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> A response to the Marines urinating on Taliban members, As written by a former Marine Captain
Guest_tryingtothinkagain_*
post Feb 9 2012, 12:55 AM
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This is something a friend of mine typed up on facebook. He was a Captain serving with the Two-Seven in Helmand province. They were supposed to just be training the Afghanistan police force. That's not what happened.

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But the Marines were repeatedly attacked as they established forward bases in the region and began to make contact with local villagers. Before long, the fighting overshadowed the mentoring. Though they had expected to be tested by the Taliban in an area where much of the poppy crop that funds the insurgents is grown, they had not anticipated the intensity of the conflict.

For six months, the Two-Seven had more members killed and wounded -- about 150 -- than did the 20,000 Marines deployed in Iraq. It also did its share of killing.


After serving through all that violence, having one of his men die in his arms, and many more traumatizing experiences he refuses to share, the following is his response to a few Marines urinating on dead Taliban members:


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As I have received a considerable amount of people asking me my opinion on the Marines urinating on dead Taliban, I'll go ahead and give it. It has been said that "There are only two people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a secondhand opinion." This is true. But it is true in more ways than one. Perspective is, truly, reality. But as we know, everyone lives in their own different reality, it seems.

From the camp which supports such actions, I understand your viewpoint. You have seen young Americans return from war injured mentally and physically. Perhaps you have comforted a family whose loved one drew their last breath in a foreign country far from home, so that we may live free. Some, as I have, stood next to these young men as they took the final step into the glorious presence of Christ. From this, you cannot comprehend why our government would seek judicial action against these young Marines. Your anger and resentment towards our enemy makes you think that urinating on dead Taliban fighters is the least of what you would do yourself, given the chance. And to criminalize these noble Marines is the last possible thing we should even remotely consider. That's war, they say. And as one blogger put it, we should take the gloves off and condone whatever is necessary to win. I understand where they're coming from, and I can sympathize. But, to put it frankly, they're dead wrong.

Let me give you my perspective, my personal feelings, BASED ON EXPERIENCE, as well as what the doctrine of irregular warfare essentially lays out. First off, the Marines pissing on dead Taliban were wrong. On more than one level. First, this isn't WWII. We're not fighting a war where military might wins the day. We're fighting a war where MEDIA might wins the day. As has been proven, you can kill 40 Taliban or Al-Qaeda in a given firefight, and yet if one "well-meaning" media personality on the scene decides that he'll give his own perspective, that perspective wins the day. And that perspective goes viral. This is if everything goes RIGHT. It can still be conveyed with negativity to the American people and the world. Furthermore, even if the American people KNOW that the media coverage is inaccurate, it DOESN'T MATTER. Because foreign media sources will take that footage and "enhance" it to meet their political ends. Have you ever watched a terrorist recruitment video? There is one I was exposed to during training that had a U.S. Marine running, under fire, with a wounded child in his arms, trying to get that child to safety. A valorous action indeed. Unless you're a young, uneducated religious fanatic looking for a cause and willing to believe the terrorist recruiting video you're watching, claiming that shortly thereafter the young girl was raped, tortured, killed, and eaten by U.S. Marines. Seriously? Who would believe that, right? I'll tell you who. An uneducated, sheltered young man who has been taught since childhood that America is evil, and that the U.S. military are torturous savages. And what do you do? You are angry, so you join the cause. So, to sum it up- kill 40 terrorists, and that's 40 steps forward. Have one ridiculously stupid video end up on YouTube because you're dumb enough to not only DO IT, but to VIDEO IT AND POST IT, and you cannot even BEGIN to count the recruitment numbers you just provided to the other side. 40 steps forward, a thousand steps back. Let me ask you. If you saw a video of Taliban pissing on dead U.S. service members, and were in a position to join the military to get some payback, would you do it? I guarantee you would. And you've been blessed by at least a public education. My point? These Marines, and the Marine or whoever that took and posted the video, might as well have been recruiters for the Taliban. Do you really think this SCARES the Taliban? Who do you think these guys are? Which brings me to my next point....

Warriors, true warriors, respect their enemy. And there are two kinds of respect; a respect necessary for their own self-preservation in that it prevents under-estimation, and a respect that can only be felt and described between two people who share the mutually destructive duty of killing one another. Spartans did not believe in even speaking of the dead negatively, because they were not there to defend themselves. It was thought to be cowardly. In war, men kill one another, and through that, gain a relationship and bond that only enemies can have. That's not a bond that we traditionally think of; I mean, we're not sitting down to have coffee and talk through our situation. We will quickly and effectively kill one another when necessary. And that's understood on both sides. It's not meant to be personal. It's meant to be our duty. The Taliban may be uneducated and easily swayed to join the jihad, but they are FAR from stupid. In fact, I have the utmost respect for them. I personally witnessed their ingenuity, their mental and physical toughness, their care for their fellow fighters, and their willingness to die for what they believed in fighting against the most powerful and technologically advanced military in the history of man. Are IED's cowardly? Some say yes. But the British thought we were pretty cowardly too with our hit and run tactics and not standing in line and mowing each other down. IED's aren't cowardly; they're smart. And they have become exceedingly great at building and implementing their use.

