Pentagon to investigate apparent Afghan corpse desecration

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REPORTING FROM WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon said it was investigating a video made public Wednesday that appears to show four U.S. Marines urinating on the bodies of three dead men in Afghan clothing.

In the video, which was posted on YouTube and the celebrity gossip site TMZ, the four men wearing helmets and Marine uniforms unzip their pants and urinate on the bloody bodies.

When and where the video was taken could not be determined. Most Marines in Afghanistan are at bases in Helmand province in the south.

“While we have not yet verified the origin or authenticity of this video, the actions portrayed are not consistent with our core values and are not indicative of the character of the Marines in our Corps,” a statement from the Marine Corps’ public affairs office said. “This matter will be fully investigated.”


‘Have a great day, buddy,’ one of the men on the video says. A voice asks, ‘You got it on the video?’ Another voice responds, ‘Yeah.’

Capt. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, said, ‘Regardless of the circumstances or who is in the video, this is egregious, disgusting behavior. It’s hideous. It turned my stomach.’

The video is reminiscent of photographs taken by U.S. soldiers that showed abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad. The photos came to light in 2004 and sparked anti-U.S. protests around the world. The scandal was blamed for intensifying the insurgency in Iraq.

The video also is similar to photographs of dead Afghan civilians taken by members of an Army platoon in Kandahar province in 2010 in the most gruesome war crimes case to emerge from the war. Five members of the platoon pleaded guilty or were convicted for the murder of three Afghan civilians and for collecting body parts as war trophies.


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-- David S. Cloud