One of the Marines shown urinating on three corpses in Afghanistan in a widely distributed Internet video was the unit's leader, two U.S. military officials have told McClatchy, raising concerns that poor command standards contributed to an incident that may have damaged the U.S. war effort.
Even before the unit deployed to southern Afghanistan last year, it suffered from disciplinary problems while the troops were based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., the officials said.
As Pentagon officials investigate the incident — the latest in a string of high-profile cases of U.S. troops abusing Afghans and Iraqis on the battlefield — the revelations renew questions about whether the U.S. military will hold commanders responsible when their troops misbehave or commit crimes.
Despite U.S. military doctrine stating that commanders ultimately are responsible for their units' behavior in combat — and Geneva conventions barring the desecration of dead bodies — the Pentagon rarely has charged commanders in cases where troops have knowingly killed, injured or mistreated Afghans and Iraqis. Instead, lower-ranking troops or those directly responsible for crimes have been charged while commanders have only faced administrative penalties, like dismissal or demotion.
TVNL Comment:In 2004, when Iraqis desecrated the bodies of four Blackwater contractors - men who participated in the invasion and occupation of their country - the US destroyed Fallujah, killing men, women and children indiscriminantly. White phosphate was used in the attack, and thousands of civilians died. But, of course, all this was done to guarantee our freedoms. Yeah, right.