The faux outrage over members of the 82nd Airborne posing with a variety of muj corpses in Afghanistan is complete nonsense.

So young men who are trained to kill and encouraged to dehumanize the enemy let off some steam by taking some stupid happy snaps. There is only one lesson to be learned from this–TROOPS, LEAVE THE GODDAMN CAMERAS IN YOUR RUCKS.

Can you imagine the shit we would have seen if the soldiers in the Civil War had had I-Phones and digital mini-cameras? Ditto WW I and WW II. Let’s not forget the Korean War and Vietnam as well. Here is a news flash for any of you who are horrified by the Los Angeles Times story on these macabre candid snaps.

War is horrible and dehumanizing and troops in the field, who are under constant stress, sometimes find ways to let off steam that “normal” people may find offensive. Well, if you don’t like it, too fucking bad. It is called reality. I don’t advocate desecrating the bodies of the enemy. But it happens. Pat Lang at Sic Semper Tyrannis correctly observes that this is another indicator that we have had our troops on the ground in Afghanistan too long engaged in a fools mission.

Barack Obama and his team of politically correct assholes, of course, are trying to make some political hay out of this. They are threatening to go after these soldiers and “punish” them. I willing to bet some of the troops in these photos subsequently have died in combat or were wounded. I am thoroughly fed up with the media moralizing on these kinds of issues while turning a blind eye to the immorality of political and military leaders. People who sit in the safe confines of a cloistered office dare to pass judgment on soldiers operating in the midst of hell. To all of you arm-chair ass-sniffers–Go fuck yourselves.

According to the LA Times:

Virtually all of the men depicted in the photos had friends who were killed or wounded by homemade bombs or suicide attacks, according to the soldier who provided the images. One paratrooper on the mission wore a bracelet bearing the name of a fallen comrade.

On the first mission, to the police station in the provincial capital of Qalat, Afghan police told the platoon that the severed legs belonged to a suicide bomber whose explosives detonated as he tried to attack a police unit, according to the soldier who provided the photos.

On the second mission, to the morgue in Qalat in late April or early May 2010, Afghan police told the platoon that explosives had detonated as three insurgents were preparing a roadside bomb.

The platoon was able to obtain some fingerprints from the corpses for a database maintained by U.S. forces, the soldier said.

The soldiers felt a sense of triumph and satisfaction, especially after learning that the insurgents had been killed by their own explosives, he said.

“They were frustrated, just pissed off — their buddies had been blown up by IEDs” — improvised explosive devices — the soldier said. “So they sort of just celebrated.”

If anything this reflects badly on the chain of command. Leadership starts at the top. Who is the Commander in Chief? Barack Obama. Let’s start there if blame is going to be assigned in this matter. Teeing off on a bunch of privates and corporals two years after the fact without punishing their commanders is just plain stupid.

I’m not a fan of Ralph Peters (and I’m sure he reciprocates the sentiment), but he gets this one right:

By the way, Panetta should shut his yap and pay back U.S. taxpayers for all of the weekly boondoggle flights he took to California while serving as the Director of the CIA. He flew almost every week back to California on your dime. And he wants to moralize about the poor judgment of some your soldiers? Fuck you too Leon.

The troops who appeared in these fotos (and those who took them) need to be counseled and disciplined within their units. I don’t blame the troops if the leaders failed to set the proper boundaries. But what I am seeing today is the media eager to play lynch mob and judge these young men in the court of self-righteous public opinion without understanding the context.

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Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.