Defense Secretary Leon Panetta
UPDATE: Thursday, January 12, 2012
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has promised Afghan President Hamid Karzai a full investigation of a video that purports to depict four U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters.
Panetta has ordered the Marine Corps and the top commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan to investigate the video, which he calls "utterly deplorable."
The Marine Corps says it hasn't verified the origin or authenticity of the video. But a Pentagon spokesman says "it certainly appears" to show troops urinating on corpses.
The video is drawing condemnation from all sides.
The Afghan president calls it "completely inhumane." The Afghan Defense Ministry calls it "shocking." And a Taliban statement accuses U.S. forces of committing numerous "indignities" against the Afghan people.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed "total dismay" at the video.
The NATO-led security force in Afghanistan says the actions "appear to have been conducted by a small group of U.S. individuals, who apparently are no longer serving in Afghanistan."
In a protest letter of protest to Panetta, the Council on Islamic-American Relations said the apparent desecration of the dead violates U.S. military regulations and international laws of war.
Sen. John McCain says it's "sad."
"A handful of obviously undisciplined people" tarnished the image of the U.S. Marine Corps., McCain said.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is branding as "utterly despicable" a video purporting to show four U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters.
In a statement released by the Pentagon, Panetta says he's ordered the Marine Corps and a military command office to "immediately and fully investigate the incident." The Marine Corps had said Wednesday that it was looking into the YouTube video but hadn't yet verified its origin or authenticity.
Panetta's statement Thursday says "this conduct is entirely inappropriate for members of the United States military." It adds that the incident "does not reflect the standards or values our armed forces are sworn to uphold."
The secretary vows in the statement that "those found to have engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent."