Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was right to call the video of Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan “utterly deplorable.” I agree. There are certain values we cannot let go of, even in extremis, and remain human. But I am not surprised that it happened. Anyone wondering why should perhaps turn back to my column of Nov. 10: Reality and Reflections on Veterans Day
The one factor in mitigation I would point to is the nature of the enemy today’s Marines are now facing.
I always felt that the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army didn’t hate us. It was just a war; it wasn’t personal. They didn’t despise everything we stood for. They didn’t behead American prisoners of war. They only wanted us and our influence out of their country.
To the Taliban and al-Qaeda, however, we’re “infidels.” Not just our presence, but our very existence threatens the theocratic paradise they envision. Our troops certainly feel and understand that, making this a much more bitter war than mine was. --EFP