U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has condemned a video that appears to show U.S. Marines urinating on corpses of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, calling the behavior "utterly deplorable." NBC's Jim Miklaszewski reports.
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Updated at 615 p.m. ET: The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group in the United States, condemned the alleged desecration of corpses in a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and obtained by Reuters. "Any guilty parties must be punished to the full extent allowed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice and by relevant American laws."
WASHINGTON -- A video posted on YouTube shows four combat Marines urinating on the corpses of three dead men in Afghanistan, a U.S. military official told NBC News on Wednesday.
"It should be pretty easy" to identify the Marines in the video, said one official, and those involved "will be held accountable for their actions."
The video, posted on YouTube, shows the four Marines, in full combat gear, standing in a semi-circle over three bodies and one or two can clearly be seen urinating on the corpses.
As the video closes one of the Marines appears to say, "Golden F....... showers."
The Marines, though not identified by name, were confirmed to be a sniper team out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., U.S. military officials told NBC News. They were deployed to southern Afghanistan from early 2011 until August of 2011.
In a formal statment, a Marine Corps official said: "The actions portrayed are not consistent with our core values and are not indicative of the character of the Marines in our Corps.
At first, the Marines could not determine whether the incident took place in Iraq or Afghanistan, but it was later determned to be Afghanistan.
Jim Miklaszewski is NBC News' chief Pentagon correspondent. Courtney Kube is an NBC News producer.
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