The Ugly American | U.S. Marines' Shocking Behavior


Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 00:22 AM EDT, 13 January 2012

In the absence of Al-Qaeda the Taliban has become the new face of extremist Islam. Members of the Taliban condone the stoning death of women who have been raped, who are not covered in accordance with their dictates of modesty, or who dare speak against the abuse incurred at the hands of their husbands or other males.

However, it is important to remember that members of the Taliban are not representative of most Muslims, but have hijacked Islam through a very narrow interpretation of the Qur'an which they promulgate through the indoctrination of illiterate and impoverished proselytes. This type of extremism and indoctrination occurs in both Christianity and Judaism. During the Spanish Inquisition the zealotry of a few (priests who were not members of religious orders), under the auspices of the Spanish Monarchy tortured and killed between 3,000 to 5,000 people.

Recently, thousands of people in Israel rallied against the abuse suffered by Naama Margolese , a shy, retiring, bespectacled second-grader who was verbally abused by ultra-Orthodox extremist while walking to her religious Jewish girls school. She was often spat on and called a whore for dressing "immodestly." That said, man's inhumanity to man seems to know no bounds and like George Eliot said “cruelty, like every other vice, requires no motive outside of itself; it only requires opportunity.”

Such is the case with the U.S. Marines who were secretly caught on tape apparently urinating on the dead bodies of some Taliban. This utter disregard and irreverent treatment of the bodies of a vanquished enemy is unconscionable. It is even more appalling when one considers that in both Islam and Judaism, it is imperative that the bodies of the deceased be cleansed, dressed in a shroud and buried shortly after death.

In both faiths, reverence in caring for the bodies of the deceased is an important aspect of this rite of passage. The bodies of the departed are treated with such respect that in addition to being washed, anointed, they are neither embalmed nor cremated. The apparent degradation of the bodies by the Marines urinating on them is an affront to many people regardless of their religious persuasion.

The NATO-led security force in Afghanistan released a statement Thursday saying, “This disrespectful act is inexplicable and not in keeping with the high moral standards we expect of coalition forces.”

These Marines, like the soldiers who participated in the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, are not representative of most Americans. Most Americans do not condone such actions nor would they participate in this type of abuse. However, guilt by association and country of origin adds fuel to the fire of hatred for America. The behavior of these few men does nothing to abate this sentiment and in fact affirms the disparaging moniker 'The Ugly American.”