in Philosophy, Politics

“Have a Great Day, Buddy”

That is what a U.S. Marine is heard saying, apparently to a dead body as he and fellow Marines urinated on it.

And as grotesque, horrific, disgusting, unconscionable, repugnant, or other strong negative emotion adjective of distaste that you might use to describe this most recent behavior of our few, and proud, there are some in our country thinking, and actually speaking:


But demonstrating my own personal outrage, and displaying the ignorance of my countrymen, is not the purpose of my post.

Instead, I’d like you to think about the practical impacts of this video of U.S. Marines urinating on their dead enemies.

It is often argued that the military actions of the United States around the world, are essential to keep Americans safe. Fear is a powerful motivator.

So, we spend literally tons of money to make sure that we’re safe. U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq totaled $9.7 billion a month, or roughly the entire annual budget of The Environmental Protection Agency.

We attack. We “take the battle to our enemies.” We “bomb the shit out of them.” Are we safer?

Have we solved the problem?

TL;DW (Too Long; Didn’t Watch)

And if you’re too busy to watch what Mr. Gladwell has to say in its entirety, at least read this:

Or take the battle in Afghanistan. What is the signature weapon of the CIA’s war in Northwest Pakistan? It’s the drone. What is the drone? Well it is the grandson of the Norden Mark 15 bombsight. It is this weapon of devastating accuracy and precision. And over the course of the last six years in Northwest Pakistan, the CIA has flown hundreds of drone missiles, and it’s used those drones to kill 2,000 suspected Pakistani and Taliban militants. Now what is the accuracy of those drones? Well it’s extraordinary. We think we’re now at 95 percent accuracy when it comes to drone strikes. 95 percent of the people we kill need to be killed, right? That is one of the most extraordinary records in the history of modern warfare.

But do you know what the crucial thing is? In that exact same period that we’ve been using these drones with devastating accuracy, the number of attacks, of suicide attacks and terrorist attacks, against American forces in Afghanistan has increased tenfold. As we have gotten more and more efficient in killing them, they have become angrier and angrier and more and more motivated to kill us. I have not described to you a success story. I’ve described to you the opposite of a success story.

And this is the problem with our infatuation with the things we make. We think the things we make can solve our problems, but our problems are much more complex than that. The issue isn’t the accuracy of the bombs you have, it’s how you use the bombs you have, and more importantly, whether you ought to use bombs at all.

“Have a great day, buddy”

It’s not that the behavior of these Marines is disgusting. It’s not that this behavior makes me wonder about the soul of the United States as a people.

It’s that the global display of this behavior definitely makes our enemies want to try harder to kill us, and very likely puts other Marines, and other U.S. service people, at greater risk.

And, it’s that very few of us seem to be thinking about the problem from this perspective. And those of us that are, are seemingly in the vast minority.