« | Home | »

Corps Values

Tags: |

It’s now official. Urinating on dead insurgents, the US Marine Corps informs the world, is ‘not consistent with its core values’. I think we need a list of non-core values as soon as possible. Pissing on the dead is considered loathsome in most cultures, but clearly can be a morale-booster for demoralised troops in an occupied country where the war is going badly for western civilisation. What better way to assert civilisational values against the barbarians and win local hearts and minds? And why stop here? The next stage surely is to excrete on them and use their beards as toilet paper. That would enhance the value of the videos and might even win the innovators the Santorum Prize for Moral Superiority.

Urinating on the dead is bad enough, but what of those who do it on the living? One of the earlier complaints in this regard came from Gitmo (happy 10th birthday dear) prisoners who alleged that their guards pissed on them from above and that some of the drops fell not just on them, but the Korans they were reading. At the time nobody thought fit to say that such acts ‘were not consistent with core values’. Limited progress has been made. Why the employees of imperial powers feel obliged to act in such a way requires psychiatric investigation. During the British occupation of India it was common practice for British police officers to order their men (who included Muslims, Sikhs and ‘low-caste’ Hindus) to unbutton themselves and let fly at non-violent Gandhian protesters occupying railway tracks to enforce a strike and non-co-operation call by the Congress Party. Nobody talked about core values at that time. Most Indians knew what they were.

Comments on “Corps Values”

  1. Bob Beck says:

    As for demoralised troops in an occupied country where a war is going badly, Michael Herr of “Dispatches” fame mentions a Marine who was photographed pissing into the open mouth of a dead Vietnamese.

  2. gdog says:

    I served as a medical corpsman in Vietnam. One day I was changing a dressing on a wounded Marine grunt. “Want to see my ears?” he asked. “I can already see them,” I replied. “No! not MY ears, my other ears,” he said. From inside his nightstand he pulled out a small bag full of ears he had cut off of corpses.
    There is an infamous photo on the cover of Life magazine published during WW II. A young attractive blond woman is holding and reading a letter from her boyfriend fighting in the South Pacific.In her other hand she is holding a lit cigarette. And on the table in front of her is a whitewashed skull taken from a dead Japanese soldier that her boyfriend had sent her through the mail. She was using it as an ashtray. The cover of Life magazine. The last good war. The greatest generation.
    All wars are demoralizing, dehumanizing and horrific for the soldiers that fight them. And it makes little difference whether the war is considered the last good war for my country as was the Second World War, or the Vietnam War, which was the worst foreign policy debacle in my nation’s history. At least until the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
    It’s just the nature of the beast. So, Mr. Ali, please spare me your precious moral condemnation.

  3. garside says:

    Like the soldiers with the dead Taliban, Mr. Ali has an easy target. Unlike them, he can hit it without having to move from his comfortable armchair in Kensington.

  4. Bob Beck says:

    Producing corpses, especially of non-combatants, is worse than desecrating them. Worse still is the “policy” behind this war, and the Iraq war — produced, indeed, by armchair warriors, many in comfortable think-tanks. These evils exist on various levels, but I have no hesitation in condemning them all, even from my chair.

  5. Keston says:

    Dear garside, would Tariq Ali’s post be more acceptable to you if he made it from an uncomfortable stool? Or how about atop a monocycle in a paddling pool full of vegetable oil while juggling cactuses? Should he have selected a target more difficult to hit? Are the most unmistakable targets for condemnation better left alone, so that the accusation of hitting them too easily can be avoided?

    It is a dangerous style of mockery that would disqualify criticism of war crimes on the grotesque grounds that it can be made without leaving home. Perhaps your riposte to Tariq Ali was issued from a shark cage?

    • garside says:

      Blimey. The fact is I don’t think anything by Tariq Ali is acceptable to me. Perhaps I should have said that. Or that I don’t like Oxford educated upper bourgeois radicals who pontificate about anything and everything and manage to make a living out of it, but have nothing constructive to offer on any subject. I don’t either, but I am not given a platform. And another thing. Just as the Americans adopt the ‘he may be a dictator but he is our dictator’ approach to world affairs, so do people like Tariq Ali. So criticism of war crimes is not disqualified, but our agreement with the criticism might be qualified, so to speak, when one is aware that the critic is not prepared to criticise similar atrocities when they are committed by people he just happens to approve of.

Comment on this post

Log in or register to post a comment.

  • Recent Posts

    RSS – posts

  • Contributors

  • Recent Comments

    • andymartinink on Reacher v. Parker: Slayground definitely next on my agenda. But to be fair to Lee Child, as per the Forbes analysis, there is clearly a massive collective reader-writer ...
    • Robert Hanks on Reacher v. Parker: And in Breakout, Parker, in prison, teams up with a black guy to escape; another white con dislikes it but accepts the necessity; Parker is absolutely...
    • Robert Hanks on Reacher v. Parker: Parker may not have the integrity and honesty of Marlowe, but I'd argue that Richard Stark writes with far more of both than Raymond Chandler does: Ch...
    • Christopher Tayler on Reacher v. Parker: Good to see someone holding up standards. The explanation is that I had thoughts - or words - left over from writing about Lee Child. (For Chandler se...
    • Geoff Roberts on Reacher v. Parker: ..."praised in the London Review of Books" Just read the article on Lee Child in a certain literary review and was surprised to find this rave notice...

    RSS – comments

  • Contact

  • Blog Archive

  • From the LRB Archive

    Chris Lehmann: The Candidates
    18 June 2015

    ‘Every one of the Republican candidates can be described as a full-blown adult failure. These are people who, in most cases, have been granted virtually every imaginable advantage on the road to success, and managed nevertheless to foul things up along the way.’

    Hugh Pennington:
    The Problem with Biodiversity
    10 May 2007

    ‘As a medical microbiologist, for example, I have spent my career fighting biodiversity: my ultimate aim has been to cause the extinction of harmful microbes, an objective shared by veterinary and plant pathologists. But despite more than a hundred years of concentrated effort, supported by solid science, smallpox has been the only success.’

    Jeremy Harding: At the Mexican Border
    20 October 2011

    ‘The battle against illegal migration is a domestic version of America’s interventions overseas, with many of the same trappings: big manpower commitments, militarisation, pursuit, detection, rendition, loss of life. The Mexican border was already the focus of attention before 9/11; it is now a fixation that shows no signs of abating.’

    James Meek: When the Floods Came
    31 July 2008

    ‘Last July, a few days after the floods arrived, with 350,000 people still cut off from the first necessity of life, Severn Trent held its annual general meeting. It announced profits of £325 million, and confirmed a dividend for shareholders of £143 million. Not long afterwards the company, with the consent of the water regulator Ofwat, announced that it wouldn’t be compensating customers: all would be charged as if they had had running water, even when they hadn’t.’

Advertisement Advertisement