Why I Won’t Be Judging The US Marine Corps Today

United States Marine CorpToday is one of those very rare days that my blog will be “off topic,” meaning there will be no tie to the Tallahassee real estate market.

Every so often I feel compelled to share my viewpoint on a current event, and today I want to share a unique perspective on a hot global story that differs from many who were quick to speak out.

By now, most Americans have heard about or seen a widely “popular” video that is making the rounds of most news organizations and social media online. This video appears to show several US Marines urinating on three Taliban corpses.

The Washington Post reported:

Real Estate Quote Tallahassee FloridaThe video, which runs for less than a minute, depicts four Marines in combat gear laughing and joking as they urinate on three male bodies. The caption refers to the corpses as “dead Talibans,” but it is unclear whether the men were civilians or fighters killed after a battle.

US Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, said he had viewed the video and considered it “utterly deplorable,” and so do I.

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton expressed “total dismay” at the behavior depicted in the recording, as would most civilized people who view it.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai described the video as “completely inhumane and condemnable in the strongest possible terms.” He is demanding the most severe punishment for those involved. While I agree with his sentiment, I have a very strong disagreement and contempt for his demanding anything from the United States Marine Corps.

I do believe this video needs to be investigated, but not by the Press. Not by people (like me) who sit their heavy posterior in an air conditioned office every day, while 18 year old marines fight to keep us safe.

And certainly not by a Head of State who would have been dead a long time ago were it not for US service members in Afghanistan. Mr. Karzai should have made a statement to the effect that “this doesn’t sound like the US Marines that I have come to rely upon for my life, and I am confident they will handle this appropriately.”

These “men” are given the control over life and death on a battlefield every day, it is no wonder that their perception of right and wrong is significantly different than what you would expect from a “boy” here in the United States.

But they are not here in the United States.

This video and any actions shown in it should be judged by US Marines, on the ground in Afghanistan. This would be the proverbial “jury of their peers.” Stateside Marines are not their peers. US politicians are not their peers. And Tallahassee real estate brokers are not their peers.

And the Corps should feel no political pressure to punish these men beyond what its leadership feels is right for the United States Marine Corps.

Now do not misunderstand what I am saying. I in no way condone these alleged actions by US marines, very specifically I do not. I just know that I’m not in a fair position to judge them.

I am not a US Marine who looks down the barrel of a sniper rifle every day, trying to kill somebody. Nor am I being targeted with sniper fire and IEDs on my way to work. My daily stress is a joke compared to the world in which we have placed these young men.

I ask you to consider this.

If we were to investigate the background of the men in this video, before they became US marines, do you think that they have ever done anything before to desecrate a body? Do you really think that is who these men/kids really are? Is it possible that we have changed them?

The fact is that most likely they were all in high school just a few short year(s) ago, and they probably had similar values as do most 18 to 21 year old boys. They want to be chasing girls, listening to music, and going to parties, but that is not where we have sent them.

The Few The Proud The Marines TallahasseeHowever, unlike most 18 to 21 year-olds, these young men bravely answered the call to defend our Country, and our way of life. They have made it safe for me to write this and for you to read it; to comment, to agree, or to disagree.

We are not scared to express our opinions, because at the end of the day, we have the United States Marine Corps covering our backs!

Let the men and women of the US Marine Corp in Afghanistan judge them, not you and I. But there is something you and I should do…

Reach out to a past or present US Marine and say “thank you.”

Thank you for making this scary world safer for us. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for your service. Thank you for taking the battle away from our shores.

Thank you John Krause. Thank you Josh Payton. Thank you Peter Coukoulis. Thank you to all our Tallahassee Marines. Ooh-rah!

Give To The Wounded Warrior ProjectIf you want to really say thank you, consider a small donation to the Wounded Warrior Project. You don’t have to give a lot, just give them something to let them know you care. You can click on the Wounded Warrior Project image on the right to be taken to their website. I think it speaks for itself.

Grip hands Marines, you most likely will be trashed in the media and belittled by liberals the world over who have no concept of the sacrifice you make to keep us safe. Just know that there are plenty of us who know that this was an isolated incident and we are proud and grateful for your service.

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Last modified: January 13, 2012
About Joe Manausa

Joe Manausa, MBA is a 22+ year veteran of real estate brokerage in the State of Florida and has owned and managed his own company since 1992. He is a daily blogger with content that focuses on real estate analytics and providing his clients with a tactical advantage in today's challenging market.

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  1. Jennifer Barineau says:

    Very well said….and thank YOU for your service as an Army Ranger. People like me don’t even have a clue what these guys go through every day. You do. You’ve been there. So thank you, too.

  2. Yes we thank the men who protect us Joe. But put the shoe on the other foot. Remember the dead Americans dragged through the streets of Somalia? Americans wanted blood. These kids are way out of line. These Taliban are dead already. They died for their cause and no matter how warped it is to us, they deserve respect in death. We don’t live in the combat zone but one can be an enemy combatant without pissing on the bodies of your vanquished enemy.

