US Marines in Corpse Desecration Video Accused of Atheism

By now most of the world is probably aware of the accusation that four US Marines urinated on corpses in what is apparently Afghanistan.  One of the group videotaped the event for posterity.

The event brought out a slew of condemnations from all sides:

  • Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta: “This conduct is entirely inappropriate for members of the United States military and does not reflect the standards of values our armed forces are sworn to uphold.”
  • Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos: “wholly inconsistent with the high standards of conduct and warrior ethos.”
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “It is absolutely inconsistent with American values, with the standards of behavior that we expect from our military personnel.”
  • ISAF Spokesman BrigGen Carsten Jacobson: “activity of this kind that is grossly against all the moral values that the coalition forces are standing for are very much working against our cause and against everything that we are standing for and that we are here for.”

The reference to moral values is interesting; wasn’t the US military recently accused of inappropriately dictating morality?  If you’ll recall, the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was routinely said to wrongly impose “private religious and moral” standards on members of the military.

It would seem most people agree — and rightly so — there is a moral standard, though many would likely disagree upon the location from which it comes.

The strength of the immediate and near visceral response has demonstrated one thing, however:  the assumed upright morality of the United States in general.  Everyone assumes America holds itself to an elevated moral standard; otherwise, such acts would not have been considered so “inconsistent” with American values.  Everyone believes that.  Even the Taliban:

A Taliban spokesman called the video “barbaric.”

Remember, that’s a representative of group that previously stoned Afghan citizens to death, cut off their limbs and heads, and staged public executions with AK-47s.  The point of the Taliban statement, of course, is to maximize the public relations hit the US will take in its supposed moral superiority.  That the Taliban are guilty of far worse is irrelevant.

The Taliban even claimed its adversaries must be atheists to do something like this:

“And no religion that follows a holy text would accept such conduct. This inhuman act reveals their real face to the world,” Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said via text message Thursday.

It seems those accusations of Christian crusading Michael Weinstein has routinely made were overcome by a belief in the ‘heathen hordes’ instead.

The US is reportedly now negotiating among the Taliban and the Afghan government to bring an end to the war in Afghanistan.


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  • Really…blaming urination on a Atheism? Sure we should have “respect” for the dead, but come on…these ignorant Jar-Heads just need a good dressing down. War is hell.

    Moral standards are learned through education, not magically bestowed on people. I’ll bet pickles to navy beans these Marines are educated enough to know what they did was wrong. But if they believed they were/are morally superior…now here’s your sign.

    It’s no wonder Mikey is fighting an up-hill battle…moral superiority and religion will be our doom!

  • The Taliban say that it takes an irreligious person to do what these marines have done. Yet the Taliban has committed atrocities on hundreds, if not thousands of people, many for just being a different religious sect.

    What these marines did was certainly a sign of feelings of superiority and probably had elements of racism as well as religion. I don’t see atheism as causal.

    We must all learn that our individual belief systems are just one of many and that just because we believe in them does not guarantee they are genuine.

    The problem is that those who believe they worship the one true God and follow the one true religion just don’t leave it there. They must try to proselytize others to their faith, often killing or injuring them in the process.

    This kind of militant evangelism, I’m afraid, will be the curse of Representative Democracy for this type of psychotic religious practice has doomed other civilizations and societies.

    There is a pathology created by extreme religious practice that infects many thousands, perhaps millions, of religious adherents. Public executions, amputations, decapitations, branding, lashings, and other heinous forms of punishment are commonplace in religious republics.

    Unless moderate believers can gain a majority and control those wigged out Christians and Islamists, America could very well go the way of those nations toppled by religious strife.

  • Gee … it’s really effective to use an “Accused of Atheism” inflammatory headline without offering any evidence other than an unnamed Taliban spokesman.

    I’m not saying that the Taliban claim you’re repeating isn’t true. But you’re not offering any evidence — just assertions. I expect better critical thinking skills in a military officer.

    If one wanted to look for a likely cause for US military forces desecrating a corpse, one might want to examine how our nation has ignored case law for previous war crime trials. A national climate where the rules don’t apply to the US and our torture isn’t called torture have more to do with this than the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and Michael Weinstein’s legal efforts to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans serving in uniform.

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