August 23rd, 2011 | Afghanistan | Posted by Gina Cavallaro
(Marine Corps photo)
Marine Corps Times is a family newspaper and we only rarely have offensive language in our stories.
But this week the word “fart” appears in a story I wrote about the importance of trust between Marines and the Afghan national army soldiers they work with.
I didn’t want to write this little blog entry about farts. It’s not even on my beat. But my colleague Dan Lamothe, whose byline you have seen here quite often, shamed me into it.
“You owe it to all Marines,” he told me.
So here’s the news: audible farting has been banned for some Marines downrange because it offends the Afghans.
I know there are many things in the Afghan culture that don’t seem normal to Americans and it’s hard to spend seven months working in someone else’s back yard. Still, the Marines I saw downrange are doing a pretty good job at trying to do the right thing around the Afghans.
They’re not supposed to cuss because it could be misunderstood (that one goes out the window a lot). And they stay away from talking about politics, religion or girls because those topics could escalate into major disagreements (they can’t communicate anyway because of the language barrier).
But farting? That’s practically a sport. Ok, it’s not soccer, but a good contest could open the door for cross-cultural exchanges, jokes and other gallows humor.
So, for all Marines getting ready to go downwind, I mean downrange, be forewarned — you may have to hold it in… at least until you get back to your hooch where you can loudly crop dust your friends.
Hope 'n' Change cartoons has done a better job of commenting on this than I can.
It's true: there is no such thing as a vacation for the president of the United States. While in Martha's Vineyard, Barack Obama has had to deal with a major earthquake, about which he did nothing, a huge hurricane, about which he is doing nothing, and now reports of gas attacks in populated regions of Afghanistan... with our own marines to blame!
According to a published report in the Military Times "Battle Rattle" section, Marines have been ordered to suppress audible farts because it offends the Afghans.
Now you might expect Hope n' Change cartoons to mock the Afghans for their hypocrisy and squeamishness...but in this case, we've got to take their side. After all, biological weapons are strictly forbidden under the rules of the Geneva Convention...and it's our considered opinion that despite the potential devastation of mustard gas, chlorine gas, or nerve agents on the battlefield, a genuine made-in-America Marine's Fart could be more destructive than all of those things combined.
We're not talking about the little hummingbird tweets which squeak out of the commander in chief and smell like cotton candy. No sir, we're talking about thundering, armor-piercing, white hot, "Don't look inside the Lost Ark of the Covenant!" 10-megaton MARINE farts! Even one of which is said to make a measurable change in Global Warming, especially if released near Al Gore.
And so, Marines, "hold 'em if you got 'em"...and keep that gas from passing while you're "guests" in Afghanistan!
When you get home, you can finally let it all out.
Hopefully during a tour of the Whitehouse.
The few. The proud. The MARINES.