UPDATED: CNN Contributor On Marines Urinating On Dead Bodies: "Supposed To Be A Scandal"? "I'd Drop Trou And Do It Too"
Research ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
On her radio show, CNN contributor and Big Journalism editor Dana Loesch cheered on an Internet video reportedly showing U.S. Marines urinating on what appear to be dead Afghans, saying she would "drop trou and do it too." The video has been widely condemned by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, U.S. military commanders, foreign policy experts and others as depicting conduct that "does not reflect our values" and may endanger Afghanistan peace talks.
Video Posted Online Shows Marines Urinating On Bodies Of What Appears To Be Dead Afghans. From a January 12 CNN.com article:
The video shows four men dressed in Marine combat gear urinating on what appeared to be the dead bodies of three men on the ground in front of them.
One of the men says, "Have a great day, buddy." A voice asks, "You got it on the video?" to which another voice responds, "Yeah." Another jokes, "Golden, like a shower."
It was not clear who shot or posted the 39-second video or where, though a U.S. official said it was a "reasonable conclusion" it was filmed in Afghanistan. [CNN.com, 1/12/12]
Loesch: "I'd Drop Trou And Do It Too." From the January 12 edition of St. Louis-based KFTK's The Dana Show:
LOESCH: All right, we got some cool points to get into, and then we are going to get some of your calls in as well. It's 'cause I've had a lot of caffeine. It's snowing here, folks. Cool points, we play audio and we award out points based upon its level of heinousness or awesomeness. All right, play audio sound bite two. And we're, I'm sure, going to be talking about this in the second hour as well.
Marines were -- there's a -- now, we have a bunch of progressives that are talking smack about our military because there were Marines caught urinating on corpses -- Taliban corpses. Listen:
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER [audio clip]: The U.S. Military is investigating a video showing what appears to be troops urinating on the dead bodies of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. The footage of what seems to be U.S. Marines has been uploaded to several sites including video sharing site YouTube. The film could be another blow for America after previous scandals like the abuses at Iraq's Abu Ghraib --
LOESCH: OK, stop this right here. Stop this right here.
Can someone explain to me if there's supposed to be a scandal that someone pees on the corpse of a Taliban fighter? Someone who was -- as part of an organization murdered over 3,000Americans? I'd drop trou and do it, too. That's me, though. I want a million cool points for these guys. Is that harsh to say?
Come on, people. This is a war.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cool points.
LOESCH: What do you think this is? What do people think this is? I am totally not politically correct, I told you this. What -- do you think that we're going to sit down and have tea?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it's nothing compared to what happened in the prison in Iraq. That's different, completely different from when this --
LOESCH: Completely different story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Completely different.
LOESCH: Yeah. Completely different story. So they urinated on the corpse of a dead Taliban member, a dead terrorist.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And why did they film it?
LOESCH: They urinated on a -- I don't know why. I don't get that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why?
LOESCH: I don't get that. But, sorry, that -- I don't -- do I have a problem with that as a citizen of the United States? No, I don't. Sorry, I don't. So, moving on. There's the end of that controversy right there. [The Dana Show, 1/12/12]
Loesch: "They're Dead Terrorists. I Could Care Less." From the January 12 edition of St. Louis-based KFTK's The Dana Show:
LOESCH: My whole entire point is that these individuals -- like they're using this example as an issue to wage against our military and our war -- or, no our military and our soldiers, period -- to make our military look like a bunch of murderers and a bunch of bad people. Look what -- no, no, no, no, no. That's not going to be used as an example to make our military look bad. I mean, this is -- that's what it is.
They're saying, Oh, look, this is our military. We've told you before how they're uneducated, and stupid, and everything else, you've heard callers call into this show that say, oh, the reason they go in the military is because they can't get a job anywhere else. It's infuriating. It's insulting. And I'm not going to let that be used as an excuse. I mean, that's just -- and we can agree to disagree on it. They're dead terrorists. I could care less.
They are dead terrorists. These are people who have -- are part of a group who murdered over 3,000 Americans, some of them children, some of them expectant mothers. I will not show courtesy. So, you know, throw them over the cliff into the ocean. I don't care. But I don't think that these soldiers, these Marines, who are on video doing this, the military can handle it how the military wants to handle it.
But I'm not going to join into the chorus of going after these individuals and using them as -- to paint the military as bad and all that.
These Taliban have done more to the United States than this video, and people are trying to act as though somehow what terrorism has done to this country is equal to any offense that could be caused from the video. That is stupid. I'm not even going to bother giving you more in-depth analysis other than to say it's stupid. [The Dana Show, 1/12/12]
Loesch Responds To Criticism: I Was "Defending" Marines From "Overly-Dramatic Hysteria," "Using Absurdity To Highlight Absurdity." From a January 13 BigJournalism.com blog post:
Yesterday on my radio show I discussed the topic of the Marines videotaping themselves urinating on dead Taliban fighters. The usual mob of progressive haters started campaigning on Twitter and complaining to CNN. [...]
