Hamilton Nolan at Gawker has a fascinating take on this:
A video emerges showing US Marines pissing on three Taliban corpses in Afghanistan. The outrage machine grinds into motion. The media bestirs itself from its slumber. Americans momentarily pay attention to the war in Afghanistan again. Politicians rush to add their names to the chorus of identical statements. All inflamed over the least bad thing that soldiers do in war.
Do you know what is worse than having your dead body urinated upon? Being killed. Being shot. Being bombed. Having your limbs blown off. Having your house incinerated by a drone-fired missile that you don't see until it explodes. Having your children blown up in their beds. Having your spouse killed. Having your hometown destroyed. Being displaced. Becoming a refugee. Having your entire life destroyed as a consequence of political forces far, far beyond your control.
And we as a nation could not be more bored by the unceasing industrial strength violence being carried out in our names in nations where none of us will travel, or vacation, or think about much at all as long as sports and American Idol and Downton Abbey are on TV. We skim past those stories of the latest bombing or drone strike or gunfight or civilian massacre. We joke about the personal foibles or funny accents or minor gaffes of the politicians who hold it in their power to stop war, but won't. We're bored and petulant and self-absorbed until that video of some soldier pissing on dead bodies comes along, at which point we can have an outrage contest and feel good about ourselves for being more outraged than the next completely uninvolved person, for a day or two, until the big game comes on.I'm not sure. My reaction isn't disinterest to the actual death of the Taliban fighters, it's approval. I still, however, am not sure I like videos like this. Which is interesting, since killing them is fine but urinating on them is not.
And regardless, you'd think soldiers would have learned by now about taking videos of themselves doing bad things to dead Muslims.