Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday harshly condemned alleged behavior in a video that appears to show U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters. The Pentagon chief said he'd ordered a full investigation into the alleged incident, which comes amid sensitive diplomatic initiatives to try to advance reconciliation talks with the Taliban.
"I have seen the footage, and I find the behavior depicted in it utterly deplorable," Panetta said in a press statement sent to Yahoo News Thursday. "I condemn it in the strongest possible terms."
Pentagon investigators have already identified two of the four U.S. Marines who appear on the video, the Associated Press reported Thursday.
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"A Marine official said Thursday that the four were members of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, which returned to its home base in North Carolina last fall after a tour in Afghanistan," the AP report said. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing criminal investigation, said that "at least some of the four Marines are no longer in that battalion," the AP said.
The video--which went viral after being posted to YouTube on Wednesday--appears to show four American Marines urinating on the corpses of three Taliban fighters. (Due to its graphic content, Yahoo has posted an edited version of the posted video from ABC News, which you can see above.)
"Have a nice day, buddy,' one of the alleged U.S. Marines said on the video.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday "condemned the video, describing the men's actions as 'inhuman' and calling for an investigation," Reuters reported.
Panetta called Karzai Thursday to convey his horror at the alleged incident and promise a full investigation, Pentagon spokesman George Little said.
Panetta told Karzai "that the conduct depicted in the footage is utterly deplorable, and that it does not reflect the standards or values American troops are sworn to uphold," Little told journalists in a press readout of the call Thursday. "The Secretary also noted in the conversation that he has ordered that the video be immediately and fully investigated."
Panetta ordered the Marine Corps and the top U.S commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Allen to launch an immediate and full investigation of the alleged incident, which will hold the responsible parties accountable for their conduct.
He was joined in his condemnation by Senate Armed Services Committee ranking Republican John McCain (R-Ariz.), who said the alleged behavior by a few individuals in the video does not represent the honorable conduct and service of hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops.
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The following words are those of one of TWAU BLOG'S main contributors: Lou Buren
Ok, I'm not seeing what the big deal is here. The Islamic terrorists and Taliban regime have posted some pretty horrible videos online of American soldiers being beheaded and tortured. Instead of negotiating with devils like these people the United States should be wiping them off the map. I see little wrong with what the troops did in this video. The Taliban are evil murderers that want America destroyed and all of us dead.
My words are much different than those who try to be politically correct. I'm a firm believer that to be politically correct is to be a liar. So I say if the marines want to urinate on dead murderers, hey what ever. Thank the troops, don't bad mouth them.