I enjoy reading Leonard Pitts columns, he is a very thought provoking writer, but the other week he wrote a column titled “Marines’ ignorance should alarm us all,” which I found a little disturbing.
In this piece, he discusses two incidents which he suggests puts on display the ignorance of the Marines.
The first incident involves a group of Marines seen displaying a flag which resembles the notorious Nazi SS organization. This picture was taken in Afghanistan in 2010.
Jewish officials renounced this incident as “beyond the pale,” and Pitts accuses the Marines of being ignorant of our history and the symbolism of the Nazi flag.
Pitts goes on to say “that most seniors in college — our best and brightest — could not answer basic questions about American history.”
Pitts fails to realize that many soldiers have written American history with their blood instead of ink.
When I enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1966, the soldiers I marched with, in fact, did not have a lot of college experience at all. The Bill Clintons and many lacking bravery were off to England or some classroom so they might avoid those hazards of war.
The young, the poor, the unemployed were usually the ones marching off to battle. They were not college educated, but smart and brave nonetheless.
When I think about Marines, I think about a noble warrior, and I think about their sacrifices at Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and the Bataan Death March. Ever hear of those, Leonard?
When I think about American history, I think about those 400,000 American military deaths in World War II, which helped to liberate those Jewish death camps and restore peace on our globe.
When I think about those Marines with the double SS on their flag which they said stood for “Scout Sniper,” I think about a bunch of young soldiers ready to protect the world.
Although the best judgment was not used in the design of this flag, I suspect that those same Marines would offer up their lives to protect Israel’s sovereignty today should our country require it. That is hardly anti-Semitic.
You Marine snipers need a flag? Here’s an idea:
When I visited Graceland some years ago, I bought a hat with an Elvis symbol on it. The symbol was a “lightning bolt” surrounded by the letters T-C-B.
Do you know what that means?
It means “Taking Care of Business in a Flash.” Elvis, a true Patriot, would be proud of you Marines!
Pitts also was very critical of the second incident involving the Marines. He referred to a picture showing several Marines urinating on some dead Taliban soldiers.
That, too, is disgusting, but then again there’s not much “civil” about an “uncivil” war.
If Leonard would have taken a few more psychology courses, he might understand the stresses of war and how it might influence one’s behavior in a bad way.
As I examined some other degrading behavior, I tend to think of two dead American soldiers instead of those Marines that Pitts mentions.
Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Tucker were two members of the 101st Airborne unit serving in Iraq in June 2006 when they were kidnapped, tortured and killed.
Their dead bodies were decapitated, their eyes gouged out, genitals removed and human parts strewn about the foreign countryside and affixed with booby trap explosives.
Perhaps if Leonard wants to discuss real war abuses, he can take a look at those pictures and write an article about the kindness of our enemy.
That story should reflect some American history we should never forget.
I used to recite some Geneva Convention rules when I was in the Army, and quite frankly, I always wondered if ever taken captive if the enemy would follow those same rules that I was supposed to. I didn’t think they would.
War is “hell,” Leonard. I wouldn’t advise going if you don’t want to see some “unpleasant” things.
If you do go, get in a foxhole with a Marine. It’ll be a lot safer there.
Lloyd “Pete” Waters is a Sharpsburg resident who writes columns for The Herald-Mail.