U.S. Marines in video identified, may face court martial

The four United States marines who appeared in a video that has embarrassed the country into a slew of high-level apologies to the Afghan people have been identified and are likely to face disciplinary proceedings in a court martial, according to officials here.

The video, which shows U.S. marines urinating on three bloodied corpses, allegedly of Taliban fighters, emerged earlier this week and was immediately condemned by Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as “deplorable.”

On Friday, reports emerged that all four marines in the video had been identified although the search was still on for the person who shot the video. With two of the Marines already questioned on Thursday by criminal investigators, officials confirmed that the men were originally from Camp Lejuene in North Carolina and served in the Third Battalion, Second Marines.

U.S. Marine Corps Commandant General Jim Amos said there would be an internal “preliminary” probe seeking to establish how such an incident could occur, adding that the video showed behaviour “wholly inconsistent with the high standards of conduct and warrior ethos that we have demonstrated throughout our history.”

The video showed the men laughing as they urinated on the corpses, with one of them saying to the bodies, “Have a great day, buddy.” Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who condemned the men's actions as “inhuman,” also called for an investigation.

Meanwhile a Deputy Commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, General Curtis Scaparrotti issued a directive to troops in the country to “treat the living and the dead with dignity and respect,” adding that they must follow the rules of armed conflict and “act honourably at all times.”

With U.S. officials reacting swiftly to limit the fallout from the event, their attention has centred on stemming the rise of any anti-American sentiment in Afghanistan on the eve of significant efforts to promote reconciliation with the Taliban and other forces.

While a Taliban spokesman was quoted as saying on Thursday that the video may not debilitate the ongoing negotiations, the timing of the incident has been awkward as Marc Grossman, President Barack Obama's Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, is heading to the region for discussions with Mr. Karzai.

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2021 7:12:27 AM |

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