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18 April 2012


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Col, I watched a discussion on CSPAN this week. Cordsman, some woman from the Hoover Institute, and the former Amb to Afghanistan, Ronald Neumann. And the discussion went back and forth, with Cordsman the voice of gloom (rightly, I thought), the Hoover woman the voice of 'yes, we CAN do this' and Neumann in between, leaning to gloom. I kept saying to myself (imagining I was on the stage, in the discussion) 'get out. Time to go'. Say nothing else. Repeat, get out. Time to go.

There was a woman in the audience who stood up to say, basically, paraphrasing her, 'we are building schools for afghan children with learning disabilities' we HAVE to stay there.'

I have very little hope. The GOP wants to spend money there. The Dems want to spend money there. And few of their Constituents are there, serving. Or will be. So the battles can go on forever.


There are several reports circulating that photos of similar incidents have been sent to vartious media and persons by a quite a few service people. They were taken by the ubiquitous cellphone or whatever. One recipient told me that he would not make them public because the result surely would be that some pfc would go to jail while those in command who bear ultimate responsibility would evade any chastisement whatsoever. He referred to that Abu Ghrab kid with the baby from Appalachia (English?)who was hung out to dry by her "superiors."


How does one even get in the audience of one of these shows? 'we are building schools for afghan children with learning disabilities' we HAVE to stay there.'

I'd be asking why the heck are we building schools on the other side of the planet for foreigners when we are cutting teacher pay and benefits right here in the US. Who's the US government for, if not Americans?

Medicine Man

Brenner: You mean Lynndie England, I think.


I think it was the late '80's when Muslim Brotherhood managed to compel the Egyptian Museum to close off the Mummy Room, insisting that it disrespected the dead of any religion to be put on display and gawked at by tourists.

Another example of quaint, non-secularism, quickly discarded when lost revenue outran relgious indignation. Similar things abound in our stupidities in Muslim countries. Four years out here have convinced me of the following. The non-secular person can deal with the secularists because he has to, has to accomodate himself to the endless demands of whatever new 'freedom' the Emperor and his acolytes gin up. But the secularist is as rigid as a corpse - he simply cannot comprehend the notion of religious sensibility and its manifestation as social practice.

That's why Americans, who routinely praise servicemen, were not put out by learning that the remains of dead soldiers were thrown into landfills. Why should they be? It hardly matters what the military authorities do to punish this latest group of dead porn soldiers - they're merely the product of a society that believes in nothing anyway.


How does one even get in the audience of one of these shows? 'we are building schools for afghan children with learning disabilities' we HAVE to stay there.'

they are planted there? it smacks of political operative parody.


The photos are horrifying, but I am struck by the fact that similar pictures were taken by the Marines during WWII (Japanese skulls adorning the hoods of jeeps at Guadalcanal, etc.) which apparently didn't rouse the moral outrage of the American public. I guess the hatred of the Japanese then was so intense that it was "OK."

I certainly agree with you, Col. Lang, that it's "time to go." The killing of bin Laden achieved the one interest we had in this cesspool.


In the Second World War it was considered necessary, in order to motivate the conscript armies, to encourage as great hate towards the enemy as possible. At the same time, the Western allies wanted to preserve the feeling of moral superiority, and, of course, were in fact incomparably more benevolent towards the defeated enemy than the Japanase. I think allowing head-taking etc was considered an acceptable compromise between those goals.

Head-taking is quite different from the generic corpse desecration. I do not say it is acceptable in the Western army, but it is certainly a traditional after-battle activity.

In Europe it disappeared quite early - I think the Celts were the last to formally take heads and hang them in their temples. Apparently, it was intended to gather the spiritual power of the defeated enemies.

Informally, of course, it continued to happen, particularly in the colonial warfare.

Japanese in particular know it quite well, because traditionally the victorious commander reviewed the taken heads after the battle.

I think the last such formal review happened in 1877, after Saigo Takamori's rebellion.



"I think allowing head-taking etc was considered an acceptable compromise between those goals."

What's your evidence that "head taking" was allowed? pl


I suspect that desecration of enemy bodies is a fact of war that will never be eliminated; when combatants hate the enemy enough, it's going to happen no matter how "civilized" the nation is that fields an army.

When one considers that the Japanese beheaded captured Allied POWs, and other Japanese atrocities, it doesn't surprise me that we reciprocated with trophy heads and body parts. This Wikipedia article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_mutilation_of_Japanese_war_dead, seems to have a pretty good discussion of the subject.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.



“Stern disciplinary action” against human remains souvenir taking was ordered by the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet as early as September 1942.[5] In October 1943 General George C. Marshall radioed General Douglas MacArthur about “his concern over current reports of atrocities committed by American soldiers”.[36] In January 1944 the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a directive against the taking of Japanese body parts.[36" Same wiki as you quote. "Head-Taking" was a court-martial offense. pl



Nobody is claiming that these airborne soldiers mutilated these Taliban dead. pl

Charles I

Yeah Ican recall her name, but not the CO at the time. . .

Medicine Man

Brigadier General Janis Karpinski was in charge of Iraq detention facilities at the time, according to wikipedia.

Brenner's point stands, I think, as Garnier and England (two pfcs) got jail time while Karpinski got a reprimand and demotion. The punishment seems to peter out as it flows uphill.



Yes. She was a reserve woman officer promoted for no good reason except her gender and under a ridiculous Army program designed to make reserve generals of prominent civilians who might be useful to regular Army generals once they retire. She was reduced to colonel and forced into retirement from the reserves. I think she should have gotten five years or maybe ten. What about twenty? pl

Medicine Man

Well, England got 10 so I guess that would be a good place to start for Karpinski.



Yes, but she was a general (sort of) so I think she should get at least 15. pl


Sadly she got a book deal.

Medicine Man

Some days I think that a meteor can't hit the planet soon enough.

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