By Robert K. Wilcox
(Wilcox is my friend and the author of Target: Patton: The Plot to Assassinate General George S. Patton. He served in the U.S. Air Force for 6 years as an information officer during the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1974. ~Eowyn)
The last soldier I heard of urinating on the enemy was Gen. George S. Patton. Should the general, who, as much as any other, was responsible for defeating the Nazis, have been driven from the military for such and act? You’d think so from the hysteric response building in the mainstream and Left-leaning press to a video allegedly showing marines urinating on dead Taliban fighters. Presuming it’s authentic, such reaction is absurd.
We send these young men out to kill and maim their enemy. That means snuffing out their life, with all the heartbreak and tragedy involved. They usually do this with bullets that rip and tear; or larger projectiles like grenades, artillery shells, or air-dropped bombs which can shred or disintegrate a body. Often fire is involved. Is urinating on a dead body worse?
Yet as I write I can feel the hope and purpose in a headline like AOL-Huffington Post’s, “Outrage over Purported Marine Video: A shocking video that allegedly shows American soldiers performing a ‘disgusting’ act sparks a US Marine Corps investigation.” It’s already tagged under “atrocities” and “war crimes.” What the headline writers are really saying is, “Oh please, please, another Mai Lai Massacre type scandal like in Vietnam. Well, we know it’s not going to be that big, but we can again throw bad light on the US military, which we basically hate and fear and are mad at for doing all the bad things they do.”
Of course they’ve gone to the Council on American-Islamic Relations for comment. As if they didn’t know they’d get a condemnation. But did they balance it with someone at war with the Taliban? Not a chance. And the statement says, “The video shows behavior…totally unbecoming of American military personnel and that would ultimately endanger other soldiers and civilians.”
It’s so predictable, petty, and blown out of proportion by a media that largely knows nothing of the battlefield and why a crude but ultimately innocuous act like this might happen. What do they expect in war? Tea and crumpets and the Marquess of Queensbury rules? War is hell. Most of those fighting it are young, usually 18 to 22. They are inexperienced. They are sent to deserts and other uninhabitable places with stinging insects, maddening heat and sanitary conditions the Left would be screaming was child abuse. They forge a bond with each other few peacetime friendships can ever hope to equal. They have to. It’s the only way to get through. And some of them, if not more, see that bonded friend killed or mutilated as only war can do it.
No one who has not gone through it will understand the depth of a combat relationship. There are no phonies in a firefight; no pretense of who one is. You can’t cover up. Combat soldiers get to know each other very well. That breeds the bond – that and the dire situation combatants share. And when that bond is ended in the most brutal way, by the death or maiming of a buddy in the bond, pissing on the bastard who represents that end is small payback for the tragic loss and what else has been commonly endured.
Is that what happened in the video in question? We don’t know at this point. It’s possible. But even if not, what’s on the video isn’t an atrocity or war crime. It’s a logical rarity by young men in harms way against what they know to be the threat that can snuff any one of them or their buddies if the tables were turned. How quick we forget the blood curdling screams of Nick Berg and Daniel Pearl. Are urinations on lifeless bodies anything near that?
Gen. Patton did his public urinating not on a dead body but into the enemy’s most famous river, The Rhine. His Third Army was the first Allied army to cross it and take the war on the ground past that last German barrier. A photographer caught the act as Patton stood in the middle of a pontoon bridge and directed his stream defiantly into the enemy’s larger one – like a dog marking its territory. War is a dirty business, with minimum rules for the living, notably the Geneva Convention, prisoner of war dictates the Taliban, by the way, does not recognize. But as repugnant as they may be to some, there are no rules for the dead, for that is the point of war.
Pile them up, let them rot, piss on them. Like it or not, it’s what happens in such a nasty business. Don’t make more of it than what can be expected when young men are sent to kill others.
Source of pic of Patton urinating into the Rhine: