“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.”
Rep. West also noted that he saw no similar liberal outrage over the crimes and atrocities committed against our men and women by the Taliban and insurgents in Iraq.
Two comments. First, I think we hold Marines to a higher standard than the Taliban. What they did was wrong, and Rep. West is right: they should be punished.
But comparing this to what the Taliban has done is pointless. We’re not savages. They are. And we shouldn’t even consider comparing our behavior to theirs. I understand Rep. West’s anger, but we all know by now that media “outrage” is highly selective, and we might as well not play that game.
I also disagree with “shutting our mouths” about it. We already carve out far too many exceptions where we hold the military beyond criticism. This is a democracy, and the Marines wear our flag and act in our name. It’s okay to be critical of this — even if that criticism does come from sanctimonious jerks who hate the military no matter what it does.
It is no favor to the Marines to simply say “War is hell” and be done with it. Let’s continue to hold our men and women in uniform to the highest standards, call them out and punish them when they screw up, and move on.