“These horrible acts are one of the outcomes of war. You have these incredibly dehumanizing and horrific events and you have essentially young boys thrown into it. From the outside, these acts appear horrific–and these are definitely despicable acts–but when you’re in the situation, at the time they happen, they can seem quite normal.
“I was embedded with a U.S. Army unit north of Baghdad in 2008 at the height of the violence. During a patrol, the unit came across a decapitated head sitting on a market stall with a note on the forehead that read: ‘This is what happens if you work with the Americans.’ The young soldiers playfully packed up the head, took it back to base, and then took pictures with it—holding it up and grinning with their war trophy.”
Since the troops were taking pictures themselves, Dennis says, nobody thought it was unusual that he did as well.
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