The Los Angeles Times made the controversial decision to release to the public highly disturbing photographs of American soldiers posing with body parts from deceased Afghans on Wednesday. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta tried hard to convince them to not go through with it, but in the end, the L.A. Times decided to go to press. Now, the White House and Pentagon are condemning the incident every way you can. They condemn the actions of the soldiers and the decision to release the pictures.
The photographs are disturbing. The soldiers are in various poses with body parts and appear to be having a great time while doing it. We decided to include one photo here so you can get the gist of what happened, but if you want to see more, they are easily found using search engines like Google. The images come at a time when the United States military has already been questioned on its integrity. A video was released in January of a sniper relieving himself on dead bodies. Then, there was the shooting of 17 civilians by Robert Bales, the soldier that went off the deep end. That event also featured the burning of the Quran which didn’t do the military any favors.
We as civilians have a difficult time rationalizing this out in our minds. At first glance, it seems absolutely macabre and utterly worth of condemnation. Even though we are engaged in a conflict with these people, it can seem very inhumane to celebrate their deaths so much. However, the dead in these photographs were suicide bombers. Now, we are not trying to say that we think what the soldiers did was okay, but we think it is noteworthy to take a moment to think about what a suicide bomber is. These are not your classic soldiers out in the field fighting it out. These are people posing as civilians that have strapped explosives to themselves to try to use their seemingly harmless appearance to get close enough to military personnel to commit suicide and hopefully take a few of the enemy with them. This is exactly what makes the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq so tough. The enemy is not always apparent. Soldiers have to watch everyone all the time, even children. The act of suicide bombing is perceived by many in the military as being the lowest, most cowardly act of all.
Does that give the American soldiers the right to do what they did? Absolutely not. It was a poor decision on their parts to allow these pictures to be taken, and it’s hard to imagine why they would really want to commemorate the occasion anyway. Is this really something you want to look back on in twenty years and smile? However, many of these soldiers have seen their friends and fellow personnel fall victim to suicide bombers. The thing that makes suicide bombers so frustrating to the military is that there is no recourse. You can’t hunt them down, punish them, or kill them. They are already dead after they have perpetrated the crime. So, soldiers have a psychological hole…they can’t get closure. They can’t get revenge. The deed is done and all that is left is mangled body parts of both their allies and their enemies. So, while it certainly was a bad thing to do, looking a little further into the psychology of what is happening here, you might find that you too would have taken glory in these Afghans’ deaths.
The more pressing issue here is whether the photographs should have been published. The photos certainly should have been communicated to the military for appropriate action to be taken, but releasing the photos to the public can have far-reaching effects that apparently the L.A. Times did not think were bad enough to not go through with publication. After all, not only does this reach Americans, but it reaches our enemies as well. You can bet that people all over the world that oppose America were just given some major “locker room material.” It’s another thing for those that hate us to point at and fire more people up to do the unthinkable, like strap a bomb to their chest and try to be cordial as they approach our troops and try to blow them up.
We at Common Sense Conspiracy are all for justice, and all for journalistic integrity as well. But sometimes the risk isn’t worth the reward. If just one American soldier dies because of the release of these photographs, then it is the Los Angeles Times that has become the suicide bomber.