The Marine Corps top commanders of U.S. forces in Afghanistan are investigating a video that implicates U.S. Marines urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has ordered an investigation into conduct he called “utterly deplorable,” and that he condemns “in the strongest possible terms”. Panetta said “This conduct is entirely inappropriate for members of the United States military and does not reflect the standards or values our armed forces are sworn to uphold. Those found to have engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent.”
The video shows four men in Marine uniforms exposing their genitals and urinating on three dead bodies one with a large blood stain on his chest. The person who posted the video gave the description “scout sniper team 4 with 3rd battalion 2nd marines out of camp lejeune peeing on dead talibans.”
The video comes at a time when the Obama administration is attempting to kindle diplomatic efforts and initiate peace negotiations between the Afghanistan and the Taliban. It is unclear at this time how this will affect those efforts. One Afghanistan High Peace Council senior member claims it will hamper the peace efforts. However a spokesman for the Taliban said they are accustomed to such “brutality” and does not feel the video would in any way affect existing discussions.
Reuters reported that although the U.S. military has stopped short of confirming the video is authentic, the Pentagon on Thursday came close. “We don’t have any indication that it’s not authentic,” Pentagon spokesman Captain John Kirby said.