Rep. Allen West on the reaction to the Marines incident: “Shut your mouth; war is hell”

posted at 5:47 pm on January 13, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Candidly, the story of a handful of Marines videotaping themselves urinating on dead Taliban fighters is a subject I’ve feared to broach because it is heart-breaking to think those men so lost their sense of shared humanity — if only for those minutes — as to do what they did. Rep. Allen West has given me a way to write about it, though, by saying it all better than I ever could. In an e-mail to The Weekly Standard, West wrote:

I have sat back and assessed the incident with the video of our Marines urinating on Taliban corpses. I do not recall any self-righteous indignation when our Delta snipers Shugart and Gordon had their bodies dragged through Mogadishu. Neither do I recall media outrage and condemnation of our Blackwater security contractors being killed, their bodies burned, and hung from a bridge in Fallujah.

All these over-emotional pundits and armchair quarterbacks need to chill. Does anyone remember the two Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division who were beheaded and gutted in Iraq?

The Marines were wrong. Give them a maximum punishment under field grade level Article 15 (non-judicial punishment), place a General Officer level letter of reprimand in their personnel file, and have them in full dress uniform stand before their Battalion, each personally apologize to God, Country, and Corps videotaped and conclude by singing the full US Marine Corps Hymn without a teleprompter.

As for everyone else, unless you have been shot at by the Taliban, shut your mouth, war is hell.

Without excusing the vulgar, distasteful, disgraceful (insert your adjective here) desecration committed by the Marines themselves, West reminds us that civilians can never fully understand the magnitude of the sacrifices they ask men and women to make on their behalf.

Words of support for the troops are needed now as always, but they’re hardly forthcoming. The Republican presidential candidates, for example, have made no statements of support for the predominantly well-behaved troops as a buttress against the effects on public opinion of the administration’s eager denouncement of the few. William Kristol highlights their silence:

Give me a break. More importantly, give our troops a break. Yes, the Marines who appear to have done what they did should be reprimanded or punished, as they would have been in the normal course of things once their deed came to light. I will even grant that some higher-ups might have felt it prudent to deplore what happened, based on realpolitik considerations of depriving our enemies of excuses to whip up sentiment against us in the region (though I’m doubtful the effort to do this isn’t more counterproductive than not). But the administration’s reaction is over the top. And it smells of cheap self-righteousness and moral posturing from an administration that, to be honest, hasn’t devoted a whole lot of time to thanking our troops for what they’ve been doing in very difficult and dangerous circumstances.

Maybe it was too much to expect senior officials to make the common sense points that 1) this incident is not something to get hysterical about, and 2) it needs to be put in the context of the admirable behavior of 99 percent of our troops 99 percent of the time. But aren’t there Republicans around who might want to make this point? I gather, for example, that there are several people running for the Republican presidential nomination. Maybe one of them could say a good word about our troops?

Those who do dare to speak up are promptly attacked for it. Big Journalism’s Dana Loesch describes the backlash she’s received for a few statements she made on her radio program yesterday to the effect that the reaction to the incident has been overblown:

This is nothing but an exercise in situational, exploitative outrage, and it completely proved the point I was making. The phrases “defile” and “desecration” popped up in my replies on Twitter every minute or so. If “desecration” is a concern for progressives, where was their outrage when the remains of over 200 Air Force members were dumped in a landfill? I’ve seen more outrage towards our troops over this incident than I have ever seen towards the Taliban themselves who’ve beheaded soldiers (American and Afghan), raped and tortured women, sent out suicide bombers, and carried out horrific attacks.

The disproportionate anger on the part of progressives is fueled by their dislike of our military. That['s] what this proves. The left is attacking me so they can give the Obama administration a pass–unlike what they did with Bush and Abu Ghraib. Like it or not, I’ll stand up for our troops no matter which president is in charge.