    • Roy, I do not disagree with “how you feel,” I’m just saying you’re not qualified to judge them. You haven’t “walked a mile in their shoes.”

      I hate to think Americans would do what it looks like they have done … but I also hate to think what we’ve done to those young men. When you wonder how they could do such a thing, ponder it from the viewpoint of their parents.

      Make no mistake about it. We sent them over there to kill the Taliban. We would like to think (from our comfortable, safe, protected positions) that “one can be an enemy combatant without pissing on the bodies of your vanquished enemy.” But who are you to say that?

  3. This is a great article and it really made me think. I think I can say I look at the world from a different perspective than most Americans, because I live and work in a largely international community outside the US. I think to view this from an international perspective, we have to understand that these kids have tarnished all the hard work done by the soldiers who died fighting for the freedom of an Afghanistan who barely appreciates us anyway. Who am I? I’m an American Army veteran, not a combat veteran, like yourself, and true enough, I haven’t walked a mile in their shoes. But I do think being able to look at how the American Army and even more so, the US, will be judged by this from millions and millions of other, as you call them, “unqualified people” outside of the sheltered walls of America, makes me better qualified than most to have an opinion. I’m no liberal, I love these kids who are out there doing what no country has ever successfully done (win in Afghanistan), but this is way beyond the realm of respect and decency, no matter what the enemy is doing to us, we need to be respectful of our enemy casualties and prisoners – it’s one of the few things that separates America from the despotic regimes of the world. If this view makes me a liberal, maybe it’s so (sad to say). But I’m still voting Republican. Thanks for writing this. Love your blog.

    • Roy,

      I see it another way.

      1. I don’t care about what the Taliban think or what they would do anymore. They are our enemy.

      2. We sent Marines over there to kill them.

      3. The Marines killed them. Regardless of what the Marines do after killing them, the dead Taliban have moved on to their Paradise and will not be harmed any longer.

      4. My concern is for our Marines. Why are they urinating on corpses? This is not the way we behave. This is not the way Marines ever behave. What has changed so drastically that these young men chose to do such a disturbing act?

      5. This should be a wake-up call for Politicians/mothers/fathers/sisters/brothers. When you send a young man to combat, you will change him severely. Even though 99.99% of our Marines were not involved in this, it doesn’t mean that they have not been scarred by their combat experiences.

      6. I have combat experience, yet I am not qualified to judge these Marines. They are involved in a fight that I have not experienced. Let their peers judge them.

      7. It would be nice if everybody in the world loved Americans … and we loved them. I no longer care about that. I just want to ensure they understand that we have a resolve to survive and prosper, and we have the US Marines if they mess with us.

  4. You make some very good points here. It’s easy for all of us to sit here, not facing the same hostile life/death situations. The horrors of war and grisly fighting, chaos and death takes it’s tole on the human psyche. Certainly a part of humanity is lost when faced with that kind of living/dying environment like these kids face, especially the young soldiers that don’t have any real life expereinces and are still maturing into the men and women they will become.

    I, too would never condone such behavior and it is completely out of line. Yes, these soldiers do need to be punished. But more importantly, our Military at all ranks needs to understand the reprocussions of their actions and keep a clear head on what the objectives are and refrain from letting their frustrations be taken out in a manner that is not only detrimental to our goals but more importantly puts soldiers in jeopardy. I think is what frustrates me more than anything. These actions put more troops in harms way. Whenever our fighting men/women on the line engage is such demonstations, it outrages both allies and enemies alike. As the enemy gets enraged, they launch more vicious attacks. Troops need to stop and realize that they are only causing greater hostility putting themseleves and their fellow soliders at greater risk.

  5. Very well said, thank you for your unbiased opinion. As a Marine Vet with 1 Iraq tour I agree, you can only be judged by your peers who are deployed with you and understand what the fog of war might bring.

  6. You think they should only be judged by their peers? They’re representing our entire country but should only be judged by like minded, biased Marines? Like we don’t already do enough for other countries to hate the U.S. These absent minded Marines are desecrating their fallen soldiers bodies. You can’t put someone on a pedestal and say just b/c they chose to “defend our country”, the rules don’t apply. I appreciate all they do, but honestly, a lot of people who choose to enlist in a branch of service, have exhausted their other options, so we need to stop acting like it’s unpatriotic to say anything bad about these guys even though they’re absolutely despicable.

  7. Good guess I suppose. I do have family members who have, and they feel the same way, so, that’s irrelevant.

    • I don’t think it’s irrelevant, and I haven’t seen them chime in here Nick.

      Until you walk in harms way, you have no basis for understanding the duress that makes these men do stupid, intolerable things.

      Go spend a year on the ground in Afghanistan.

