Four young men laughing at each other’s jokes – could be a scene from any Saturday night, especially if they all had too much to drink.
Problem is this was no joke, the four marines were urinating on the bodies of three men, they called ‘Taliban’.
Predictably, yesterday’s video posting drew outrage with concerns about how the US could be seen in the Islamic World.
You can draw your own conclusions about that, however you may want to consider whether the actions of those four men is all that surprising.
The word ‘Taliban’ is used by soldiers in Afghanistan – and by many people over here – in the same way as you would talk of a pest that needs to be eradicated, in the same way also as the Lord’s name being taken in vain.
Hezbollah has also been used, as has Hamas, and as talk of war with Iran gets closer so will references to the stranglehold of that country’s clerical elite – the ‘mad mullahs’.
Go back further, and ‘Gaddafi’, ‘Saddam’ all received the same treatment – never mind the fact that many died fighting, if not for them, but for the nation that they led.
Both men were treated appalingly when they met their end.
And go back even further to the Vietnam and Korean Wars, and the carnage unleashed by aerial bombing was fine in the minds of the pilots because they were fighting the Vietcong, Communists, Gooks.
Go back further to Dresden, Hamburg, the wooden homes of Tokyo, the killing fields of the First World War.
Then, war was being waged against the Nazis, the Japs, and before them the German Guerilla.
As waging war becomes easier – modern drone strikes do not even need the conscience of a pilot – it is important to remember that the results are still as bloody and devastating to those we regard as the enemy.