Three Marines received nonjudicial punishment rather than courts martial for their roles in the desecration of enemy corpses during a July 2011 incident. The Marine Corps Combat Development Command made the announcement. The Pentagon announcement said the three Marines pled guilty as part of an agreement.
The Pentagon said one non-commissioned officer confessed to violating a lawful general order by “wrongfully posing for an unofficial photograph with human casualties.” The Marine also pled guilty to urinating on a deceased Taliban soldier.
Another NCO pled guilty to “wrongfully video recording” the incident while a third staff NCO was charged with “failing to report the mistreatment of human casualties to other Marines and making false statements to investigators.”
Marine officials said more disciplinary action will be announced. Nonjudicial punishment may include reduction in rank, base restriction, extra duties, forfeiture of pay, a formal reprimand or a combination of those measures, the Pentagon press release noted. The actions also become part of the Marine’s permanent record and may impact promotion and re-enlistment eligibility. Exactly how the three were punished was not discussed. Their names also were not released.
In another incident involving the handling of Qurans at a library for detainees at Bagram Airfield, six soldiers will receive unspecified nonjudicial punishment.
Army Brig. Gen. Bryan Watson, appointed by U.S. Central Command to investigate the February, 2012, incident, said he found “plenty of blame to go around” but stressed that none of the participants acted maliciously.
In the incident, some 100 Qurans and other religious material were burned to stop detainees from transmitting messages to each other.
Watson said there was a general “lack of communications among leaders and commands” and mid-level and junior leaders “chose the easy way instead of the right way to address a problem.” He said ignorance on how to handle Qurans and religious tracts” was a factor as was “poor adherence to established operating procedures.”
But the investigating general said his biggest concern came when U.S. soldiers ignored the advice of their Afghan counterparts.
“Afghan soldiers at the facility tried to make the American soldiers understand the gravity of the situation, but they were rebuffed,” Watson reported.