Rep. Allen West (R-FL) weighed in on the controversial videotape of four Marines urinating upon the bodies of dead Taliban in Afghanistan, sending an email to the Weekly Standard in which he calls for the Marines to be duly investigated and punished, but expresses disgust at the reaction of “over-emotional pundits and armchair quarterbacks.”
I have sat back and assessed the incident with the video of our Marines urinating on Taliban corpses. I do not recall any self-righteous indignation when our Delta snipers Shugart and Gordon had their bodies dragged through Mogadishu. Neither do I recall media outrage and condemnation of our Blackwater security contractors being killed, their bodies burned, and hung from a bridge in Fallujah.
West’s advice for critics who have not been personally shot at by the Taliban: “Shut your mouth, war is hell.”
The Taliban, which is already testy about having to wait for American troops to finish withdrawing so they can retake Afghanistan, issued a dire threat: “It is not far that the American invaders will witness the consequences of such actions and will have to confront the extra wrath and hatred of the Afghan masses.” The Taliban have been so angered by this incident that they are unable to focus on their normal activities, such as kidnapping children off the street, pumping them full of drugs, and turning them into human bombs.
The New York Daily News reports that the four Marines in the video have been identified, and investigations are under way:
The men, whose names have not been made public, were members of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, which fought in the southern Afghan province of Helmand for seven months before returning to Camp Lejeune, N.C. last September.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating the incident, while the Marine Corps is conducting its own investigation, officials said.
The Marines have chosen Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser to oversee the probe into the video, the Associated Press reports. He will be responsible for determining what disciplinary actions to take against the snipers involved.
The three-star general will name another officer to lead the internal Marine Corps investigation, according to the Associated Press.
According to TMZ, seven members of the 3rd Battalion were killed in action during that tour of duty.
Official condemnation of the video from the U.S. government has been swift. The New York Daily News quotes Defense Secretary Leon Panetta calling the video “utterly deplorable” and warning that “this kind of video can be misused in many ways to undermine what we are trying to do in Afghanistan and the possibility of reconciliation.” Oddly, the Taliban doesn’t seem worried about undermining the possibility of reconciliation with its relentless savagery.
A roundup of other reactions from the International Business Times:
“This act by American soldiers is simply inhuman and condemnable in the strongest possible terms. We expressly ask the US government to urgently investigate the video and apply the most severe punishment to anyone found guilty in this crime,” said [Afghan President Hamid Karzai] in a statement.
The U.S. Marines Corps and even the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan expressed disappointment over the actions of the American soldiers.
“The actions portrayed are not consistent with our core values and are not indicative of the character of the Marines in our Corps,” a statement from the U.S. Marine Corps said.
“This behaviour dishonours the sacrifices and core values of every service member representing the 50 nations of the coalition,” ISAF said in a statement.
U.S. Defense Department spokesman, Navy Capt. John Kirby, described the image as “disgusting.”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said they have seen similar American brutality before. Mujahid, however, said the clip will not affect talks or a prisoners swap between the insurgents and Western occupiers.
It’s reassuring to know that the noble knights of the Taliban are not so sickened by American brutality that we won’t be able to maintain a good relationship with them, once they slaughter their way back into control of the country. It’s amazing how the memory of so much nightmarish evil can be washed away by the urine of four Marines.