Like the Khans and the Samurai

January 13, 2012

Here’s what I don’t understand:

Why are we surprised when young men trained to hate and kill urinate on the corpses of their enemies? Do we think we’ve developed a sensitive killing aparatus? That our innocent young people remain innocent despite their occupation? Having created sapient instruments of death why do we expect to control their implses?

Hubris? Stupidity? The contraints of morality already overridden by the will to power?

And so militarists rend their garments while we emulate the khans and the samurai.

The Marine Corps later confirmed Waldhauser’s appointment in a statement. It said it was confident ‘an expeditious, full and fair investigation will be conducted, and appropriate action will be taken in response to this incident.’ “

This incident.

The first incident was the killing. Having desecrated the lives of their enemy the desecration of their corpses is somehow out of the bounds of honorable war?

This is not a suggestion that the disrespect of urination is acceptable, but that the first disrespect of killing should not be omitted from the equation. But we should not be surprised when it is, it’s one of the fundementals of the justification for nationalized violence: killing a living being in war is an honorable exercise, desecrating a dead corpse in the same enterprize is not. A corpse is to be respected, life is not.

“…the stress of combat cannot excuse desecrating corpses — not to mention filming it. Such behavior is morally repugnant and suggests a breakdown in discipline.” —NYT editorial 

This as a traditional and very convenient stretch.

Jim Culleny


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