Not to condone indiscipline but believe we need put thing into perspective before we convict and condemn these soldiers. Exactly what did they do that thousands in previous wars have not done and did they do anything that violated the UCMJ?
There are 18 photographs taken by troops of the famous 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment (4th Brigade Combat Team), 82d Airborne Division in 2010 in Zabul province that show soldiers posing next to Afghan corpses, including the mangled body of a suicide bomber hoisted by his ankles and one of two soldiers hold up a dead man’s hand, extending his middle finger. Of course it was the ultra-Left leaning Los Angeles Times that published the pictures.
Of course SecDef Panetta and the Obama installed senior uniformed leadership have all been quick to throw these Soldiers under the bus as have a host of Democrat members of congress. Even Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI.), a former Army 82d paratrooper and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was quick to chime in. I might add, although he is a West Point Grad, Jack didn’t stick around in service long enough to ever hear a shot fired in anger!
Former Army Captain Andrew M. Exum, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now a Center for a New American Security analyst in Washington, said he doubted the photos would cause a big stir among Afghans. “Speaking bluntly, most Afghans are probably not going to be terribly offended by the body of a suicide bomber being treated in less than respectful ways,” and he noted Afghan public reaction to the Marine urination video was relatively muted.
Colonel George S. Patton III, son of the famous WWII general, was the very effective commander of the 11 Armored Cavalry Regiment in Vietnam and his 1968 Christmas cards from the war zone read: “From Colonel and Mrs. George S. Patton III -- Peace on Earth.” But instead of Christmas appropriate pictures it had photographs of dismembered Viet Cong soldiers stacked in a pile. Patton also posed grinning with his going away present from his men, a guerrilla’s skull with a bullet hole above the left eye. His punishment for all this was he was promoted to the rank of Major General before he retired.
Of course in 1968 Vietnam where US Killed numbered 2000 a month, not 1906 in 10½ years (May 68 alone we lost 2415 killed), we might have been a little more callus but War is Hell and unless you’ve “participated,” don’t be so fast to judge others.