America inhabits a world in which many do not enjoy the presence of US troops in their lands. They oppose foreigners walking their streets and displaying behaviors and attitudes that violate normal conditions. During the past year there have been repeated incidents in which American troops commit acts that arouse fury in local residents. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is concerned how what might come across in America as “fooling around” can be viewed elsewhere as an act of violence to norms of behavior.
“These days it takes only seconds, –seconds- for a picture,a photo, to suddently become an international headline. And these headlines can impact the mission that we are engaged in, they can put fellow members at risk, they can hurt morale, they can damage our standing in the world, and they can cost lives.”
The key aspect of his statement is–cost lives.