Video Surfaces of Marines Allegedly Urinating on Dead Afghans

Mother Jones reports:

The Marine Corps is reportedly investigating the origins of a YouTube video posted early Wednesday that appears to show four Marines urinating on the heads of Afghans they’d just killed in a firefight. “Have a great day, buddy,” one of the alleged Marines can be heard saying on the footage.

The video was posted to YouTube by a user calling himself “semperfilonevoice,” a play on the Corps’ “Semper Fidelis” motto that suggests the poster might be a Marine with regrets about the warfighters’ conduct. (The video, posted by London’s Daily Telegraph and TMZ earlier today, is also reposted below. Warning: It contains graphic content.)

The poster of the video alleges that the urinators are members of Scout Sniper Team 4, an elite advance combat unit within the Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based Third Battalion, Second Marines. Their identities remain unknown at this point, but the video does contain at least one clue suggesting that’s plausible. One service member in the video can be seen holding an M40 rifle, which is typically issued to sniper teams, but not to regular line units. Elements of the 3/2 Marines have seen some fierce fighting in Afghanistan, including a deployment last year to the province of Now Zad—called “Apocalypse Now Zad” by some—in which seven American fighters lost their lives.

This is extremely upsetting. I couldn’t bring myself to watch the video so I won’t reproduce it here. You can go here for more details and to see the video at the bottom of the post.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Michael

    I find your reaction naive. This is par for the course. In war, the conquered lose their lives, and the victors lose their humanity. That’s how it works. Allied soldiers did worse things to Germans. You’re supposed to find it horrifying.

    In war, we teach young men to kill the enemy. Do you expect them to look another man in the eye, recognize his humanity, form a bond of respect for him, and then put a bullet in his head? That’s absurd. The only way most people can deal with the reality of combat is to consider the enemy “less than human”. That they become less than human themselves is only the other side of the coin.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      No, if you dehumanize the enemy you lose your own dignity. The killing in war should be done out of a sober realization of moral necessity. It should be done with a redoubled commitment to moral rectitude, not out of an abandonment of all morality to barbarism. That is an inherent loss that makes the killing something much more evil and the character of the killer much much worse. I don’t care who has done it before, it’s wrong and it can lead to war crimes.


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