My point is this. Taliban or not, when you kill an enemy who had the guts to stand against you, toe to toe, have the common decency to act as if you ARE a trained professional. Kill them quickly and be ruthless beyond measure. Then show them respect and move on. Pissing on someone you killed is cowardly, immature, and grossly unprofessional. However....that brings me to my last point, to address what is to become of these Marines....

What one cannot fathom unless they've been there is the moment in combat where you see a young man you know well die a horribly violent and painful death. In that moment, regardless of your pureness of heart or reminders to yourself that vengeance belongs to the Lord, not to you, your frail humanity has a tendency to take over. YOU want vengeance. You are being governed by anger, bloodlust, and a desire to kill. You, in that moment, almost look at your enemy as inhuman. That killing him would bring a satisfaction that goes well beyond duty or even personal satisfaction; it would bring joy. Yes, joy. And later, when the smoke and your mind finally clears, you hate yourself for feeling it. All you can do is pray that in those moments you do not let your emotions move you to reckless action. I assure you, if you do, you will always regret it. And so, if these Marines had just witnessed their buddies dying, or wounded, and were caught up in that moment, I can sympathize. But it does not dismiss their actions. They violated our code of conduct, whether we like it or not. They must answer for their actions, and must live with the knowledge that their actions deeply emboldened and strengthened the cause they were attempting to disrespect. And even if that video brought only one more enemy against us, if that enemy killed one American, would urinating on those Taliban have been worth it???

Semper Fidelis, to Christ, Country, Corps, Family, and Friends.
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Guest_Research Monkey_*
post Feb 9 2012, 01:10 AM
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Sounds like someone has really serious paranoia issues.
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Guest_tryingtothinkagain_*
post Feb 9 2012, 01:27 AM
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QUOTE (Research Monkey @ Feb 8 2012, 07:10 PM) *
Sounds like someone has really serious paranoia issues.

As many times as he's survived things he had no right to survive, you can hardly blame him for being paranoid. Based on my personal interactions with him, I don't think he is, though.

But that being said, how the hell did you come to that conclusion?
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Guest_Research Monkey_*
post Feb 9 2012, 01:29 AM
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QUOTE (debator @ Feb 8 2012, 06:23 PM) *
anybody wanna sparknotes that for me?


QUOTE (Research Monkey @ Feb 8 2012, 06:10 PM) *
Sounds like someone has really serious paranoia issues.

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Guest_AK_WDB_*
post Feb 9 2012, 01:45 AM
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QUOTE (tryingtothinkagain @ Feb 8 2012, 04:27 PM) *
But that being said, how the hell did you come to that conclusion?

Seconded; I don't think that came across as paranoid at all.
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Guest_Crow_*
post Feb 9 2012, 02:39 AM
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QUOTE (debator @ Feb 8 2012, 06:23 PM) *
anybody wanna sparknotes that for me?

Main thrust: Military personal should be thoroughly professional, regardless of the circumstances. Videos of the American armed forces doing bad things to the bodies of slain guerrilla fighters are worth about ten pallet-loads of gold and AK-47s in their use as propaganda and are the dumbest thing we could possibly do. This is a massive self-inflicted wound to our mission, and we should screw those guys to the wall for it.

I thought it was worth reading and I strongly agree.
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Guest_Research Monkey_*
post Feb 9 2012, 03:40 AM
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QUOTE (AK_WDB @ Feb 8 2012, 06:45 PM) *
QUOTE (tryingtothinkagain @ Feb 8 2012, 04:27 PM) *
But that being said, how the hell did you come to that conclusion?

Seconded; I don't think that came across as paranoid at all.


"As has been proven, you can kill 40 Taliban or Al-Qaeda in a given firefight, and yet if one "well-meaning" media personality on the scene decides that he'll give his own perspective, that perspective wins the day."

I think while there's some truth in that perspective, it strikes me indicative of an "us-against-the-world" mentality that the armed forces frequently seems to foster. I think that mentality is very paranoid.
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Guest_tryingtothinkagain_*
post Feb 9 2012, 03:50 AM
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QUOTE (Research Monkey @ Feb 8 2012, 09:40 PM) *
QUOTE (AK_WDB @ Feb 8 2012, 06:45 PM) *
QUOTE (tryingtothinkagain @ Feb 8 2012, 04:27 PM) *
But that being said, how the hell did you come to that conclusion?

Seconded; I don't think that came across as paranoid at all.


"As has been proven, you can kill 40 Taliban or Al-Qaeda in a given firefight, and yet if one "well-meaning" media personality on the scene decides that he'll give his own perspective, that perspective wins the day."

