know it’s no fun getting shot at, it’s even worse getting hit, but where does it end? If taking a human life isn’t enough for you that you have to desecrate the corpse as well then that’s just sad.”
“(Ted*)Well call me SAD but those men were dead when they were pissed on and many others gut us as well as behead us WHILE WE ARE ALIVE…………………
“(Susan*)I don’t believe he is saying that..the taliban are in talks with the us right now and they are trying to use this as leverage..REALLY? U need leverage? After everything you have done to US troops, oh wait..ur own damn people..and other troops as well? What he is trying to say..and what I have interpret it to be saying..is Nothing was said by the Taliban condeming what they have done..Nothing was done to their soldiers when they decided cruel and unusual punishment was ok for our fellow Americans..than you know what..WHY? why should we be worried about what they think? They pee’d on their dead bodies..How many people did they kill before they were killed themselves? These people are NOT for freedom..they are for instilling fear among their people..So Unless you have been there..Shut the hell up!!(not you jake*..ppl in general) We are better than them..there is NO comparison!!”
“(Jake*)I respect your feeling, but still think it makes us (the U.S.) look bad. Since we claim to be superior to everybody else we should set the example. As I said, ” be the bigger person.”
“(Susan*)It only makes us look bad because of guys were dumb enough to video tape it. I am sure there have been much worse things done in the heat of a battle..by both sides. I think though that there are no consequences when they tape our soldiers being dragged or beheaded. I mean we did not even show the body of Bin Laden..out of “respect” to the muslim world. I personally wanted to see him and see what he has suffered..if that makes me a bad person than so be it. I had family and friends in the WTC..and it was about time!”
“(Ted*)Jake* I respect your point of view and I even respect your right to want to be or appear to be the bigger person. I am QUITE sure you have NEVER been in combat and never had to experience the SEA of emotions that one has when their next breath could be their LAST…….EVERY night you wonder WHO is NOT coming back to camp(because they are dead), WHO is suffering RIGHT NOW because they LIVE to torture us, WHEN you see the bodies of our YOUNG and OLD military getting ready to be shipped home because they died in action and many were desecrated…………..TH
“(Jake*)You’re right, I never have, and I never will see “combat”. In fact I never had the chance to serve as you did, not that I didn’t try mind you. I wont bore you with the details as to why I didn’t get to fulfill my dream of a military carreer, I’ll just agree that I don’t know what it’s like, and again thank you for your service.”
“(Ted*)Jake* thanks for trying 2 understand. Thats more then a lot of people who wont even try 2 understand”
“(Dana*a new commenter)Ted*, with my marine son currently deployed to Afghanistan for his 3rd tour in 3 1/2 years. I do not agree with what the marines did however war is hell and unless you have lived day in day out in a war zone and have been wounded (my son 2x in a month) and watched your fellow marines die. You cannot judge others actions. My heart is in Afghanistan….my tears are here in (her home state*)!”
“(Ted*)I hear you Dana* and my thoughts and prayers are with you. I applaud your son and give him my full support. I know it is hard for most Americans to be okay with it. I am sure a lot of military are NOT ok with those actions. I am.”
My first reaction to reading this feed was outrage. But this is not about me judging these people, just the situation. And this is how I feel about the situation of the soldiers urinating on dead bodies and the human reaction it received, at least from this circle of ‘friends’. I happen to agree with Jake*. I share his views about two wrongs not making a right. About being the bigger person. I was appalled that this act even happened. I was more appalled that there are people who actually think that heinous acts like this are ok. And that they feel so ok about it that they get defensive, angry and confrontational while justifying something so mind-crushingly horrible! What has ever happened to all or any of our soldiers in the throes of battle since the beginning of war, is ugly, unfair and unjustifiable. No matter what those acts upon them were or are. Violence is cruel. It is terrible. It will affect not just the person to whom it is displayed, but many who are connected to the victim. And as we are ALL connected, it is inexcusable. Ugly monstrous acts are damaging to the mind and Spirit of the person who is acting them, and not just to the one being acted upon, and not just to the witnesses.
Then I felt sadness. Seeing people speaking like this makes me sad. Sad for our World, sad for our Country, sad for our Minds. I try to be hopeful that we as a Nation, a global community, a species would be slowly but surely taking steps forward into the brightness of a New World. A New Mindset. Seeing the unconsciousness of some of the people making these comments made me feel a little deflated. Sad. I was shouting inside my head while reading this feed “No! I implore you! Please don’t tell me there are people who believe it is justifiable to desecrate a corpse, no matter who it is!”
My next reaction to these comments was fear. I fear for the minds of our children that this type of grotesque situation is becoming so commonplace, or has already become this commonplace, that it is discussed as if it were an everyday heated conversation. That our children, and ourselves, are living in a desensitized world where discussions like this are even necessary. Now, I’m not stupid. I realize that time’s, they are a-changin’…we don’t live in a perfect world, we haven’t in a really long time. And discussions like this about this war have been commonplace for well over 10 years. That’s the sign of the times, though I wish it were not. I hope that our world changes, so that the times will change as well. We need that change.
Then, after I thought about all of this for several days (I did not want to react too hastily) I realized that I understood. I still do not endorse hateful, vengeful acts. But I can appreciate how these people feel. I realize all of the awful and hateful things that were done to soldiers stir rageful emotions out of us. I felt them, too. No one wants to see or hear of a soldier (or hopefully, any fellow human being) being tortured, drug through the streets and beheaded. That is some one’s husband, father, brother, wife, mother, sister…we can all relate to that. Sadness will overtake us when these things happen. Overwhelming feelings of anger and discontent will swell up and envelope us. Our minds get flooded with these feelings, clouding our judgment. Dragging us into unconsciousness. We are not perfect. We are human. We feel. All of us do, even those we do not understand. But the goal that I hope for is that we start trying a little harder. We find and connect with that inner sanctum that God (whoever that is to you) gave us and use it to be better people. We use it to think before we act/react. That we realize the damage we are doing to ourselves is sometimes far greater than anything anyone else can do to us. You don’t have to be any certain way for anyone else. But know that your actions cause reactions. While we are responsible for ourselves, we are also responsible for how we affect others. The changes can be small. I actually saw these “quietings” toward the end of the above comment feed. I could see the calming, the caring, happen. And I realized that this was not something to have outrage over. There was understanding happening there. There is no doubt that we need to change this World. But we must begin the change in each one of ourselves. If you work on yourself, you lead by example. You will shine a ray of hope onto others, you will begin the chain reaction of well-“being.”
I wish you all peace and love, my friends. Treat each other, and yourselves, with grace and understanding…