As Marines urinate on the dead enemy’s bodies, we hear the outcry, “This is uncivilized, un-American, an abomination!”
This is hypocrisy at its finest. It’s ok to kill, but desecrating bodies that no longer feel anything is an outrage.
War is never civilized. It is ugly. It is down to the bones mean. We send our kids over to kill the enemy, and when they join in a task well-done, they are crucified. These Marines were enacting a bonding ritual that strengthens their comradeship. For them to kill, as we command them to, they need to be tough, to see the enemy as worthless. They have to pull together. They crush the enemy together, and finish the job by pissing on him when it’s done. A Marine needs to know the guy covering his back is willing to go all the way.
War is animalistic. Animals mark their territory by urinating. When these Marines act in accord with their nature, and follow orders to kill, it is not they who are wrong. We are wrong to unjustly punish them.
In different circumstances, that one act of urination unseen, these Marines would be hailed as heroes. These young men are highly skilled snipers, not your average Joe. They endured grueling training: don’t flinch when being bitten by bugs; hold bodily functions; and lie perfectly still for hours. They accomplished their mission for our country. But because they got carried away, albeit in an unsettling manner, their careers may be ruined.
Every one of us is capable of heinous behavior, but we don’t like to admit it. Instead, we project our guilt onto others. We make an enemy to carry our shame so we don’t have to look at it. These young men are being scapegoated so the rest of us can maintain the illusion of our innocence. The public outcry is the result of our inability to look at our own shadow sides.
We prefer to ruin the reputations of these Marines rather than look at our hypocrisy. But, we cry, we would not be as barbarous as they. A Course in Miracles calls this the false face of innocence. We are filled with attack thoughts, but the face we present to the world is one of purity. War is a necessary evil, we must kill the enemy, but we would never pee on his dead body.
The Geneva Convention guidelines prohibit certain wartime behaviors, and this does indeed bring an ounce of civility into an impossible, uncivilized situation. The protocols are designed to bring humanitarian treatment to war victims. However, the bodies the Marines urinated on were already dead. What the Marines did was unseemly, but their actions must be held in the light that extreme conditions beget extreme behaviors. Before we haul them down, let us remember the merciful adage from A Course in Miracles, how we judge another is how we judge ourselves deep down. These fine young men, while requiring consequences and correction, deserve our understanding and forgiveness.
(The face of innocence is one of the ego dynamics I write about in Breaking Free: How Forgiveness and A Course in Miracles Can Set You Free. Go to www.lorricoburn.com to preview the book.)