I think while there's some truth in that perspective, it strikes me indicative of an "us-against-the-world" mentality that the armed forces frequently seems to foster. I think that mentality is very paranoid.

Media personalities are often very uneducated when it comes to the battlefield. Misidentifying equipment, not paying attention to all the details, not aware of the actual danger they were just in, etc. It gets frustrating. While I'm sure almost all of the reporters have good intentions, they can accidentally provide footage that is used to recruit new members to the jihad, which I think was the point he was trying to make.

Further, that "us-against-the-world" mentality is not at all what he is like. He is a very intelligent man, not your typical Marine. He is the kind and caring Christian man I feel a Christian should be, a follower of the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, the man who broke bread with tax collectors, beggars, and prostitutes. Nothing like the Santorums of the world. He explains his role in life as so: there are sheep, there are wolves, and there are sheepdogs. He is a sheepdog. He looks like a wolf, and sometimes the sheep mistake him for one, but he knows his job is to protect the sheep until his dying breathe, and he will do so gladly.



Also, is that seriously the only thing you got out of that?

This post has been edited by tryingtothinkagain: Feb 9 2012, 04:00 AM
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Guest_Crow_*
post Feb 9 2012, 04:34 AM
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QUOTE
"As has been proven, you can kill 40 Taliban or Al-Qaeda in a given firefight, and yet if one "well-meaning" media personality on the scene decides that he'll give his own perspective, that perspective wins the day."


Strictly speaking, that usually is the perspective that "wins the day" though. There's always some sort of military or government report, which is usually jargon-y and overly cheerful which no one reads, and then there's a news report which actual influences opinions. For instance, if Walter Cronkite visits Vietnam and tells us everything is peachy, that has a dramatically different effect on public opinion than if he comes back and tells us everything is crap.
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Guest_Research Monkey_*
post Feb 9 2012, 06:08 AM
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QUOTE (tryingtothinkagain @ Feb 8 2012, 08:50 PM) *
Also, is that seriously the only thing you got out of that?


I don't really understand war, I don't understand the military and I don't understand religion, so yeah.
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Guest_tryingtothinkagain_*
post Feb 9 2012, 06:45 AM
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QUOTE (Research Monkey @ Feb 9 2012, 12:08 AM) *
QUOTE (tryingtothinkagain @ Feb 8 2012, 08:50 PM) *
Also, is that seriously the only thing you got out of that?


I don't really understand war, I don't understand the military and I don't understand religion, so yeah.

Sometimes I'd swear I'm the most well-rounded person on this board...
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Guest_Crow_*
post Feb 9 2012, 08:33 AM
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Seeing as its been an issue for a good decade now, here's a crash course on anti-insurgency theory for anyone interested.

Mao once said something to the effect that revolutionaries are fish swimming among the sea of the people. At times, they can melt away into the general populace, and if they are eliminated, they can be replaced by new members from that same populace. So, how do we tell the two apart and get rid of the right ones? Here are some strategies which may or may not work.

1) Kill everyone. Not recommended. Even if you get rid of all the insurgents, you probably accidentally killed a bunch of other people too. They're now angry enough to either actively fight against you, or, at the very least, not support you. So long as someone is still alive, you probably aren't winning. This is why bombing North Vietnam back to the Jazz Age does not for good strategy make. Everyone who isn't a red smear doesn't really care who's in charge, just so long as it isn't you. For this reason, drone strikes may be counter-productive in the long run when we blow up weddings and stuff.

2) Actually physically separate people out, During the Malaysian Emergency of the 50s, the British realized that the communist rebels were drawing most of their support from rural shanty towns where everything sucked so much that the rebels looked pretty good. What did the Brits do? They built everyone brand new bloody villages and supervised who could go in and out. At first people were like dry.gif ,but then they were like laugh.gif . Standards of living were a lot higher in the ultra-policed new villages, so villagers stopped being quite so warm and fuzzy with the rebels, who were left to rot in the jungles. This was pretty successful, but if you do it wrong, you look like a jerk and you wasted a lot of money.

3) "Winning hearts and minds." In theory, this is the simplest and most important, but it seems to be the hardest to actually pull off. You just need to convince the greater majority of the population that the insurgents are bad and you're awesome. This is where, nice happy news reports filled with soldiers giving out candy to overjoyed children can pay off big. It's like an especially psychotic presidential election, but everyone has automatic weapons. Advertise/propagandize all the reasons you're the greatest thing since life heaved itself out of the primordial soup. You're better than sliced bread and Cheez-its put together. Make people aware of this fact. If most people are happier under you than the other guys, they'll help you root out trouble makers. This is different from just having a bunch of toadies. The general populace has to genuinely think you're doing good stuff and improving their lives. Note that this method is pretty much out of line with Method One. Urinating on dead opponents is what is sometimes referred to as the "wrong" way to do this.

Tah-dah! Now you too can pretend like you understand modern military history! Amaze your friends and family!

Anyone like to add anything?
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