…As a society, we shouldn't seek moral equivalency, because we are then doomed to live according to the lowest standards of humanity. But we also don't live in a moral vacuum. We don't live in a utopia. We're in a war.
What was done to Danny is an indicator of the kind of war we're in. That is why I was particularly disturbed, as an American Muslim, to see national American Muslim organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and the Islamic Society of North America fire off press releases of condemnation for the Marines' video. There are so many outrages inside our Muslim community—from honor killings to honor assaults, including the cutting off of the noses and ears of girls and women in Pakistan and Afghanistan—on which these organizations aren't so rabid.
To suggest we violated cultural norms in a way that the people of the region don't do is to give the people of the region a pass. The legacy of the degradation of bodies in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region is historical. When the Taliban laid siege to Kabul in 1996, they dragged a former Afghan leader, Dr. Mohammad Najibullah, from a United Nations compound, cut off his penis while he was still alive, stuffed it into his mouth, and hung him from a lamppost to send a message to the community about the new sheriffs in town.