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Video Brings Accusations of War Crimes: Marines Urinating on Corpses

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Common Dreams staff

UPDATE: The BBC reports that they have been told by a Marine official the identities of two of the four soldiers in the video.

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UPDATE: Reuters reports that a marine officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, has identified to them the unit behind the video: the 3rd Battallion, 2nd Marines, which is based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

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A video posted online Wednesday shows four U.S. Marines urinating on three corpses in Afghanistan.

In the video, the marines are laughing. One soldier says, "Have a great day, buddy," while another says, "Golden like a shower."

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby stated: "Regardless of the circumstances or who is in the video, this is... egregious, disgusting behavior, unacceptable for anyone in uniform." The NATO-led security force in Afghanistan stated: "This disrespectful act is inexplicable and not in keeping with the high moral standards we expect of coalition forces."

Al Jazeera reports on the Afghan President Karzai's reaction:

"The government of Afghanistan is deeply disturbed by a video that shows American soldiers desecrating dead bodies of three Afghans," said a statement from Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office on Thursday.

"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."

If verified, the marines could face war crimes charges. The Guardian reports:

Despoiling of the dead is illegal under the Geneva conventions as well as under US military law.

Russia Today reports:

While the exact identities of the victims are not known at this time, the three corpses are clad in civilian clothes, not military uniforms. One man, who seems to be the youngest of the pack, is donned in a blood-soaked shirt. The group is laid out in clear terrain sheltered by bushes an adjacent to a wheelbarrow, which could mean that the men were ambushed while participating in civilian activity.

Video of the incident is below. Warning: graphic content.

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