Debating reaction to Marine video
Video purports to show Marines urinating on corpses An image captured on You Tube shows what appear to be U.S. Marines urinating on bodies
January 16th, 2012
02:40 PM ET

Debating reaction to Marine video

By Barbara Starr

Update: Perry repeated his accusation in Monday night's debate.

The quick response from the U.S. military and the Obama administration to condemn the Marines in that now infamous video has some, including a Republican presidential candidate, questioning if this was unfair to those involved.

The video of the four Marines urinating on bodies that may be Taliban fighters has resulted in a military investigation that could lead to criminal charges against the Marines.

"What is really disturbing to me is just, kind of, the over-the-top rhetoric from this administration and their disdain for the military," said Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry on CNN's State of the Union. "I mean, these kids made a mistake. There's not any doubt about it. They shouldn't have done it. It's bad. But to call it a criminal act, I think, is over the top."

One Marine Corps colonel, a veteran of Iraq, condemned the act, but thought there were just too many statements of outrage from too many high ranking officials including Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the commandant of the Marine Corps and the top commanders in Afghanistan and other high ranking administration officials.

"Young Marines have been doing stupid things forever, and they will keep doing them. Are we overreacting by having all these high level folks put out statements of outrage?" the colonel wondered. The colonel would only speak if no name was used.

Another colonel, a combat veteran of Helmand province in Afghanistan, where the four Marines are believed to have done their deed, was blunt in a different way but also spoke to me only if no named was used because the colonel was not authorized to speak to the media,

"I would have court martialed them right away," snapped the colonel.

One of the most respected pro-military voices in Congress, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said he had no problem with the Marine Corps looking into the possibility of criminal charges.

"I don't object to the commandant of the Marine Corps looking into this. It's a breakdown in discipline, is what it is," McCain told Candy Crowley on CNN's State of the Union. He added that in the U.S. military "we don't lower ourselves to the level of the enemy."

So who's right? Has the response been too much?

Legally there isn't room for debate. The matter has to be investigated. Under the Geneva Conventions and laws governing warfare, the appropriate treatment of war dead, as well as wounded and captured personnel, is an absolute requirement. A major reason for this is every country, including the United States, wants its troops correctly treated, therefore it must do the same for everyone else. If this is not adhered to, how can you object the next time U.S. bodies are desecrated as they were when dead troops were dragged through Mogadishu?

In fact, legal experts say, a violation of the Geneva Conventions could be considered a war crime.

And if the troops didn't know that, then there are their own regulations. For years, U.S. troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan have operated under the so-called "General Order #1," which governs personal behavior in the war zone. No drinking, no pornography and no desecration and taking pictures of dead bodies.

So the question now for the Marine Corps is what to do about all of this? Throw the book at these young troops to make an example of them? Put them in jail? Or just discharge them, ending their careers?

Senior officials have said they are concerned about adverse Islamic reaction around the world, reaction that has yet to actually emerge. If it does in the coming days, will the punishment be more severe? If there is little reaction, will they just quietly go away?

soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Unbelievable

    This is a mistake? Forgetting to clean your rifle before a shootout is a mistake. A piece of gear lost because it was not properly strapped down is a mistake. Peeing on dead bodies is a heinous crime. If they were stateside they would be arrested. I find it funny how the unnamed colonel pretty much said that the leadership in the Marines sucks because Marines always have and will continue to make mistakes. Maybe the Marines should implant a brain in their jarheads?

    January 20, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Reply
  2. Patriot Warrior

    Marine urinators’ BIG mistake?

    Neglecting to apply for an NEA grant for performance art.

    ACLU clergy will never forgive that heresy.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:26 am | Reply
  3. MichelleS

    You shame the uniform also. Thats NOT what a Marine is, and I dare you to ask any purple heart recipient to agree with you.

    January 17, 2012 at 7:39 am | Reply
    • efffThatCountry

      I could care less....I lost several family members and friends in that God-forsaken country....I don't remember the Taliban abiding to the Geneva conventation when they were killed. You have no idea. I'd piss on all of them if I had the chance. Remember every innocent victim that was beheaded or hung on camera, gargling their last breath. You don't know what it's like for a small town to bury their children. I also served in special ops and I hope that whole country burns in hell.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:38 am | Reply
      • War Criminal General Sherman

        Guess they should've stayed in their trailers and continued to inbreed. Would've been safer than joining the armed forces simply because they were too lazy and stupid to find a job. Nobody forced them to go over there – and now they're dead. Tough shit.

        January 17, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
      • Free Bradley Manning

        Another bullshit chicken-hawk. "Special Ops", my ass. I'll bet the only thing you've 'served', is time.

