A recently released video showing two members of the U.S. Marine Corps urinating over three deceased alleged Taliban members has sparked international outrage and a strong condemnation from the Pentagon.
In the video, the men are shown urinating on the bodies and joking about the degrading incident, with one saying “Have a great day, buddy,” in a playful tone, encouraged by laughter.
“I have seen the footage, and I find the behavior depicted in it utterly deplorable,” Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, said in a Jan. 12 statement. “Those found to have engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent.” Panetta demanded an investigation be conducted both by the U.S. Marine Corps and by NATO leaders of American troops in Afghanistan.
Causing international chaos months into peace talks with the Taliban, leaders of the organization said the video will not bring an end to the progress already made.
The men, who were all members of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines from North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune, may have set in motion a chain of events that will increase even greater anti-American sentiment that broods in the region.
“This act by American soldiers is simply inhuman and condemnable in the strongest possible terms,” Afghani President Hamid Karzai said in a statement.
The anonymous disclosure of the video online Jan. 11 spread like wildfire to popular websites such as YouTube, and comes after a decade of war and hundreds of cases of inhumane treatment of prisoners at the hands of both American soldiers and Taliban fighters. In 2004, controversy erupted over numerous pictures from the infamous Abu Ghraib, Baghdad and Bagram, Afghanistan prisons. The photos show Afghan detainees being tortured with American soldiers giving two thumbs up and smiling.
While U.S. authorities have not officially said the video is legitimate, the clothing, distinct Marine-issued helmets, and firearms displayed in it are all consistent with sniper uniforms. Two of the four men depicted have been identified.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. John McCain, a former Vietnam prisoner of war, have also condemned the video.
President Obama has set a goal to remove all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by 2014.