It is easy to be shocked by troops seeming to make fun of the ceremonies honoring dead soldiers. But I suspect that this type of humor actually is a form of psychological cushioning. As I recall, doctors dealing with trauma on a daily basis often have private humor and terms themselves, partly to enable themselves to work in an environment of pain and loss. I also can remember how, when I was a reporter, I quickly become accustomed to standing over a dead body with Miami homicide detectives ("smoker," "four-waller," and "potato mouth" were some of their terms of art to describe corpses) and discussing where to get dinner.
About Tom Ricks
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.