There is a difference in advocating for the Marines to break the law, which I didn't do, and defending them from overly-dramatic hysteria. I was using absurdity to highlight absurdity. It's absurd to desecrate corpses but it's not wrong to hate terrorists who are trying to kill our troops-and us. And I'm not in uniform-so I am free to express what a lot of Americans feel about the controversy, even if it makes some pony-tailed academics feel uncomfortable.
The progressive left chose to include CNN in their attack because they don't like that the network-any network-features conservative voices and have been throwing everything at the wall to get me removed since the very beginning.
My entire point of the past two days was to highlight the absurd reaction from militant troop-bashers to these Marines. In my Twitter timeline yesterday progressives called our military "killers, kids, barbaric trash, murderers ..." The only time soldiers are celebrated by the left is when they engage in protests like OWS. The rest of the time they're demonized. They get the red carpet rolled out for them, too. [BigJournalism.com, 1/13/12]
Secretaries Of Defense And State, Military Commanders Condemn Tape As "Inconsistent With Our Values"
"I have seen the footage, and I find the behavior depicted in it utterly deplorable," U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a statement. "I condemn it in the strongest possible terms."
Panetta said he has ordered the Marine Corps and International Security Assistance Force Commander Gen. John Allen "to immediately and fully investigate the incident."
"This conduct is entirely inappropriate for members of the United States military and does not reflect the standards of values our armed forces are sworn to uphold," Panetta's statement said. "Those found to have engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent." [CNN.com, 1/12/12]
Sec. Panetta: Video Could Endanger Peace Talks With Taliban. In a January 13 article, the Associated Press reported:
Asked about possible implications for peace talks, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S. remained strongly committed to supporting Afghan efforts.
Panetta, however, said the incident could endanger the talks.
"The danger is that this kind of video can be misused in many ways to undermine what we are trying to do in Afghanistan and the possibility of reconciliation," Panetta said at Fort Bliss, Texas, adding it's important for the U.S. to move quickly to "send a clear signal to the world that the U.S. will not tolerate this kind of behavior and that is not what the U.S. is all about." [Associated Press, 1/13/12]
Secretary Of State Clinton: Behavior "Absolutely Inconsistent With American Values."Asked about the video during a January 12 press conference, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said:
Well, Jill, first I want to express my total dismay at the story concerning our Marines, who I have the highest respect and admiration for. But I share completely the views expressed by Secretary Panetta earlier today. I join him in condemning the deplorable behavior that is reflected in this video. It is absolutely inconsistent with American values, with the standards of behavior that we expect from our military personnel and the vast, vast military personnel, particularly our Marines, hold themselves to. So I know Secretary Panetta has ordered a complete investigation of this incident. Anyone - anyone - found to have participated or known about it, having engaged in such conduct, must be held fully accountable. [Remarks with Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci, 1/12/12, via state.gov]
Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Dempsey: "Actions Like Those ... Serve To Erode The Reputation Of Our Joint Force." In a January 13 article, the Associated Press reported:
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, said he was deeply disturbed by the video and worried that its effects would spread beyond just the Marine Corps.
"Actions like those are not only illegal but are contrary to the values of a professional military and serve to erode the reputation of our joint force," Dempsey said. [Associated Press, 1/13/12]
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Amos: Conduct "Wholly Inconsistent With" Marine Corp's "High Standards Of Conduct." CNN.com reported: "Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos said in a statement the behavior is 'wholly inconsistent with the high standards of conduct and warrior ethos that we have demonstrated throughout our history.'" [CNN.com, 1/12/12]
International Security Assistance Force Spokesman Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson: Actions "Grossly Against All The Moral Values That The Coalition Forces Are Standing For." As reported by CNN.com:
Lt. Gen. Adrian Bradshaw, deputy commander of ISAF, called the actions on the video "disgusting."
"Any acts which treat the dead, enemy or friendly, with disrespect are utterly unacceptable and do not represent the standards we expect of coalition forces," Bradshaw said in a video statement. He said he was speaking on behalf of [ISAF Commander Gen. John] Allen, who is out of the country.
"It is difficult to say what long-term impacts this might have, and I would hesitate to get into speculation, but obviously any sort of footage, any sort of activity of this kind that is grossly against all the moral values that the coalition forces are standing for are very much working against our cause and against everything that we are standing for and that we are here for," said Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson, a NATO ISAF spokesman. "We will find the ones who are responsible and hold them accountable."
An earlier statement from NATO-led forces in Afghanistan said, "ISAF strongly condemns the actions depicted in the video, which appear to have been conducted by a small group of U.S. individuals, who apparently are no longer serving in Afghanistan." [CNN.com, 1/12/12]
Spokesman For Helmand Province Marines: Video's "Hate Does Not Represent The U.S. Marine Corps." From CNN.com: "'We are aware of the video. The hate in it does not represent the U.S. Marine Corps,' said Col. Ricco Player, a spokesman for the Marines in Afghanistan's volatile Helmand province." [CNN.com, 1/12/12]
DOD Spokesman: Behavior "Egregious, Disgusting." From CNN.com: "'Regardless of the circumstances or who is in the video, this is egregious, disgusting behavior,' said Department of Defense spokesman Capt. John Kirby. 'It's hideous. It turned my stomach.'" [CNN.com, 1/12/12]
AP: Naval Criminal Investigative Service Heading Inquiry Will Investigate "Violations Of The U.S. Military Legal Code As Well As The International Laws Of Warfare." From the Associated Press:
Pentagon officials worry that outrage over a video purporting to depict Marines urinating on Taliban corpses will tarnish the reputation of the entire military. Some also fear it could undermine prospects for exploratory Afghan peace talks.
