12 January 2012
The US military is investigating an online video purportedly showing Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, a spokesman said Wednesday, calling the behavior “disgusting.”
The video shows what appears to be four servicemen, dressed in US military uniform, relieving themselves onto three bloodied bodies on the ground, apparently aware that they are being filmed.
The Pentagon has not yet verified the video, but spokesman John Kirby told AFP: “Regardless of the circumstances or who is in the video, this is… egregious, disgusting behavior, unacceptable for anyone in uniform.”
“It turned my stomach,” he added of the video, which was posted on the Live Leak website.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, condemned the alleged desecration of corpses by US Marines.
“If verified as authentic, the video shows behavior that is totally unbecoming of American military personnel and that could ultimately endanger other soldiers and civilians,” CAIR said in a statement.
“We trust that this disturbing incident will be promptly investigated in a transparent manner and that appropriate actions will be taken based on the results of that investigation,” the statement said.
“Any guilty parties must be punished to the full extent allowed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice and by relevant American laws.”
A statement issued by the Pentagon said: “Headquarters Marine Corps has recently been made aware of a video that portrays Marines urinating on what appear to be deceased members of the Taliban.
“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.
“This matter will be fully investigated.”
Some 20,000 Marines are deployed in Afghanistan, mostly in Kandahar and Helmand provinces in the south of the war-ravaged country. A total of about 90,000 US troops are on the ground.
US and coalition partners in Afghanistan plan to hand over security for the whole of the country to Afghan forces by the end of 2014, allowing the withdrawal of combat forces.