21st Century War Trophies

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A new batch of grisly and disgusting battlefield-trophy photographs surfaced in the Los Angeles Times Wednesday morning, showing. They show, among other things, U.S. troops and their Afghan allies posing with the remains of a suicide bomber. The Pentagon has tried to get out in front of this by issuing a – surprise! – statement deploring the photographs and promising an investigation. “These images by no means represent the values or professionalism of the vast majority of U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan today,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said.

It’s a Pavlovian response from the nation’s military leaders.

But after 10 years of war with no front lines, repeated deployments, turncoats in the ranks and strange customs, these sorts of acts by U.S. troops also are Pavlovian.