        January 17, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
      • Dont Free Bradley Manning

        All the bullshit comments come from people who never hard to server. Whether it's for a pay check or duty. War is hell and that's that. The Taliban deserve as much respect as your chicken shit asses. You wouldn't know the first thing about being a patriot. Y ou never had to put your life on the line. You never had to return fire on somebody intent on killing you. All you know is talk. All you know is sitting behind a keyboard and mouthing off. You're just a runt piece of shit and that's it. Until you server, you have no business commenting on any of this you pathetic pieces of shit.

        January 17, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
      • Lincoln The Drunk

        I seriously doubt that Don't Free ever 'server'. In fact, I seriously believe him to be an armchair warrior. A chicken-hawk. A bullshit artist. A hypocrite. What I don't have any doubts about though, is his lack of literacy. I guess our military's so desperate for cannon fodder, that they'll literally accept any half-wit willing to die for nothing.

        January 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  4. canadafirstaid

    Taking the video – isn't the issue here. Posting the video – isn't the issue here. What is at issue, is – trained, professional U.S. Military doing what they did. Who was the highest ranking US Military person present, at the time If he had direct knowledge and allow this to happen, then the full weight of US Military justice should be bought to bear. cfa

    January 17, 2012 at 7:16 am | Reply
  5. CE

    I think its absolutely ridiculous to draw so much attention to these 4 Marines. Court Martial, War Crimes, really? It seems so easy to judge sitting at home or work behind a desk. How about all you "BIG TIME" politicians get out in the freezing cold desert with the USMC and walk in their shoes, watch as your closest buddies are killed by these same insurgents and see how you handle it. I'm so sick of all the media attention that point out the negative in our troops. This has received more attention than the Marine that was killed not long ago in SC. RIDICULOUS! If you cant stand behind our troops, your free to stand in FRONT of them.

    January 16, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Reply
    • MichelleS

      Again I repeat myself: You dont get to make excuses when you wear the uniform of the United States of America. If they are stupid kids, they should have been screened OUT in the recruiting process. I vote for dishonorable discharge.

      January 17, 2012 at 7:33 am | Reply
      • efffThatCountry

        Until you serve....shut your dirty mouth!

        January 17, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • robroy

      there's a simple way to stand in front marine CE,just wait for a good breeze,stand upwind and watch him piss on himself RIGHT?

      January 17, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Reply
  6. william

    Let’s take a look at this. First if you are reading this your education level is most likely higher than most. I am currently in Afghanistan for the second time and know the frustrations of being the guy on the ground day in and day out. Can any one of you tell me was it any different for you when a young service member looks you in the eyes and tell you that they don’t want to DIE! Like it happened to me, And then the next day you are told by your command to go out and sit in an area and kill another human how did you handle it. Yes those guys were wrong but how many time had they been in combat one week killing and the next at home with family please tell me HOW DID YOU COPE! The Marine urination video was there way of coping!

    January 16, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Reply
  7. B P

    One thing I'd say is, a dead man demands respect. You killed him, took his life away from him. That's enough of a punishment. A true soldier would be man enough to leave it at that and show respect towards the mortal remains. Human beings do bad things because they are misguided and brainwashed. These are just pawns that carry out commands of greater evil masterminds. Those evil masterminds are the actual culprits. They brainwash these poor people in the name of religion. If there is so much hate and negativity in these marines, it should be directed towards those terrorist leaders and not these brainless pawns. But I won't expect that level of understanding even from the marines. Too much combat, too mush testosterone, too little brains.

    January 16, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Reply
    • Gnarkill

      shut up BP you fucking hippie, youre whats wrong with america today... everyone has rights... its bullshit, your a moron... you want rights fight for them like me and my brothers... i dont deploy for a year for the fun of it... I do it for freedom, not yours But america as a whole, to keep our country great, not for spineless fools like you to cry about how people who hate america have rights... heres an idea go live with them.

      January 16, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Reply
      • Free Bradley Manning

        You didn't deploy for "freedom". You enlisted because you needed a paycheck. You're about as "patriotic" as the draft dodger GW Bush – 2 years AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard, AND, an 'honorable discharge to boot.

        January 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  8. diablo

    Religion......c'mon its the whole problem. Having served (unfortunately no combat but as a garrison mp on bragg, and attending too many funerals too remember) I too would've pissed on them. Just wouldn't have recorded it.

    January 16, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Reply
    • Dont Free Bradley Manning

      Exactly......they wouldve received my golden shower too.....

