As Washington attempts to limit the damage done by the now-infamous YouTube video which apparently depicts US marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters, critics say such actions are the inevitable outcome of an unjustified war.
As US defense secretary Leon Panetta condemned the footage “in the strongest possible terms,” Afghan President Hamid Karzai released a statement on Thursday calling the alleged desecration of the dead bodies “completely inhumane.”
With Karzai imploring the US military to punish those responsible, Panetta promised “those found to have engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent.”
The Pentagon further stated it was still in the process of identifying the four soldiers who mockingly urinated on the slain fighters while a fifth one stood back and filmed the incident.
But while the Pentagon attempts to fight off claims that there are systemic problems in the American military, David Swanson, author and campaigner at rootsaction.org, told RT the latest scandal is not an isolated incident.
“This is not a group of four or five sociopaths who somehow made it through screening and got into deployment in the service of the United States. This is the result of the inevitable training that is necessary to get men and women to take part in a war that is not defensive, that has no reasonable moral or legal justification.”
In fact, Swanson argues that scandals like this can actually lead people to overlook greater injustices being committed.
“My outrage in particular is in the fact that these soldiers have apparently murdered these people and the scandal is that they are urinating on them. The hatred that is necessary to get people to do such a thing is necessary to motivate soldiers to fight in a war that has no other credible rationale. The war itself is an atrocity, and so we pick out these particular atrocities and we get outraged. But we don’t look at the underlying fact, and we end up with this incredibly bizarre phenomenon of being upset that someone is peeing on a body that he has killed.”
But John Glaser, assistant editor at antiwar.com, told RT it would be misguided to think that “every single US soldier is the type to urinate on the faces of dead Afghans.”
However, he does believe that efforts to minimize the fallout from this scandal will be thwarted by deeper problems stemming from the decade-long US occupation of the country.
“The problem with damage limitation is that this is not a limited incident. The abuses borne on a daily basis by Afghans, including the embarrassment of being militarily dominated for more than a decade, exceed the imagination of most ordinary Americans,” Glaser said.
Glaser also believes that, despite promises from the US government, there is virtually no chance that a proper investigation into the incident will be carried out.
“If recent history is any guide, that is almost an impossibility. Take for example, a couple of months ago, American troops forced Afghan civilians to march ahead of them on roads that they believed to be filled with bombs and landmines planted by insurgents. That is a war crime, and it was basically ignored. Military officials said ‘yes, it will be investigated, don’t you worry,’ but now everyone’s forgotten about it.”