A video that surfaced Wednesday that allegedly depicts a group of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan urinating on corpses that they called “dead Taliban” could complicate nascent peace talks in the decade-long war there. The act portrayed on the video faced universal condemnation from the military, politicians, and the Afghan president Hamid Karzai.
With the U.S. expected to begin talks soon with the Afghan Taliban insurgency, all parties were quick to distance themselves from the act. The Marines said in a statement that the actions “are not consistent with our core values and are not indicative of the character of the Marines in our Corps.” In a separate statement, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said a criminal probe was being launched and added:
This disrespectful act is inexplicable and not in keeping with the high moral standards we expect of coalition forces.
ISAF strongly condemns the actions depicted in the video, which appear to have been conducted by a small group of U.S. individuals, who apparently are no longer serving in Afghanistan.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said of the incident, “I condemn it in the strongest possible terms.” Panetta has ordered an investigation to the matter.
Afghans offered across-the-board condemnation as well. “It was inhuman and despicable, an unforgivable act which we condemn in the strongest terms,” said a Taliban spokesman. Karzai called the act “completely inhumane” and asked that those found responsible by an investigation get the “most severe punishment” possible.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who served in the U.S. military, said:
Here’s a handful of obviously undisciplined young people of the hundred and some thousand Marines that we have. And it makes me so sad. There should be an investigation and these young people should be punished, but it does great damage. It makes me so sad.
Not everyone, however, was saddened by the events. Anti-Muslim activist Pam Geller wrote in favor of the incident. “I love these Marines,” she said, adding, “Perhaps this is the infidel interpretation of the Islamic ritual of washing and preparing the body for burial.” A former Republican National Committee researcher tweeted wondering, “this is a story?” He added: “I could care less. Liberal media at work.” Michael Goldfarb, a neoconseravtive Republican operative (a former McCain campaign spokesman), lobbyist and, as of recently, chairman of a new conservative online media venture, retweeted the comments from the RNC researcher.
Charles Johnson finds a Breitbart blogger joining the right-wing applause. “Pile them up, let them rot, piss on them,” writes Robert K. Wilcox.