Like thousands of others worldwide, I’ve been following an ugly story this week, regarding the outing of U.S. Marine, David Motari, and an incident that took place sometime last year in Iraq.
A swaggering Motari was video’d, holding up a small and very young black and white puppy whose front paws had been tied, guffawing about how cute it was, and then tossing it over a cliff to either an instant or a painful and lingering death.
The viral nature of the Internet being what it is, you can sift through the global outrage on various forums and blogs, and catch cached copies of the video that was deleted from YouTube.
What is interesting and sad is the spate of excuses that have been made for this guy.
The puppy was only a toy. No wait, it was already dead. Or…the video was edited and the real puppy was never actually thrown over the cliff. Or…the mother dog had been blown up and the puppies were going to die a more inhumane death if Motari hadn’t intervened. Or, well, it was going to give away their position to The Enemy. It could have been diseased. Maybe even have rabies! The commanding officer had told them to get rid of all strays. Iraqis don’t respect dogs either. PTSD made him do it. What can you expect – these guys are trained to kill? It’s the fault of the military brass for brainwashing them. And on and on.
One word: FAIL.
Contrast the arrogant behaviour of this hoodlum with that of soldiers who have warmed our hearts through their humanity and compassion towards the animals in Iraq that comforted them. Jay Kopelman, author of “From Baghdad With Love”, the late Peter Neesley, whose family adopted the two dogs he had rescued, and the group behind “Operation Baghdad Pups”, show us the integrity and courage of the U.S. military.
One can presume that their integrity and that of many more soldiers like them has carried forward to their dealings with the people in the mid-east. I could hardly say the same for punks who think it is fun to toss puppies off cliffs, blow up sheep, and shoot dogs and cats for target practice. (Yes, there are more videos. Keep moving. Nothing to see here.)
In his MySpace site, Motari bemoans the fact that he was caught. No remorse, no learning, just cowardice. Of course, this could be a fake account, set up by some other attention-seeker altogether…
The Sergeant Major called me in today and it looks like they found out about the dog thing. I don’t know who it was who put it on F**KING youtube, but man they are not happy… They were even talking about court martialing me, but they better not. It wouldn’t be fair because they didn’t court martial the last guy they caught F**KING with a dog.
F**K atleast i was humane about it. That guy from motor transport shot a dog in the stomach in front of the Major and everyone thought it was funny. I F**K up and it gets on TV and all of a sudden it’s wrong. This is some BS. POS media, always sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong.
What can you do?
Recommend that this abuser be punished to the full extent of the law. Court-martial and dishonourable discharge might send a message to others that this behaviour is not acceptable. He does not get it, apparently, so counselling would be in order too. Maybe also ask for an investigation into the individual who cooperated in filming the event, and anyone else who took part.
You can write to a very busy Christopher Perrine, the PR officer fielding a lot of emails at the Hawaii base where Motari is now, hopefully only temporarily, stationed. Please be polite.
And the Marines are looking for your feedback at:
Ask Andrew S. Effron, Chief Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, to include cruelty to all animals in the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Update: June 12, 2008
Lance Cpl. David Motari, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment at Kaneohe Bay, is “being processed for separation” from the Marine Corps, the Marine Corps said in a news release. He also received unspecified “non-judicial punishment.”