The situation has never called for histrionics, but it has always called for a sober recognition that the reality of war is unfathomable to those who’ve never experienced it, and it is up to us, who remain in comfort while others fight our battles, to sing the praises of those who bear with the unbearable in a brave and noble manner — and to help however we can to restore to those veterans who’ve lost it a deep, abiding conviction in the dignity and worth of the human person.


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Comment pages: 1 7 8 9

bcotop on January 15, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Extremely well said, top.

hawkdriver on January 15, 2012 at 12:11 PM

…war is hell. – LTC WEST

Jarheads!
Should become more creative!
A gallon of petrol,a match, and
refusal to pee on the perps,
to extinguish the fire
was the way to go!

“Let’s Roll”

On Watch on January 15, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Remember when libtards claimed to “respect the troops, not the mission” ???

Did anyone believe it then or now???

I loved the comment I read earlier:

” piss on a terrorist, piss off a liberal.”

Roy Rogers on January 15, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Hawkdriver, you served?

Then, I’d think you’d remember this:

Yes, ’80 – ’84.

Anything else?

nico on January 15, 2012 at 1:52 PM

nico on January 15, 2012 at 1:52 PM

It’s what I thought and that’s why I asked. What else are you insinuating?

hawkdriver on January 15, 2012 at 1:57 PM

It’s what I thought and that’s why I asked. What else are you insinuating?

hawkdriver on January 15, 2012 at 1:57 PM

“80 – 84?” is a rather indirect way to ask the question with combat zone in emphasis.

Grenada? might have been more communicative of your assumptions if it is what you, in fact, thought.

My mistake.

No harm, no foul.

nico on January 15, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Pissing on barbarian illegal combatants: outrageous.

Pooping on NYC police car
: What’s the problem?

Akzed on January 15, 2012 at 2:47 PM

nico on January 15, 2012 at 2:08 PM

In those years I was all over Central and South America. Grenada was just one possibility.

hawkdriver on January 15, 2012 at 5:40 PM

This is the precise reason our troops should carry a hog or pork chitterlings with them on deployment in the Middle East, Afpak, etc.

It would avoid the need for this kind of improv by our soldiers and marines.

Our media is more concerned about this than about the stoning of rape victims in the same region.

molonlabe28 on January 15, 2012 at 5:49 PM

In those years I was all over Central and South America. Grenada was just one possibility.

hawkdriver on January 15, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Understood. Thanks.

nico on January 15, 2012 at 6:40 PM

“Obviously, 18, 19-year-old kids make stupid mistakes all too often, and that’s what’s occurred here,” Perry told Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “But, you know, when you’re in war, and history kind of backs up — there’s a picture of General Patton doing basically the same thing in the Rhine River. And although there’s not a picture, Churchill did the same thing on the Siegfried line.

http://fellowshipofminds.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/patton.jpg

ZGMF_Freedom on January 15, 2012 at 7:18 PM

I agree. And killing off militants is a great way to discourage aggression. But that has to be matched by a certain positive effort, as well, building schools, fixing power plants — and not pissing on bodies.

urban elitist on January 14, 2012 at 8:59 AM
———

Of course, these people are so thankful for the US for the schools and the improvements to their lives. /s

Meanwhile, Afghanistan Signs Its First Oil Deal With a Foreign Country . . . China…

http://weaselzippers.us/2011/12/28/afghanistan-signs-its-first-oil-deal-with-a-foreign-country-china/

Kyle_Reese on January 16, 2012 at 1:53 AM

I’m more concerned about the dark cruelty and senseless killing of innocent animals our boys have been perpetrating then urinating on lifeless bodies.

Frankly I don’t get the motivation for urinating on dead bodies as the worst has already happened to them. It must be some sort of weird, closure therapy phenomenon.

Will_Hal on January 16, 2012 at 4:08 AM

I’m more concerned about the dark cruelty and senseless killing of innocent animals our boys have been perpetrating then urinating on lifeless bodies.