      January 17, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Reply
  9. imaguard

    I'm so sick of hearing about "adverse islamic reaction." Nobody ever talks about adverse CHRISTIAN reaction. Giving consideration for such reaction only lends legitimacy to those reactions. Supposedly U.S. foreign policy led to 9/11. BULL****. An unyielding foreign hatred for the American way of life led to 9/11. Now someone suggests that these urinating Marines could lead to an adverse Islamic reaction? MORE BULL****. Investigate and punish the violators swiftly, of course. But we should focus less on analyzing our own overblown media-fueled mistakes through some twisted sense of lending legitimacy to our enemies' actions. Focus more on neutralizing our extremist enemies (the Taliban included) in order to make the world safer for Americans, democracy, and Islam alike.

    January 16, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Reply
    • reality

      Because Christians are already killing millions of people without any punishments.

      January 17, 2012 at 7:58 am | Reply
  10. Cpl. Beddoe, USMC (@usmc81)

    From the perspective of a combat Marine and Purple Heart Recipient:
    http://www.usmc81.com/2012/01/war-is-hell/

    January 16, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Reply
  11. ZECHARIAH 14

    TOO ALL PEOPLE WHO TALK TRASH ABOUT THE MILITARY,BUT YOU NEVER BEEN IN THE US MILITARY BUT YOU ENJOYING THE FREEDOMS OFF THE BACKS OF THE MILITARY IF I HAD MY WAY I PUNCH YOU IN YOUR THROATS YOU COWARDS FAT RATS WHO MAKE ME SICK

    January 16, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Reply
    • Free Bradley Manning

      FUCK YOU, YOU CHICKEN-HAWK COCKSUCKER!

      January 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Reply
      • Dont Free Bradley Manning

        Bradley Manning is going to get his....just like your limited vocabulary runt ass.....

        January 17, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  12. Joseph McNally

    On Thursday last, Three terrorists were convicted in Federal court in New Bern NC of plotting an attack on Marine wives and children at the Quantico VA. Marine base. CNN has been all over the story of four Marines urinating on dead terrorist bodies, but has been conspicuously silent about this. - Is attacking civilians not a war crime? While I can agree that some form of discipline is warranted for the indiscretion of the Marines and the embarrassment to the Corps, it is my opinion that they DO NOT deserve to be prosecuted for war crimes. – I have expressed this opinion to General James Amos, Commandant and Sgt. Major of the Marine Corps Michael Barrett in a letter sent to them at HQ USMC 2 Navy Annex Washington DC 20380. – I encourage any other American who feels the same to send their own letter. - http://www.examiner.com/political-buzz-in-fayetteville/guilty-north-carolina-jihadists-who-targeted-marine-corps-wives-and-children

    January 16, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Reply
  13. RagMcmuffin

    What about the videos of them cutting off our solders heads...I know it was in Iraq but to me they are all the same. My nephew died in October at the Afghanistan/Pakistani mountain border range, therefore I would have desecrated them even more. I just wouldn't have recorded it

    January 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Reply
    • robroy

      my,my RagMcmuffin you've just announced to the world that your just as sick and misguided as those bad boys you Americans proclaimed were running around those mountains of Afghanistan.Are there 2 sets of rules when it comes to desecrating a corpse ?Apparently there's a lot of you Americans,on several blogs who feel these marines should be given high fives and a key to the white house. Remember folks the rest of the world is watching and when you stoop down to the bad boys level your painted with the same brush.You've got to admit folks,there's probably some honorable Taliban fighters that after a day of sniping at coalition troops,he just wants to go back to his cave and hack into your drones software.You know like making an honest living like uniformed folks on the other side.

      January 16, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Reply
      • El Duderino (if you're not into the whole brevity thing)

        robroy, I don't commend nor condemn these Marines, although I wish they would've reconsidered the repercussions before posting this video. That said, If you can equate a Marine peeing on the corpse of an insurgent, to an insurgent who's agenda is to impose Sharia law throughout the world by any means necessary, including killing women and children, then you have no capacity for logical thinking, and I fear that this event has proven how pervasive your condition is within this nation.

        January 16, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
      • Marsha Deloach

        As the mother of a 24 year old retired Army vet blinded at the hands of the TaliBan, I say to bad some smart ass felt the need to put this video out there for the world to see. As for the marines that were videoed, next time do like the TaliBan, put a rag over your head, you know like they did when they cut the head off and videoed it.....think abou it. If you dont like what we think in America well then go the hell home!!! We didnt ask you here but we will sure as hell ask you to leave.

