Sebastian Junger - who spent much of a year with soldiers in the Korengal of Afghanistan - weighs in on the Marine "urination" video, with sadness and disgust.
It comes down to the choice between holding oneself to a high standard, or being content to wallow in the mud. What's disappointing about the action of the Marines is not the act itself - which Junger explains needs to be seen in the context of frustration and anger - but the malice aforethought.
The battle's over, the guys are dead, the fight's been won - you find out who you are in the quiet moments when you have time to think about what you're doing. I don't blame the Marines for their anger, but their lack of discipline and pride is something else.
After 10 years of war, and recession, and cultural debasement, and blame without responsibility, and time spent typing anonymous screeds on internet message boards, it should be no surprise at all that America has reached the point where there's a "debate" over this kind of behavior. But at least the Marines in the video signed up to do the job - that's more than 99 percent of their defenders or critics ever did.