Overheard on CNN.com: Marine urination video draws thousands of story comments
A video purporting to show U.S. Marines urinating on dead bodies has sparked a huge conversation on CNN.com.
January 12th, 2012
03:43 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Marine urination video draws thousands of story comments

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community. Due to the provocative nature of this story, comments on this post will be disabled at the end of the day.

The story of a video purporting to show U.S. Marines urinating on dead bodies has generated thousands of fiery comments. Our readers were split between those who were outraged by this action on the deceased, and those who felt we should not be too quick to condemn the soldiers. One one hand, the commenters suggested we could be arming oppositional groups with fodder for anti-U.S. rhetoric. But there were many who said the video is a coarse reflection of the brutality of war and didn't want people to feel negatively about the military.

Shock, outrage over Marine urination video

We've seen a pretty even split of comments, with outrage and frustration expressed on all sides. Here's some of them. For example, this reader says this video, if real, shows an isolated event.

Dhamre: "A handful of young Marines did something really stupid and decided to film it. This isn't the defining moment of our history, or a reflection of all men and women in uniform."

Below is a sampling of some of the discussion we saw about whether the stresses of war help explain the Marines' actions.

Wilburchitow: "To all those who want to try and morally equivocate please stop. Yes we know the enemy has done far worse, but it is no excuse to partake in these types of actions. Our military is better than this and I know when found they will face justice!"

Allfight: "Maybe. But I hope they go very easy on them because they are doing a job that few can do let alone will do. They probably lost friends along the way. Like it or not. It's natural to hate someone that is trying to kill you. Anyone who says otherwise probably was never in that situation."

The following reader said she had lost a loved one in war, and felt the urination incident was an insult to the sacrifices the military makes.

boobush: "Sad that many of you missed a basic grade-school lesson of two wrongs not making a right. I am not a naive bleeding heart here; someone I loved very much was shot dead by a sniper in Iraq almost 7 years ago. My life is forever changed. However, someone urinating on a dead body will never bring him back. This is just another propaganda tool for the Taliban, and we just gave it to them. I would hope we would strive to be better than our enemy."

Matt6571: "Good Call. I've been around the military my whole life as well. Growing up and serving the last 22 years myself. I have lost friends in this war and have been there three times. You have my respect and appreciation."

boobush: "Thank you. I understand people have hard feelings here, but I feel so strongly about this. It is much harder to not act this way. I come from a military family, and have the utmost respect for all who serve. This is not a way to honor those who have served; especially not those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Of course, we are all entitled to our opinion."

But this commenter dared his fellow writers to endure the realities of war.

Midnitejax: "To all of you that are 'outraged' or consider this barbaric I say this: Put your boots on and climb into the sand box. When you have been in combat for a few weeks, and you smell of urine, sweat, and the blood from you or a fellow soldier then talk about the humanity of war. When you see children and corpses used as road blocks for IEDs, then talk about the humanity of war. When the stench of death permeates the air around you day in and day out, then talk about the humanity of war. Urinating on a deceased enemy that a few minutes earlier was trying to kill you is somehow minute in the scheme of things. Lopping off heads and slitting throats is somehow not barbaric?"

Several readers cited videos that had been released in the past, which showed people including journalist Daniel Pearl being beheaded as cameras rolled. They said this incident is minor in comparison. Others said that doesn't matter because the U.S. military must adhere to a higher standard than the Taliban and al Qaeda.

CrakHedMac: "I remember the string of beheading videos from a couple years ago and I suddenly don't find this urination that bad."

F0st3rs: "U.S. troops are held to a higher standard, even if it hampers their ability to win. Urinating on the corpses of the enemy does not meet that standard or create and advantage to win. It is plain stupid to do it, and even more stupid to video the deed."

This reader said the enemy is ruthless.

shaydenfroyd: "While taking a break from beheading infidels, stoning women and children to death, and blowing-up mosques and burning school houses, a spokesman for Taliban/Pakistani ISI voiced disgust at this 'inhuman' behavior."

But there were several readers who theorized that this video could provide ammunition for the enemy.

PotandKettle: "Just because they choose to behead captives doesn't mean we sink to their level by pissing on their dead. They just made the jobs of those still deployed that much more dangerous by giving hostiles this piece of propaganda to easily recruit more to their cause. How to you convince somebody whose country your occupying, that you have their best intentions in mind when there is a video circulating around of somebody wearing your same uniform pissing on their fellow man's corpse? Forget American law, forget the UCMJ, if this is found to be legit, these individuals need to be handed over to Afghanistan authorities. Complete disgrace to those serving and those who have served."

Some of the responses came from people claiming to be military veterans. These readers had very diverse and divergent views about the video, with some saying it's understandable in the harsh environment of war and others feeling the footage is a disgrace to people in uniform.

