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Marines urinating on the dead? This is war.

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"Deplorable," says Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

"The culprits and those who trained them in such a way that these simpletons thought this was acceptable should be punished to set an example," says Pat Lang, a former special forces officer who fought in Vietnam.

"These Marines have embarrassed themselves and have disgraced their country and the US Marine Corps," writes Andrew Exum, who fought as a junior officer in both Afghanistan and Iraq

The video that emerged online this week was filmed by the participants, yucking it up as they urinate on the dead bodies of presumed insurgents – whose bare feet and tattered clothes are a sharp contrast to the well-equipped Americans. Next to them lies a small, overturned wheelbarrow.

While callous and shocking to the vast majority of Americans who have never been anywhere near combat, I felt no surprise watching the video. Only sadness. It's a point well made by Mr. Exum in his post on the matter (which includes some links to WWII propaganda posters showing how much worse the dehumanizing of the enemy was back in the day).


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