      Do you ever wonder why so many return home and have significant problems dealing with “normal” life?

      I suspect you and I both would agree on the despicable nature of what occurred. I’m just saying you are in no position to judge them. If your family members served on the ground in Afghanistan, I suspect they would agree with me on that.

      Enjoy your freedom to respond, somebody is paying for it today.

  8. Why are we in no position to judge if we’ve never served? That makes no sense and I’ll tell you why. These “stupid, intolerable” acts these soldiers have committed may end up inciting a violent attack on some of us who haven’t served. What U.S soldiers do in war affects the U.S as a whole, whether it be positively or negatively, so that definitely gives the U.S as a whole, the right to “chime in” and judge them, regardless of whether or not we choose to enlist.
    Right? Right.

    • These were Marines, not soldiers, but I understand your point Nick.

      Their chain of command understands the implications and potential repercussions that could result. I have faith in them to deal with it correctly.

      You have the right to chime in because of them (and those that came before them and hopefully those who will follow them), but that does not put you in a position to judge them.

      Your position reminds me of the two, old wealthy brothers in “Trading Places” who look condescendingly down their noses at Eddie Murphy because he is begging for food on the street. Having been born to wealth, they just couldn’t understand why a man would stoop to that.

  9. We’ll have to agree to disagree then b/c the points you are trying to make are ridiculous. Justice may be served but it will be because of the media coverage of the issue, not because their chain of command has the moral fortitude to deal w/ it correctly. As for the “Trading Places” comment…Please, seriously? One man is begging for food to survive…these guys are urinating on fallen soldiers, laughing…Not even close in relevance. I don’t discriminate but I’ll never understand why a man would stoop to urinating on another, after he’s killed him. You could apply your “Trading Places” logic to any crime committed and try to justify it, but it doesn’t make it right. If you are representing your country, guess what, your country has the right to judge you.

  10. We cant hold the entire military responsible for the bad actions of a few. On the whole the US military is the best in the world whether it comes to ethics or discipline. They make many sacrifices for us everyday and that is why we are able to enjoy our freedoms.

  11. You are right on about not judging young combat marines or any warrior serving under hostile fire. I was in combat in Vietnam where we fought the first non-traditional war where the enemy could be anywhere or any local. I remember one night the VC attacked our compound and it was a all-hell-broke-loose fire fight with serious causalties and the next morning checking the barbed wire perimeter was our local hire barber, now very dead, who had just cut my hair the day before dressed in black pajamas carrying an AK-47. Or, the time we had a jeep blow up because some South Vietnamese kid dropped a gernade down the gas tank as my troopers were handing out candy to them. The gernade had the pin pulled and wrapped in green tape so that it would not go off until later. Would I have done anything if my guys killed the kid? Hell no, but the embedded reporter we had would have not been nice. Thank god we had no personal camera phones in my war or I would be in trouble. If you have never been in combat, do not judge! Thank you for that.

  12. I nominated Marine SSG Chad Brumpton for an award of $50,000 if we can get enough votes to win a writing contest at examiner.com where I write articles on a regular basis. They are running a contest asking us writers to nominate a person who inspired America in one of five categories. I met SSG Chad Brumpton, former Marine, through the Wounded Warrior Project and after learning about his combat in Iraq losing both his legs and then years of a remarkable recovery, I was totally inspired as should everyone else. Voting started on 9 January and runs to 27 January. We started at 4% in voting and now at 18% – the leader is at 33%. Marines do not come in second! You can read my article and vote for Chad on the link below. Please help me put the word out to every facebook friend you have and every fellow Marine you know and their facebook friends. The link is:
    http://www.examiner.com/crime-in-tallahassee/i-will-never-quit-i-will-fight-to-the-end-an-american-military-warrior
    Vote every day for SSG Chad Brumpton, US Marine. Voting is easy, click on “Sacrifice” category, log in with email address and password, click on the bubble in front of Chad Brumpton and select “Vote”.
    I want to keep this email short as possible. My name is John “Jack” Pretti, retired Army VN Vietnam vet and you are welcome to contact me for any questions. If you google Chad Brumpton you can view a video of him and walk thru a shot clip of his service and recovery. It is amazing.
    Please vote for a fellow Marine. Semper Fi
    Jack

  13. REP Allen West says:

    “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.”

  14. Stan Derzpolski says:

    No one talks about the events that lead up to the picture. Nothing is said to give us the perspective of what these soldiers went through up to that point. Why are there not pictures in the news yesterday about the more that 50 pilgrams killed while practicing their religion? No pictures of boldied body parts of men, women and children blown all over. This enemy of cowards fight behind women and children. Maybe you haven’t heard of what they do to our dead. Hopefully the experience of 9-11 will be as close to this type of war that most of you will get. In the meantime, be thankful of our soldiers who are fighting and dying to protect your right bitch about their behavior.

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