        January 17, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • El Duderino (if you're not into the whole brevity thing)

      RagMcmuffin, my sincerest apologies for such a loss. I'm troubled by the scale of vitriol that has been projected to these individual Marines. Then again, most of us don't have to worry about maniacs trying to kill us with IED's, EFP's, RPG's, mortars, and automatic and sniper weapon systems. A life of dealing with that can change a man's capacity for respect towards his enemies.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Reply
      • robroy

        ah yes El Duderino another case of these individual Marines,how many does this make that the public knows about?if each case were a stone,you'd have quite a pile of gravel between Afghanistan and Iraq.from apache pilots mowing down civilians on a street in Baghdad to chopper pilots mowing down 9 afghan kids gathering firewood on a hillside.you've got troops doing themselves in after returning state side in record numbers.Contractors that go and blow away Iraqi's on street corners and are completely immune[this was a key issue with the Iraqi government,that these contractors be held accountable and your government said no way,nothing like protecting the animals].

        January 16, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
      • USMCvet

        robroy, so, if out of every100 people 95 of them are trying to kill you and there are only 5 "innocents" mixed in, and you're dealing with this condition day in and day out and one day you're faced with the snap decision to pull the trigger or else there is a serious chance you never get to see your family EVER AGAIN, what do you do?

        Unfortunately, these are decisions we, (the uniformed services of the United States of America) are faced with for 7 to 13 months at a time. I'm sorry if it doesn't fit your warped sense of morality or religious beliefs, but in the end if you feel you can do a better job I suggest you pick up a weapon and try your luck, but I'm 100% positive that before too long, even you, with your peace loving tree hugging hippie beliefs would choose your life over theirs.

        The real problem here is the media, you think mistakes in war are a new thing? NO! Its just that there wasn't an inbeded reporter tagging along with every single patrol that leaves the wire. Society doesn't need to see the brutality of war! There is a reason warriors come back from combat with mental problems, but they bare that burden. AND, I'll have you know that warriors have been celebrating victory over their enemies in such "disgusting" ways since the begining of time and warfare inself.

        January 17, 2012 at 4:31 am |
      • Buzzer

        USMC Vet- I get the "crap" these Marines go through, and compared to the things they've endured, this pales in comparison and I could give a rats ass about what the Taliban think and if they're "offended". BUT when these actions put fellow Marines, Soldiers and Airmen in harms way (this may very well will bring out the Afghan or foreigner that was thinking about sitting out this conflict, but now see this and now signs up to strap a IED to his back and run into a security checkpoint), these SPECIFIC individual Marines need their ASSES CHEWED for not having the foresight to see the consequences of their actions.

        January 20, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • MichelleS

      You have emotional problems and Im sorry for your loss. You only make yourself less human and more brute. Go ahead, it actually probably wont bother anyone in that region, but it bothers me. Maybe you should go over there then.

      January 17, 2012 at 7:37 am | Reply
      • Jon

        MichelleS I can tell you don't have a clue what is being said here. USMCvet hit it right on the head. War is ugly and innocent people will die. It's not the innocent people or our military's fault that they are getting killed, it's their leaders dictator's, terrorist attitude that gets everyone killed.

        January 17, 2012 at 10:13 am |
      • Governor

        Who are you to say who stays and who goes? Get off your mantle.

        January 17, 2012 at 10:34 am |
      • Sam

        Michelle S, tell me, how does it affect your life seeing four marines urinating on dead Taliban bodies ? Have you lost any sleep over this ? Do you know these four marines, I mean, were you there with them when this happened ? What excuses do you have to give for your comments ? Do you actually think that these marines stand alone, with only marines supporting them ? No.... army stands behind those marines--with their zippers down. Come on Michelle S, I know that you have never been in a ground combat war in your life. What excuses can you give for that ? Funny you, ready to condemn marine soldiers, and you weren't even there. You are the joke of the day !

        January 17, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
      • MichelleS is an Idiot

        Nuff Said...

        January 17, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
      • robroy

        That's right Jon, those 9 boys who were gathering THEIR firewood on THEIR hillside in THEIR country,who got chewed to pieces by YOUR helicopter gunship,piloted by YOUR boys[who probably watched too many call of duty videos].These 9 boys weren't Taliban,they were just boys trying to survive in one of the harshest countries in the world,only to be snuffed out by some trigger happy shithead who played too many video games.And for you USMCvet, i'm the farthest thing from a tree hugger.I'm 9th generation SCOT. My grandfather stood in freezing water,wearing a kilt for hours fighting with the Scotia Highlanders at Vimy ridge now thats tough!!!!!.Like i said vet i'm no tree hugger.I'm 6 foot 6,280lb i work with a bunch of goons on a rig way up north pumping that stuff that you Americans need to keep your war machine going.Did i mention i'm 9th generation SCOT and i personally along with alot of my co workers don't
        give a FIDDLER'S F@#K about your military logic on why it's alright to be a sick perv with a corpse.

        January 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm |

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