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History Fail: US Marines Pose with Nazi SS Flag

Posted by Ethan Clow on February 12, 2012

There are some news stories I never expect to see. One of them is “US Marines caught posing with Nazi SS flag.”

But apparently I should learn to expect the unexpected. CNN featured this story of how a elite squad of US Marines created controversy by posing with an American flag next to, what appeared to be a the symbol of the Nazi Schutzstaffel, also known as the special guards of the Nazi elite, as well as the personal army of Heinrich Himmler and were responsible for millions of war crime atrocities during the Holocaust.

The public relations branch of the military went into damage control once the image began circulating the internet on Friday, of course the photo had been taken a few years ago and was only now seeing the light of day. According to CNN, the Marine Corps Scout Snipers from the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, who are featured in the photo, which was taken in 2010 in Afghanistan and the photo’s description says the “SS” flag had been “adopted and used by the Marines in reference to Scout Sniper.”

To quote the article (damnphasis mine) (( on the advice of my friend Yves I’ve changed the word emphasis to damnphasis))

“The Marine Corps said it became aware of the photo last November and the local command investigated, but found it not to be racially motivated, according to a statement released by a Marine Corps spokesman, Lt. Col. Stewart Upton.

The unit’s commander decided not to proceed with disciplinary action, it said, but all Marines in the unit were reminded that such behavior will not be tolerated and any further display could result in punishment.

“They determined that the Marines in the photo were ignorant of the connection of this symbol to the Holocaust and monumental atrocities associated with Nazi Germany,” Amos said in his statement Friday.”

I’d like to draw attention to some of that quote. The investigation claims the use of the symbol was found to not be racially motivated. Let’s just think about that for a moment, this sniper squad choose to use the abbreviation ‘SS’ and chose the exact same logo the Nazi Schutzstaffel squad used… This is like burning a cross that stands for “time to go.”

Even if we assume that the marines in question were totally ignorant of who the SS were or what they did, what are the odds they would pick the exact same logo and say not bother to do a quick Wikipedia search to make sure, oh I don’t know, the SS weren’t a genocidal murder squad?

Perhaps the marines wanted to be badasses or something. Perhaps they felt using the SS name was justified because the SS were feared and they thought they could latch on to that emotional impact. But that leads us into the next part of the quote I highlighted. They claimed to be ignorant of the SS and their Holocaust crimes against humanity. So these marines may only be stupid and lazy and not neo-Nazis. Wonderful.

What is also telling is that previously in the article the word ‘adopted’ is used to describe the usage of the symbol and term ‘SS.’ To me, this would imply that marines clearly knew the context of the word and logo.

Not to mention, are we really going to believe that bunch of marines, who are probably military buffs, don’t know about the largest conflict of the 20th century? Did any of them never seen Schindler’s List or one of the other famous movies about the Holocaust??

At least it appears the military is doing its job to make sure that soldiers recognize that using Nazi imagery is probably a bad thing.

3 Responses to “History Fail: US Marines Pose with Nazi SS Flag”

  1. Jackie said

    Are we entirely certain that they didn’t use the SS graphics from the KISS band logo?

    • Ethan Clow said

      Oh that’s got to be it! Yes, because a military unit that calls itself the SS and uses the same logo as the Nazi SS clearly isn’t as likely as a military unit that calls itself the SS and uses the KISS logo!

      All this despite the fact that the US Military issued a statement that the marines in question were ignorant of the Nazi connection and the role the Nazi SS played in the Holocaust.

  2. Jack said

    It’s a runic Sig symbol. It is FAR older than the Nazi party and has been used by many for it’s appearance. The Nazi SS used it. Why? Because they look like lightning bolts and it looks cool. KISS (a band made up of Jews) used it. Why? Because they look like lightning bolts and it looks cool. Marine Scout-Snipers (a multi-ethnic community like any other in the military) have used them for decades. Why? Because they look like lightning bolts and it looks cool.

    Also, the scout snipers in that picture didn’t just CHOOSE the abbreviation SS. THEIR OFFICIAL JOB TITLE IS SCOUT-SNIPER! They aren’t ignorant and lazy because they didn’t associate it with the SS. They just didn’t care, because it didn’t fucking matter to them since they know they are not a Nazi hate group. I was a Marine and served on multiple combat deployments as an infantryman, and I worked with the STA platoons regularly. They are, like any other part of the military, professional and of a diverse background. The squad I worked with included black, hispanic, and Jewish Marines and sailors. If you think they were neo-nazis, you’d be mistaken.

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