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Reading the article on four Marines urinating on dead Taliban insurgents rated only a shrug and a snort; a shrug at the Marines and a snort at the indignant response of the public.

How quickly people prepared to call out the lynching squad on those Marines for daring to disrespect the bodies of terrorists! The entire situation brings home how removed the American public and political leadership are from the harsh realities of war. If urinating on a few bodies is the foulest barbarism that stems from the Afghan War, we should count ourselves lucky. But more important, where is the empathy for the Marines? Nowhere in the multitude of outpourings did anyone ask the question: What did those Marines see or experience that brought them to the point of contemplating the actions they took?

So what if they considered urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban? Consider that they weren’t urinating on those particular individuals so much as urinating on what those men represented: unrelenting violence, hatred and contempt of everything we, as Americans in particular and Westerners in general, stand for (freedom, life, liberty). I understand that show of contempt. Where was the empathy for the Marines’ situation?

Has no one considered that their laughter — however inappropriate some feel those jokes were — was a much-needed medicine to help choke down the bitter brew of fear, horror, adrenaline and relief that surviving the gunbattle that preceded the urination situation stirred up? Where was the empathy for the nightmares that probably plague those Marines following the kill-or-be-killed situation they survived? Did no one question what kind of losses those men have faced?

At the end of the day, death did not make those terrorists good people. Death did not erase the atrocities those terrorists helped perpetrate — not just on U.S. servicemembers, but on International Security Assistance Force personnel and their own countrymen. So instead of heaping on the righteous indignation, we should all breathe a sigh of relief that there are four fewer terrorists in the world operating and thank those Marines for their service.

Sgt. Beatrice Cannon

Charlottesville, Va.

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