Frankly I don’t get the motivation for urinating on dead bodies as the worst has already happened to them. It must be some sort of weird, closure therapy phenomenon.

Will_Hal on January 16, 2012

Oh? What’s “weird” about it? Have you ever been in a life or death fight? When your adrenaline is pumping 100% and you have plenty of testosterone, many things can happen. What these Marines did was nothing compared to what the enemy does. In other words: Get over it.
Let the women and metrosexuals whine all they want.
Bring back conscription and let’s identify the girly-men.

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on January 16, 2012 at 8:24 AM

Frankly I don’t get the motivation for urinating on dead bodies as the worst has already happened to them. It must be some sort of weird, closure therapy phenomenon.

Will_Hal on January 16, 2012 at 4:08 AM

Don’t ask, don’t tell…

KeninCT on January 16, 2012 at 9:23 AM

Didn’t the same “Religion of Peace” followers kill some American civilian contractors in Iraq, burn their bodies, and hang them off a bridge?

The marines were probably just pissed off about that. Literally.

NoPain on January 16, 2012 at 9:44 AM

Embarrassed I am. Forgot to put Allen West on the top of my list for VP. Of course, I’d rather he be President but let’s get him on the ticket.

sdbatboy on January 16, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Oh no! combat G.I.s are behaving…..characteristically callous towards the dead enemy.

Is this still an issue? Yawn,

next?

E9RET on January 16, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Oh no! combat G.I.s are behaving…..characteristically callous towards the dead enemy.

Is this still an issue? Yawn,

next?

E9RET on January 16, 2012 at 11:09 AM

No, the issue is your government telling you to shut up.

Dante on January 16, 2012 at 11:50 AM

The words of U.S.Congressman Allen West in an e-mail to The Weekly Standard, saying “. . . unless you have been shot at by the Taliban, shut your mouth, war is hell,” DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ‘THE GOVERNMENT TELLING YOU TO SHUT UP.’

listens2glenn on January 16, 2012 at 1:11 PM

The only thing I care about is that they videotaped it.

Next time guys, don’t videotape it!

moonsbreath on January 16, 2012 at 1:52 PM

Didn’t the same “Religion of Peace” followers kill some American civilian contractors in Iraq, burn their bodies, and hang them off a bridge?

The marines were probably just pissed off about that. Literally.

NoPain on January 16, 2012 at 9:44 AM

Last year, the Taliban executed doctors who provided the majority of eye care for the Afghans. These muslims don’t care about humanitarian efforts to improve their lives. It’s all about violence and rape-sex for them.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/world/taliban-kill-eight-doctors/story-e6frf7lf-1225902515000

Kyle_Reese on January 16, 2012 at 2:49 PM

E9RET on January 16, 2012 at 11:09 AM

No, the issue is your government telling you to shut up.

Dante

Heh. Thank GOD I didn’t have easy access to video or even digital photography during my time in the field. And thank GOD it took the Secretary of the service to make me an E-8!

I’m probably going to open myself to some flames, but I’ve endured worse.

Ladies and gentlemen, you just got schooled in the callousness and cynicism that is the hallmark of junior enlisted ranks ever since that Roman legionarii poked Jesus in the ribs so he could get back to the barrack and his daily wine portion sooner and joke about it.

It’s always been there, but it’s only publicly apparent when our troops are in combat. They are merely tired, hot, bored, not-bored guys doing what their bosses (NCOs like me) tell them to do. They possess the proverbial “worm’s eye view.” I’ve met your Marines on the checkpoints of Mogadishu airport at midnight on a Sunday, or driving a tanker truck fuel of diesel in Saudi Arabia on Thanksgiving Day.

They just don’t understand why they are doing what they are doing most of the time, and they are pissed. They then gripe and moan and in combat do something they think is cool, even if it might offend some “sensibilities.” Sorry, you develop some really crude sense of humor in combat.

They are typical of all our young Airmen, Soldiers, Marines, and Sailors. They either stay or become more “responsible” NCOs or they’ll get out.

