Group calls Marine corpse abuse video overblown
Published: January 17, 2012
WASHINGTON -- Members of the conservative group Move America Forward have lashed out at media coverage of a video of Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters, calling the stories sensationalized and insisting that any discipline leveled against the troops should be light.
The video, made public last week, shows four members of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, during their 2010-2011 deployment to Afghanistan. The men joke about the fallen enemy fighters and appear to relieve themselves on the bodies, actions which could violate U.S. military rules and international war crime statutes.
Marines Corps officials last week said they have identified the men, and are investigating the incident to determine what punishments they should face.
But Debbie Lee, a spokeswoman for Move America Forward and the mother of a Navy SEAL who was killed in Iraq five years ago, said in a statement that the punishment should include only a reprimand and an apology by the men to their unit.
“We do not need to set up a war-crimes tribunal or press criminal charges,” she said.
“We have to understand that these Marines were under fire, those Taliban were trying to kill them, along with other innocent people. Clearly, I think the media went after these young men to try to string them up in front of the public and paint them as monsters or war criminals. … Rather than blow this up into a national security issue, we should deal with these Marines with a little understanding of the tough position they are in.”
Lee also noted that enemy fighters in Afghanistan have been charged with “savage violence” that far exceeds the brief actions of these Marines, citing reports of mass graves of civilians and frequent abuse of women by the Taliban.
Top U.S. and NATO officials have said the Marines involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible, due to the potentially inflammatory nature of the actions.