on Monday announced punishments for six U.S. Army soldiers
and three Marines, who pleaded guilty and been sanctioned for
urinating on the corpses of Afghan Taliban fighters and posing for
pictures with the dead, said a U.S. military officials.
“Three Marines received non-judicial punishment today for
violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for their role
in the desecration and filming of deceased Taliban that became
public in January 2012,” a statement released on Monday.
“The troops were disciplined under an administrative procedure,”
it said, without detailing the penalties given, but noting that
action against other Marines involved in the incident would be
announced at a later date.
The actions depicted in the video took place during a
counter-insurgency operation in the restive Musa Qala district of
Helmand province, in southwestern Afghanistan in July 2011.
In the video, four men in US
camouflage combat uniforms appear to be urinating on the corpses
of three dead Taliban fighters. One of the soldiers joked: "Have a
nice day, buddy".
Monday’s statement, from the Marines’ public affairs office in
Quantico, Virginia, said the three non-commissioned officers
pleaded guilty “under the terms of an agreement” and their names
would not be released.
It said one Marine admitted violating military law by wrongfully
posing for an unofficial photograph with human casualties and
urinating on the body of a deceased Taliban soldier, which was
“prejudicial to good order and discipline.”
Another Marine pleaded guilty to posing for an unofficial
photograph with human casualties and making a video recording of
The third trooper to be punished so far pleaded guilty to “failing
to report the mistreatment of human casualties by other Marines,”
and “making a false official statement” during the Naval Criminal
Investigative Service probe.
But the exact punishments were not disclosed Monday, and it was
not clear whether the lack of criminal charges would trigger any
protests in Afghanistan. Administrative punishments could include
demotions, extra duty, forfeiture of pay or a letter in their
file. They also could stall future advancement and end military
The scandal was one in a long line to tarnish the image of the
U.S. military in the past decade, from the Abu Ghraib prison abuse
images in Iraq to more recent convictions of troops who killed
Afghan civilians for sport.
Panetta said at the time that the troops’ behavior was “utterly
deplorable,” while U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke
of her “total dismay” at the acts, vowing that the culprits would
be found and punished.
Punishment from administrative proceedings -- as opposed to courts
martial -- can include reduction in rank, restriction to a
military base, extra duties, forfeiture of pay, a reprimand, or a
combination of such measures.