M and me are blocked by Adam Baldwin on Twitter. I shit you not. It happened awhile ago, and he deleted all his tweets to us before the end of the day. I’ve got all sorts of screenshots, but when it comes right down to it, it’s just not worth all the trouble. So, you get that one up there, and that’s it.
It was over that situation with the Marines, said to be members of an elite squad of the “best of the best”, who pissed on dead Taliban members, videotaped it, and then put the video into circulation.
Before I get into my opinion, let me remind you that my dad has worked for the government in some way, shape or form since before I was born. Two of the jokes-that-weren’t-completely-jokes most heard around our house, growing up? “I work for the government. I’m here to help you.” and “If I told you, I’d have to kill you.” But his longest job – and probably what I’d consider his only actual career – was as a member of the U.S. Military.
I am a patriot in my own way. I love our country. I support our military wholeheartedly. I don’t hold against them the assignments they’re made to carry out, because I know what can happen to them – and in some cases, should happen, if we were to follow the full letter of the law as it was intended – if they’re insubordinate.
It’s not like when you ignore your boss at the office, or blow off your manager at the box store, or curse your foreman out at the mill. Soldiers can be issued a court martial for insubordination. At best, they’re dishonorably discharged if they’re found guilty, which can sometimes make it difficult to find a civilian job. Some insubordination warrants a stint in military prison, which I hear is even worse than a civilian maximum security prison. And other instances of insubordination are considered treason. You can be shot for treason.
I also support our military’s code of honor. Each branch says it a little differently, but when it comes down to it, they’re pretty much the same. Respect, protect and serve your country with honor and courage.
The U.S. Marine Corps claims to have three core values. They are honor, courage and commitment. These values are defined further in many places and many ways. About.com’s article on the Marines’ Core Values defines “honor” in great detail.
Honor guides Marines to exemplify the ultimate in ethical and moral behavior; to never lie cheat or steal; to abide by an uncompromising code of integrity; respect human dignity; and respect others. The quality of maturity, dedication, trust and dependability commit Marines to act responsibly; to be accountable for their actions; to fulfill their obligations; and to hold others accountable for their actions.
Respect human dignity. I’d say an honorable person would respect human dignity. And peeing on dead bodies, regardless of who they were when they were alive, is not, at all, respectful of human dignity.
The excuse I’ve heard most for those Marines is that we’re at war. Worse things have happened during war in the past (and still occasionally do) than a few dead bodies getting peed on. The opposing sides do everything in their power to debase and demean their enemies. It’s the nature of the beast.
Adam Baldwin says to protest the treatment of “barbarians” (he later started calling the Taliban “savages” because Roland Hulme explained that barbarian originally meant “anyone who is not Greek”) is to prove yourself an enemy of your country. M told Mr. Baldwin he objects to the Marines’ behavior because it goes against their code of honor and is disrespectful not only to the dead people whose bodies they desecrated, but also the country to which they pledged their service. So Adam Baldwin blocked M for “defending barbarians.”
When I pointed out that M wasn’t defending barbarians, but was, in fact, defending the honor code the Marines say they hold dear, he said he was blocking me for defending barbarians. He didn’t, though.
Oh, and by the way? Only people who are pro-choice would have a problem with what the Marines did. Yeah, I haven’t figured the connection out, either. That’s when Adam Baldwin told me he was blocking me for the second time. When I told him I was pro-choice. I think I’m misunderstanding how this whole blocking someone on Twitter thing works, cause I can still see his profile and tweets.
Thing is, Americans are supposed to be more civilized than that. Or, at least, that’s what we like to think about ourselves. Until it’s our boys out there peeing on dead bodies. Then some of us get all caught up in the, “Yeah! Piss on the Taliban!” aspect, and completely ignore the fact that we’d turn an entire country into a really big lake if they ever did the same thing to even one of our soldiers. Hell, if a lot of us had our way, our government would openly assassinate every adult member of Westboro Baptist Church, and all they’ve done is protest at soldiers’ funerals. If one of them peed on one of those soldiers, instead of just screaming propaganda and hatred, we’d probably take matters into our own hands.
Well, they probably do that and worse to our dead soldiers. It just hasn’t been publicized.
Doesn’t make it right.
We’re motherfucking Americans, god damn it. We always take the moral high road, building it as we go when we get into situations about which we’re unsure. But we can’t have our cake and eat it, too. Either we’re civilized and enlightened, or we’re not. Either we live by a “more righteous” moral code than our enemies, or we don’t. Either it’s okay to pee on dead bodies, or it’s not.
But besides that, a man in the military raised me to hold our men and women in service (and especially those who’ve earned the right to be considered “elite”) to a higher standard than I would the average Joe. He told me that anyone who joined the military could be trusted implicitly to look out for me and my countrymen. He told me military personnel worth their salt would never do anything to embarrass our people or our country. They are trained to be respectful of all people, including their enemies, and to maintain professionalism even in times of war. Maybe especially in times of war.
I wouldn’t exactly call peeing on dead bodies “maintaining professionalism.” Matter of fact, I’d venture to say peeing on dead bodies is decidedly unprofessional. And dishonorable. Not to mention inflammatory and embarrassing. I am humiliated by the actions of those Marines.
Don’t get me wrong. I have no respect for the Taliban. I don’t feel they deserve anyone’s respect. Their tactics (and many of their beliefs) are disgusting. I understand that they think we’re the terrorists, and I get that many of them are doing what they think is right. (That’s one of the biggest problems with fanatics. Their logic is fucked, and there’s no way you’re gonna change their mind.) But even if they’re right, that whole “Anyone not like me is evil!” mentality is something I’ve never been able to get behind.
Whether or not the Taliban deserves respect is not in question. There are very few Americans who think the Taliban deserves respect.
What is in question is the behavior of our Marines. Was their conduct unbecoming a U.S. Marine?
Personally, I feel it was. I don’t care that we’re at war. I don’t care that I can’t fathom what it’s like to be in the thick of it. I don’t care that the culture on a Marine base is different than anything I’ve encountered. And don’t give me that shit about gang mentality. Those Marines knew what they were doing, and they thought we’d be proud of them.
I was proud of them. Very proud. Right up until the moment they filmed themselves peeing on dead bodies and posted the footage online. And if that makes me a barbarian defender, then so be it. At least I can now say my convictions got me blocked by a celebrity on Twitter.
The craziest shit happens to me.