War is hell. The combatant is delivered into the conflagration with morals ethics, and principles learned at home, in religious and learning institutions. In our military, there are rules of conduct that pertain to the treatment of prisoners and enemy dead. In the insanity of war, the combatant must act outside of those values. The result is a constant clash between the fires of human emotion and moral convictions.
What the four Marines who urinated on the corpses of Taliban fighters did was certainly outside of the military code and the Geneva Conventions. America should never tolerate that behavior. No matter what the “bad guys” do, we cannot become their mirrored counterpart, otherwise we forfeit the moral high ground. “It’s war” is not a valid reason to sink into amoral behavior. The killing of another human being should never be taken lightly. Once we, as a nation at war, have stepped over those boundaries and accept any form of desecration as permissible, we have compromised our right to claim moral exceptionalism.
The Marines should be dealt the maximum punishment allowed by military law, and then put into long-term psychological counseling. God knows they are going to need it.