A video has recently made the rounds of four Marines urinating on the corpses of what are supposed to be Taliban fighters. This isn't cool, it isn't pleasant, it isn't called for, but it is understandable. Yeah, I said it. The soldiers urinating on dead enemy soldiers is wrong, but completely understandable.

Dehumanizing the enemy is part of the mental process of teaching servicemen to kill (and live with it afterward). You have to think of you enemy as less than you, because you have to KILL them. You cannot think of them as somebody's fathers and brothers and sons, because that might make you hesitate and you in turn could be killed. Now, this can be taken too far in the heat of battle; we've seen it before and we're seeing it again.

I have not watched the video; I don't need to. Let's be honest though, soldiers are kids that thought they were going to grow up and be ball players and rock stars and instead took a noble route and decided to go to war for their country. Let's not be too quick to punish them. What they did was embarrassing to our country and not the way we want to be seen by the outside world, but this is WAR and ugly things happen. These very men probably had friends killed and were also taking out their frustrations. Let's let them know that this behavior will not be tolerated, but at the same time their punishment should be punitive at best.

War is not pretty and let's not pretend it should be.