P.S. By responsible I meant some E-6 would’ve said “Knock it off guys, some a**hole might post the damn pictures on YouTube!!!”

Either way they are pretty typical of their brethren at this point in their lives; I’m glad they are, but, hey, I used to be one of them so what’s my opinion worth?? ;-)

E9RET on January 16, 2012 at 3:35 PM

Either way they are pretty typical of their brethren at this point in their lives; I’m glad they are, but, hey, I used to be one of them so what’s my opinion worth?? ;-)

E9RET on January 16, 2012 at 3:35 PM

I’ve never seen that kind of behavior in 34 years.

hawkdriver on January 17, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Oh no! combat G.I.s are behaving…..characteristically callous towards the dead enemy.

Is this still an issue? Yawn,

next?

E9RET on January 16, 2012 at 11:09 AM

LOL 100% correct.

ColdWarrior57 on January 17, 2012 at 12:32 PM

I’ve never seen that kind of behavior in 34 years.

hawkdriver on January 17, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Absence of proof is not proof of absence.

ColdWarrior57 on January 17, 2012 at 12:40 PM

E9RET on January 16, 2012 at 3:35 PM

I’ve never seen that kind of behavior in 34 years.

hawkdriver

No offense sir and with all, all due respect for your service but I suspect I’ve been in different places in my 28 years and four combat tours than you have in your 34 and your various combat tours.

Just as I also suspect that there is more than one Vietnam era 11 Bravo and 0311 reading this that is embarrassingly aware of a photo/polaroid photo of a VC body they took in 68/69 in the back of a drawer and/or box that today might not be considered “in good taste” (they keep them, of course)

Stephen Ambrose once wrote that during and after Bastogne that when U.S. Paratroopers found German POWs wearing U.S. jump boots they obviously took off of G.I. bodies or prisoner they would make the German take them off, even in snow and march to the POW collection area in their bare feet.

I once asked a relative who was Airborne during WWII if this was true he just responded “Naw, we just shot them!” The word got around and the German left the boots alone after a while.

I don’t condone the behavior of these young men, but I have to be honest when I say I’m more disappointed they got caught than what they did. And that, getting caught, is what they will be punished for.

I spent the majority of my USAF career with those 11Bs and 0311s and I’m not that shocked, oh hell, who am I kidding? I wouldn’t have been shocked if they p**sed on them while they were alive.

I still believe they are basically good and responsible (and stupid) young men.

Remember in “Band of Brothers” when Maj. Winters gave a POW escort only one round to take several German POWs to the collection point? Do you have the slightest doubt that didn’t happen? I don’t.

I truly believe that today’s troopers wouldn’t execute prisoners, to me that’s more of a commendation of how far we’ve come than this silly episode.

Give ‘em Art. 15 punishment, take a stripe, put them on s**tcan detail for a month.

As for the Marines involved? Yup, those photos will be in the back of a drawer 40 years from now, same as those photos from Vietnam.

E9RET on January 17, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Finally this thread dies. Time to keep my promise. I will be directing todays film,Karen is our Foley artist, Gary is our DP, Frank is our key grip and Steve is our best boy, assisting him is Art. Our talent on loan from the USMC retired. Okay places everyone. Cue the foley, and Action…The scene opens with a close shot of our Marines (retired) having just killed some bad guys. Foley has the sound of pee hitting what we assume is the ground. The DP pans out to reveal a well lit scene of our men giving a final golden shower to the dead enemy combatants. And cut. That’s a wrap. Wait my DP informs me the Red camera system wasn’t properly functioning and we missed the shot. Our best boys have already de-arced the lights and its getting late. No film at a high cost to all involved.

Like I said before boys, leave the cameras at home and spam all your ammo. Carry on, nothing to see here.

TShhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Tsh Tsh Tsh sound of zipper. Wrap

Silence. Golden silence.

Bmore on January 19, 2012 at 2:00 AM

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