Let me introduce you to the face of America for the rest of the world. Empirically, Dana Loesch is an attractive person. But what she represents with her statements as a CNN contributor is sheer ugliness and worse, it is how we are perceived
January 15, 2012

Let me introduce you to the face of America for the rest of the world. Empirically, Dana Loesch is an attractive person. But what she represents with her statements as a CNN contributor is sheer ugliness and worse, it is how we are perceived in the rest of the world.

Loesch, you see, saw that video of troops urinating on the corpses of alleged Taliban and she decided to celebrate what she saw as a completely acceptable act of American dominance.

On her radio show, CNN contributor and Big Journalism editor Dana Loesch cheered on an Internet video reportedly showing U.S. Marines urinating on what appear to be dead Afghans, saying she would "drop trou and do it too."

That shiny hyperbole of American exceptionalism rarely plays well past our shores. Back in 2004, I had to travel to Europe for a writers' conference and opted to extend my stay with a visit to a close friend in Holland. My friend was eager to share with me the rich history and culture of the Dutch. Everywhere we went, she introduced me to friends and acquaintances as the "good kind" of American, namely one who wasn't an Ugly American like Dana Loesch. I didn't support our invasions and occupations in the Middle East; I didn't hold myself up as bastion of goodness and light and civilization (the presumption to do so in a country that can boast Rembrandt, Vermeer and Anne Frank!) nor was I dismissive of Muslims (although admittedly, Holland is struggling with deep anti-Muslim bias as well). Never, in a million years, would it occur to me to celebrate an act that lowers us down to the level of barbarians we claim the other side is.

CNN, in their typically gutless way, tried lamely to distance themselves from Loesch's words

CNN contributors are commentators who express a wide range of viewpoints—on and off of CNN—that often provoke strong agreement or disagreement. Their viewpoints are their own.

Well, not her own entirely. But make no mistake: giving Loesch a microphone and putting a camera in front of her face tells the rest of the world that you have no problem with what she said, CNN.

I think there are a few people out there who shrug at the notion of caring about how others see us. But this cavalier attitude truly becomes a national security threat. A threat that CNN continues to promote on its airwaves:

There are no words to express my disgust at the video making the rounds today, of U.S. Marines apparently urinating on the dead bodies of the Taliban. As an Iraq War veteran who works with Iraq and Afghanistan veterans every day, I can truthfully say that the Marines in the video have undermined everything that I and those who served with me tried to do.

That's why I'm just as disgusted by right wingers like Pamela Gellar, who said, "I love these Marines" and joked, "Perhaps this is the infidel interpretation of the Islamic ritual of washing and preparing the body for burial."

Comments like these not only go against everything our military stands for, but only serve to put our troops on the ground in increased danger. It just shows that some on the right still just don't get it when it comes to our mission in Afghanistan.

No matter what one thinks about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (and I have been plenty critical of them and how they've been waged), one indisputable fact is that most troops on the ground have tried their best to build the trust of the population. Believe me, it isn't easy. Having worked with the Iraqi Army on my second tour, I'm acutely aware of what challenges we face when trying to get the trust of the population.

Understandably, Afghans and Iraqis looked at us pretty skeptically, if not outright as invaders.

Horrific incidents like at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo further undermined American forces by reinforcing the population's most negative feelings about us. But since that time, we've made great strides. General Petraeus and McChrystal, especially, took winning hearts and minds very seriously, and implemented a number of tactics to reach out to the populations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Doing so wasn't just the right thing to do, it was absolutely crucial to their counter-insurgency strategy.

That work is now at risk, because of these Marines.

Aside from basic human decency, corpse desecration harms our mission by disrespecting the culture of Afghanistan and the families of the dead. Think this video isn't circulating in Afghanistan already? You think some young Afghan male who was on the fence about the insurgency won't be knocked off it?

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