• Hip Hop COIN Diplomacy: Awww, P*ss on It

    January 12, 2012

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Afghanistan, Democracy, Military

    Here is the viral video (social media!) that “purportedly” shows “alleged” US “Marines” Corps urinating on “what are believed to be” Afghan corpses. All of those words are in “quote marks” because the US is still “investigating” whether or not the video is “authentic.”

    “While we have not yet verified the origin or authenticity of this video, the actions portrayed are not consistent with our core values and are not indicative of the character of the Marines in our Corps,” ABC News quotes an official statement.

    So let’s watch and see for ourselves:



    If the embed is not showing up, follow this link to the video

    Anybody out there want to argue the video is not somehow “authentic”? The people in it dress like Marines, carry the right gear, are wearing the right boots, carrying the right weapons, same sense of humor as Marines (“Have a great day, buddy,” one of the alleged Marines can be heard saying on the footage.)

    A couple of points:

    –We can assume that this video is now on every cell phone in Afghanistan and is rocketing across the Middle East. The “bad guys” do not need to produce their own propaganda when we do it for them.

    –The expected statement from the US side, that these are “rogue” Marines, not representative of the many fine men and women in the Corps, will mean absolutely nothing to anyone outside the US. It is possible for something to be both true, and irrelevant, at the same time.

    –Most online boneheads will say things like “Well, the Taliban does worse things!” Yeah, but the Taliban is not trying to win a COIN war in a foreign country they invaded 10 years ago. Also, see above, it is possible for something to be both true, and irrelevant, at the same time.

    –About 90% of the US effort will be spent countering the domestic US reaction to the video, 9.9% that of our allies and 0.1% that of the Afghans themselves.

    –The US media will respond as trained, with only 0.1% still carrying the story in a few days. About 90% of Muslim world media will keep talking about this.

    –Absolutely nothing about this on US Embassy Kabul web site, Twitter or Facebook. So much for the use of social media. Can you say “we are irrelevant”?

    –All the happy talk hip hop diplomacy and smiley face 21st century Statecraft in the world can be rendered as useless as dust in the wind by acts like this. That’s what makes counterinsurgency such a dead end proposition. Our side has to only get it wrong once in awhile to lose.

    –As one online commenter, who identified himself as a veteran, said: “Thanks fellas, you just pissed away everything me and my boys fought for.”

    Abu Ghraib



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  • Recent Comments

    • Dan Davenport MD said...

      1

      Peter:

      If you are trying to say that this represents any change from the attitude held by our soldiers in Afghanistan since 2001 I’m not buying it. A friend of mine had a son there from 2002-4 and I interviewed several thousand post Afghan-deployment soldiers at Ft. Hood PDHRA in later years. The vast majority would have been sympathetic to this video.

      The only people we have been trying to fool with our cockamamie policy over there is the US population. As you point out that has been easy.
      Keep up the good work but don’t act “shocked” and don’t join the censors. Dan

      01/13/12 5:44 AM | Comment Link

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