Patriotism and Peeing: Buzz Asks When it Became Unpatriotic to Have Fixed Moral Standard
This post is about something I said two weeks ago, posted about and answered criticism of. It has to do with the video that I'm sure you've either seen or at least had described to you.
It's been so widely talked about, in fact, that I don't really see the point in posting a picture of it or putting a link to the video. Instead, here is one of those "Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes Peeing on Things" that should serve as a refresher...
I would like to be crystal clear about what I said.
"If the video is genuine, I think it's indefensible and it really doesn't reflect what the U.S. is all about. "
That's it. I made a statement that I thought almost everyone in the United States would agree with. I went on to take calls during which I elaborated...
" ... not in keeping with ideals we hold as a civilized people ... this is the kind of thing our enemies like to use as recruiting tools ... we expect different behavior from our soldiers."
Nothing that I thought anyone would have a problem with.
How wrong I was.
You would have thought I personally corn-holed a bald eagle with a Muhammed-shaped dildo while reading aloud from the Koran. Allow me to share with you some of the discourse that went on. Then, I would like to ask the question: Have we come to a point in this country when any criticism of any service-person, even of something that is clearly wrong, is seen as an act of Anti-Americanism?
I can see why they would do it, and I don't blame them...if given the chance I would've done it too!
The only way you don't understand why soldiers, fraternity brothers, and secret societies piss on others/each other...is that you aren't or never have been a part of any of them.
Wait, what? Soldiers and Frat Brothers piss on each other? They never mentioned that at the Lambda Rush back in '88. Are you sure about this?
So the fact that the enemy tortures and dismembers US soldiers doesn't mean anything. You don't see the media up in arms about that.
What?? No ... I never said that the enemies' behavior is good or better. I said that it's wrong to urinate on corpses. What the other side does or doesn't do has no bearing.
Piss ain't shit compared to what the taliban do to our dead soldiers bodies!
Well, if given the choice between being peed on or being beheaded, I'd take the golden shower, I guess. But the issue isn't what the other side does. It's about what we as a culture are willing to either condemn or condone.
Look at it this way. If I made the statement, "It is morally wrong to bayonet babies ... period ... I don't think too many Americans would argue that point. Actually, I really, really hope not many Americans would argue that point. It wouldn't matter if the other side did it (and, believe me, in the history of warfare it has been done.)
At this point, someone will invariably say, "Oh, so now Adams is calling our soldiers BABY KILLERS!" No, no, no! I'm not saying that at all. What I'm trying to do is make a case for non-relative Ethics. That there are certain standards that civilized members of a civilized society don't budge on. I'm not saying that all unethical behavior is equal, either. In other words, and I want to be 100% clear on this one ... THE TALIBAN IS WORSE!
But, we're not talking about the culture that spawned the Taliban. We've already agreed that it is a less civilized and more brutish culture. Why would would want to use them as our standard?
Here is the thing. Adams has never served. It's not his fault he doesn't have that sense of duty. It's easy to sit behind a micro phone and spew non sense.
Buzz you are untitled to your opinion, thats beauty of this country, but to judge the military ...if you haven't walked the walk, than you can't talk the talk, being there is a nightmare, its not sitting in some comfy chair, giving Your opinions,before you past judgement on my brother Marines, see what we've seen, do what we do, its easy to talk shit, but a mother to back it up, so please Buzz back kt up, or are you to much of a coward?
This is an argument that I've heard a lot but I've never found it especially compelling: "If you never served you have no right to an opinion." (Although, this almost always goes a certain way: "Hey, you're entitled to your opinion" and then the rest of the message is about how I shouldn't really be entitled to an opinion at all. I've never figured that one out)
There are certain questions, actually, that I couldn't agree more. I am totally unqualified to answer the question "What kind of stress do you experience in war?" "What is it like to see a friend killed right next to you?" "How does it affect you to take another persons life?"
I would have no idea what any of that feels like. Actually, even if I'd served in the military, I probably wouldn't. I would've gone in in '86 or '87. If I'd served the standard four-year hitch, our country would not have been in real combat during those years. So, unless you're talking about cranking AC/DC on a ghetto-blaster outside of Manuel Noriega's compound, then I probably wouldn't have had any combat experience anyway.
I'm not qualified to speak about those kind of experiences. But what I am able to talk about and, I think, every person of conscience should talk about, are questions of ethics. What kind of people are we? What kind of behavior do we condone and what do we draw the line at?
What happens to us when we're no longer capable or willing to say something is wrong when we believe it is? I don't think you have to have a military record or a college degree or an elected position to ask, and answer, those questions.
So, to the question: Have we come to a point in this country when any criticism of any service-person, even of something that is clearly wrong, is seen as an act of Anti-Americanism?
I can tell you firsthand that in many peoples mind the answer is "yes." I have been called a coward. Anti-American. Someone who looks down on American soldiers.
I should tell you, though, that I only included examples of people defending the peeing-on-Taliban video. I didn't included the equal number of messages from service people, retired and active, who agreed with what I said.
I don't think our soldiers are evil. I don't even think those specific Marines in the video are evil. I think soldiers are people. Some (most) are ethical and consistent in their ethics. Some are not. Some make mistakes. Some, a small minority to be sure, probably are unethical. Because they're people. Believe it or not, even those Taliban guys are people. Misguided, mis-informed and probably illiterate people, but people nonetheless.
But, what we can't afford to do is to become so afraid of being labeled "dis-loyal" or "unpatriotic" that we loose the moral backbone to call a wrong a wrong when we see it. What are we fighting for if not the values and sense of justice that we have in common as Americans? So ... yeah, I still think it's wrong to pee on dead people. According to our poll results, most of you agree with me. If you missed out on our poll, take it below.