Guest: "I am a veteran, come from a long line of military, have family members actively serving, some in the Middle East. I was expecting some comments in support of this vile behavior, but I am shocked at the number of people defending these soldiers. 'But what about the beheadings?' they say? Well I'll tell you about them, they are on the same spectrum of indecency, immorality and disrespect as this disgusting behavior. Blind nationalists spout, 'We support our troops no matter what!' Like that is to be admired and Americans can do no wrong. Ignorance and stupidity is what that is. Same as with the pics out of Abu Ghraib a few years ago. When we bring ourselves to the same level as our 'enemy' we are no better than they are. And guess what, we are not better than they are. I do not want my country's troops performing acts like these in my name. Bottom line, at the risk of being cliche, 'two wrongs still don't make a right' and only morons and those with a low moral compass believe that they do. These soldiers should be punished, it is absolutely shameful and doesn't reflect decent human codes of behavior during peace or war time."

pdough: "Guest - I doubt you are a veteran. But even if you are, it doesn't make you right in your opinion, which you are certainly not. I'm also a veteran and I can tell you that what you witnessed on the video were a group of young warriors who were simply exemplifying comradarie and a complete disdain for a cowardly enemy after disposing of them as a mortal threat on the battlefield. It's not blind nationalism but true patriotism from which those posting here in support of the marines are speaking. The military isn't perfect and those in uniform are never beyond reproach. But there comes a time when you have to pick a side, recognize who your team is and hold all criticism until the last bullet is fired. Not to do this only provides moral support and solace to our enemy which is reprehensible and shameful on your part."

nonnobis: "A soldier's job is to obey all lawful orders and maintain the ability to kill and destroy the enemy without remorse or a second thought to the merits of their cause. A soldier must be a fanatical fighting machine both physically and mentally and that means treating the enemy with contempt until they are all vanquished."

Thoughtocrat: "Thanks for your service. Those who are justifying these acts have forgotten our fundamental values, values that make us different from the rest. These marines have essentially recorded a 'recruitment video' for the Taliban and (al Qaeda), and as an American, I am ashamed of their acts."

These readers said we cannot be like the Taliban.

Vynn: "As a career soldier, it has always been my view that my enemy is as committed a soldier to his own nation and cause as I am to mine, and he deserves my deepest respect and just treatment. Soldiers who do not understand this are not soldiers, but are thugs in uniform who should never be allowed to serve in any capacity. I want these men found and court marshalled, and banned from further service, and branded with the dishonorable discharge they have earned by their disgusting actions in this video."

shockerwhoa3: "I can see a lot of people on here just want us to be like the Taliban. Pissing on the dead bodies of the enemy, cutting off the enemy's head, and pretty much everything the Taliban does. We hold ourselves to a higher standard than these terrorists. Time for people to understand that."

ChefCHEESE: "Well said. Most people here dont know any thing about the standards a serviceman/woman needs to hold themselves up to. This is not standard conduct but like in any organization we have a few bad examples and it only take a few to give everyone a bad name. I am sure the Marine corps will do the right thing and punish these four men, as it is their image that is on the line and the whole world is going to be watching."

The discussion turned into a debate about whether war is necessary.

daddy2010: "Consider this: Who forced them to 'boots on and climb into the sand'?"

Guest: "Thanks for perfectly making the case against war. People need to remember what war is really like and what happens to the brave men and women that we send off to fight. The first casualty of war is often our humanity."

Finally, the readers in the following exchange talked about soldiers being small parts of the bigger war.

OmarComin: "If anything, they should urinate on the politicians that betray them and act like they don't exist when they (if they) return from war."

ThomasHenley: "Half of these guys joined the military after playing to much Halo and Call of Duty, and it shows in these guys of actions. They have been bred into a culture of violence and death where humanity is reduced to a one-dimensional representation in their minds. Pretty tragic all the way around."

cordero13: "How do you know this is how they grew up? Why not say thank you to the servicemen that fight for your freedom. Yeah, some do stupid things, but not all."

What do you think about this video? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Please note that discussion on this post will be disabled at the end of the day. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Marines • Military • Overheard on CNN.com
soundoff (235 Responses)
  1. bobcat (in a hat)©

    @ okaytopee

    You've got no kind of clue. There used to be a code amongst warriors, of course I'm sure the meaning would be lost on you. By doing what they would do, it just lowers us to those same standards. We used to be so much better than that.

    Pick a side BRO

    January 12, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Oh, you mean the code of Mei Li during the Vietnam war or paying settlers 50¢ a head bonus for Indian scalps during the Indian wars. Those codes? OBTW: I was saddened by the crude behavior of a few Marines, but not "shocked". War is a nasty business!

      January 12, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. the right side...

    oh the outrage....give me a break....they killed over three thousand on 9/11....they terrorize their own people....women are worthless, to be beaten or killed any time the male decides.... where is the liberal lefts outrage????? where is the national organization of woman?????where is the Hague....you remenber the morons who declared Bush a criminal.....you people are disgusting.....the only mistake i see is the marines missed their target.....they should have pissed on all you hate America and the Constituion firsters.....

    January 12, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • James M

      Which of the corpses in this particular grave did all that?

