It is not difficult to imagine a bunch of scared 20-year-old urinating on the corpses of enemies they killed first. In today’s Washington Post Sebastian Junger thoughtfully explains the environment in which the disturbing video of American Marines urinating on dead Taliban solders was made : http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/were-all-guilty-of-dehumanizing-the-enemy/2012/01/13/gIQAtRduwP_story.html
Whether we can understand such behavior or not, it has harmed our goals in Afghanistan and increased the danger to other solders. Marine Capt. Timothy Kudo, explains this perspective well in today’s Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/as-a-marine-and-afghan-war-vet-im-insulted-by-the-desecration-video/2012/01/12/gIQAswIrwP_story.html.
The event is sad but America has demonstrated to the world how a mature democracy openly discusses and deals with its mistakes. We may be proud of that.
Author: Warren Coats
I specialize in advising central banks on monetary policy and the development of the capacity to formulate and implement monetary policy. I joined the International Monetary Fund in 1975 from which I retired in 2003 as Assistant Director of the Monetary and Financial Systems Department. While at the IMF I led or participated in missions to the central banks of over twenty countries (including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Croatia, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgystan, Moldova, Serbia, Turkey, West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Zimbabwe) and was seconded as a visiting economist to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (1979-80), and to the World Bank's World Development Report team in 1989. After retirement from the IMF I was a member of the Board of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority from 2003-10 and of the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review from 2010-2017. Prior to joining the IMF I was Assistant Prof of Economics at UVa from 1970-75. I am currently a fellow of Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise. In March 2019 Central Banking Journal awarded me for my “Outstanding Contribution for Capacity Building.” My recent books are One Currency for Bosnia: Creating the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina; My Travels in the Former Soviet Union; My Travels to Afghanistan; My Travels to Jerusalem; and My Travels to Baghdad. I have a BA in Economics from the UC Berkeley and a PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago. My dissertation committee was chaired by Milton Friedman and included Robert J. Gordon.
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