Friday, 13 January 2012

Help me understand.

News of allegations that US marines urinated on dead members of the Taliban has got me thinking today.  Video footage came to light on You Tube and traditional television news services have had it on high rotation here in Australia.  The broadcast has come with grave faces and warnings that the footage we are about to see is graphic before we see vision that has been pixellated to the point that it's meaningless.  Even viewing the You Tube vision uneditted is less shocking or "graphic" than much of the footage available on the nightly news, films and video games.

Important people have expressed outrage at this behaviour describing it as "utterly deplorable" and outrageously offensive".  Hilary Clinton expressed "total dismay" and statements have been made in the prevailing managerial non-speak that this kind of behaviour does not reflect "core values". Does this mean it reflects some other set of values?  What are the non-core values?  Do values mean anything in this world anyway?

I don't sit here and comment as an expert on war, the military, religion, Afghanistan, the US, human behaviour or the impact of war on men and women.  So as an ordinary citizen, I do wonder that the desecration of human corpses causes more outrage than the action that caused them to become corpses in the first place.

I don't know how to feel about this at all.  I find it bizarre behaviour for a group of men to line up, unzip their pants and together urinate on corpses.  I find it bizarre behaviour for governments to send soldiers to kill fellow human beings in the name of peace.

I do have this question: what does it say about our society that urination gains more media coverage and attracts deeper feeling than the killing of countless people, soldiers and civilians alike?

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