      January 16, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. hamsta

    The way they produced the article this time-less condemning and more fair and balanced.good job.its time they stopped demonizing the war effort and realize worse than being urinated on is done to our soldiers if they are captured or killed.those soldiers are giving their lives just so you dont have to speak iranian.its time to stop saying we shouldnt be in iraq.that is the equivalent of saying pearl harbor was no reason to enter ww2.war is not pretty,its downright barbaric.vladimir dracula used impalement to instill fear in his enemies.upon sight of thousands of impaled bodies sticking in the air his enemy surrendered without a fight.fear can be an effective weapon.its time to ask yourself if to much political correctness is hindering the war effort.i gauruntee if we had planted the impaled bodies of gitmo prisoners into the sands of afghanistan terrorism would immediately disappear from earth.singing koom by yah at the campfire doesnt seem to be getting the job done.

    January 12, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    It kind of puts the mentality of professionals at the enemys level.
    It's the communist liberals that believe the Taliban has rights too, and believe it's thier duty to point this out as an issue before the world.
    Some how I get the idea CNN supports the Taliban in all thier terrorist efforts, as they help raise a stink about it.
    ALL IS FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR!

    January 12, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      ALL IS FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR!

      Are you telling us you're into a little water game action?
      All's fair in love....

      January 12, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    P iss on you all.

    January 12, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Factors

      Just remember now, soldiers. You can kill and maim them any way you please, but just don't take a whiz on them.

      January 12, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jay

    This may cause more casualties to US troops.

    January 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Susan

    This is pretty biased. The vast majority of the comments were in support of the soldiers.

    January 12, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • rebiii

      Kind of scary, isn't it? To think that this is what your friends and neighbors think?

      January 12, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • James M

      They have specific orders against posting videos to YouTube. This is the core issue, not the urination. The urination is secondary to the fact that they posted a video from the theatre of operations. This is precisely the same crime that Bradley Manning is accused of, albeit with a single count. Do you understand that they could be facing life in the brig just for posting the video, regardless of its contents?

      January 16, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Helene

    Thank you to the military who did this. Did the Taliban care about us when they murdered 3000 people on 09/11.

    January 12, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      Fool... It wasn't the Taliban that brought down the twin towers it was Bush.

      January 12, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Helene, I think you may be confusing the taliban with al-qaeda. both terms non capitalized purposely.

      January 12, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • saywhat

      God, there are still folks there who think that Talibans did the Twin Towers.
      Pl dear blogger get your facts straight. It weren't the Talibans nor the Afghans.
      In fact no one can say with any certainty who orchestrated that crime against America.

      January 12, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ben

    How "angry" does Karzi get when his crappy army allows taliban ti infiltrate them and then kill and mutilate US soldiers. Its funny, I have never heard him complain once. Its time to go. Let his head be the first one on a spike when the Taliban return (minus ears, eyes and nose of course, as is the custom of these animals). But, so many of you are right, urine is worse...

    January 12, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • saywhat

      Pray do let us know how many of our dead soldiers were urinated upon or beheaded in Iraq or Afghanistan?

      January 12, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JVP US Air Force 1966-1970

    As stupid as this was I think horrific applies to the 911 victims jumping from the burning towers and the beheadings by animals I watched. This pales in comparison. It just makes me sad for them.

    January 12, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • saywhat

      If you knew who was really behind 9/11 you would just walk away with your eyes cast down and do zilch about it.
      Go ask Gordon Duff, the brave, decorated 'Nam vet & widely read writer & editor of Veterans Today. Or Gen. Stubblebine US Army Retd. Commanding Ge. of US Intelligence. Or NORAD Tac, Director ( Purple Heart) Col.Robert Bowman. I could go on & on but wouldn't.

      January 12, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. thomas

    I believe that the world would be a better place today if those urinals had been blasted to radioactive dust along with the rest of their countrymen through the use of a LARGE nuclear weapon about ten years ago.

    January 12, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sun Tzu

    Where was the command and control of the units officer?? If one must fight a war, then one must fight with total commitment to victory. You may make your enemy fear you but don't give them fuel to extend their fight against you. Instead of acting like Marines they act like "gang bangers".

    January 12, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joe, San Diego

    Disrespectful... and posting on YouTube in this day and age... did you guys really doubt you would not get found out?
    Did you really think USA and the military would rally behind service members urinating on dead bodies, weak stupidity- INTEGRITY 101

    January 12, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Chuck

    Which is the worse: Shooting someone in the head or pissing on their head? Give me a break...We are a SICK society.

    January 12, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jen

    They should be court marshalled and tried for war crimes. My ex-husband is an Army combat vet. My husband is a USMC combat vet.
    Several of my family and friends are current service members or vets as well.
    THIS IS WRONG!
    Send them to GTMO! They want to act in a fashion as deplorable as the enemy? Now they are the enemy. They are a disgrace and embassment to the USMC, the DoD, and to this country.

    Hand 'em high!

    January 12, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • James M

      If they are court martialed, it will be simply for the crime of insubordination - they disobeyed a standing order against posting videos to YouTube. The contents of the video are irrelevant. The urination is irrelevant. This is a combat video, and the orders against publishing it are very clear.

      January 16, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
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