One of the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan who filmed themselves urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters in 2011 has spoken out about the incident.
According to a report on the WSOC-TV web site, Sgt. Joseph Chamblin said the sniper team he led was on a mission to stop the Taliban insurgents making roadside bombs.
“These were the same guys that were killing our family, killing our brothers,” he told the Charlotte, N.C. station.
One soldier, Sgt. Mark Bradley, was killed by an IED blast days before the incident.
“We’re human,” Chamblin said. “Who wouldn’t (want to get revenge) if you lost your brother or mother? Wouldn’t you want revenge?”
Chamblin told the outlet that after a gun battle in enemy territory, nearly a dozen Taliban insurgents were dead, and he and his colleagues were ordered to recover the bodies.
The video went viral on YouTube.
“It’s not like it was a conscious thought or decision but one was like, ‘You know what, [urinate] on these guys.’ And some said, ‘Yeah, [urinate] on them,’” Chamblin said.
Channel 9 asked Chamblin if the team thought about how the behavior could put other American troops in danger.
“No,” he said. “And if anything, it was more of a psychological effect on the enemy because if an infidel touches the body, they’re not going to Mecca or paradise. So, now these insurgents see what happens when you mess with us.”
Chamblin said he regrets any repercussions the incident had on the Marines.
“But do I regret doing it? Hell no,” Chamblin said, adding he would do it again.
Then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called the actions “utterly deplorable,” and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed to hold the Marines accountable.
“Do you want the Marine Corps to be a group of Boy Scout pretty boys, or do you want guys that will go out and kill the people trying to take advantage of your country and kill Americans?” Chamblin told WSOC. “Which do you want? Because you can’t have both.”
Chamblin was court-martialed and pleaded guilty in December to urinating on the bodies and dereliction of duty for not stopping junior marines. The Marines fined him $500 and demoted him.
Chamblin is now writing a book called “Into Infamy.” He said it will be dedicated to Bradley, the brother they didn’t bring home.
“A lot of the stories are from my guys,” Chamblin told the station.
After 15 years of service, Chamblin will soon enter civilian life.
“I didn’t do it to be appreciated,” he said. “I did it because I love my country and what America stands for. I don’t regret my service.”