After roundly condemning the Marines' alleged behavior, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and top military leaders on Thursday promised a full investigation and sought to contain the damage at home and abroad.
Panetta also said the incident could endanger the prospects for peace talks, although the Obama administration and the Taliban each voiced readiness Thursday to try peace talks while pledging to carry on the military conflict until their rival objectives are met. The separate statements by senior American and Taliban officials illustrated the improved environment for Afghan reconciliation efforts as well as the daunting task ahead.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the law enforcement arm of the Navy, is heading the main inquiry, which is expected to weigh evidence of violations of the U.S. military legal code as well as the international laws of warfare. Separately, the Marine Corps is doing its own internal investigation.
Pentagon officials said the criminal investigation would likely look into whether the Marines violated laws of war, which include prohibitions against photographing or mishandling bodies and detainees. It also appeared to violate the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice, which governs conduct. Thus, some or all of the four Marines could face a military court-martial or other disciplinary action. [Associated Press, 1/13/12]
Geneva Convention Prohibits "Humiliating Or Degrading Treatment" Against All Persons, Including Combatants Placed Outside The Fight For Any Reason. Article 3 of The Geneva Convention, to which the United States is a signatory, states:
In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:
(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) taking of hostages;
(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;
(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples. [The Geneva Convention, accessed 1/13/12, via the International Committee of the Red Cross]
Uniform Code Of Military Conduct Prohibits "Conduct Of A Nature To Bring Discredit Upon The Armed Forces." Article 134 of The Uniform Code Of Military Conduct states:
Though not specifically mentioned in this chapter, all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty, shall be taken cognizance of by a general, special or summary court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offense, and shall be punished at the discretion of that court. [Uniform Code of Military Conduct, accessed 1/13/12, via au.af.mil]
LA Times: Military Law Expert Says Marines Could Be Charged Under Uniform Code. The Los Angeles Times reported:
The Marines involved could be prosecuted under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, said Eugene Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale Law School. That article states that it is a violation to engage in "conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces."Punishment for violating Article 134 is not spelled out, Fidell said, but would be determined by a military court-martial.
The Marines could also be charged under Article 92, which includes failure to obey an order and dereliction of duty -- serious violations, said Elizabeth Hillman, a professor at Hastings College of the Law at the University of California and president of the National Institute of Military Justice. Conviction of violating Article 92 could bring two years in prison, she said.
The Marines could conceivably be charged with violating the War Crimes Act of 1996, which prohibits "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment," and carries the death penalty. But such a prosecution is unlikely, Fidell said, because Congress in 2006 narrowed the scope of the act out of concern that U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan would be unjustly charged with war crimes.
Under the military justice code, commanders could also be prosecuted and punished for their troops' actions under the principle of command responsibility, Fidell said. If evidence showed that commanders tolerated the behavior on the video, they could face criminal charges, Hillman said. Lesser penalties could include administrative actions that would effectively end an officer's career.
The person or persons who shot the video could also face charges, Fidell said. [The Los Angeles Times, 1/12/12]
Retired Maj. Gen. Spider Marks: "I'm Shocked That It Took Place. This Is Absolutely Outside The Bounds Of Anything That's Trained Or Is Acceptable." From the January 11 edition of CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront:
ERIN BURNETT (Host): General Marks, let me start with you. What's your reaction when you see this? Are you shocked that this sort of thing happens or is this something that as awful as it is you know happens and you're shocked the fact that they videotaped it?
MAJ. GEN. SPIDER MARKS, U.S. ARMY GENERAL (RET.): No, I'm shocked that it took place. This is absolutely outside the bounds of anything that's trained or is acceptable and these young men know that and I can't explain their behavior. I need to tell you the Marine Corps will jump all over this. They'll investigate this and there will be some -- there will be some accountability that will come from this. [...]
So to answer your question, it has everything to do with recruiting of our enemies, as Fran indicated. It has less to do with the Marine Corps or our Department of Defense in terms of bringing great young men and women on board. I'm not concerned about that. Sadly, behavior like this often occurs, it's really very aberrant. This is a digital form of scalping. It's just -- it should not have occurred and I know that chain of command is going to figure out why. [CNN,Erin Burnett OutFront,1/11/12, via CNN.com]
Bush National Security Adviser Frances Fragos Townsend: Act Is "Illegal," Video Will Be Used To Recruit Terrorists. From the January 11 edition of CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront:
BURNETT: Fran, let me ask you, I know obviously you were advising the Bush administration when the Abu Ghraib pictures started coming out. Those started in a trickle and then became something more. Does this to you feel like an isolated event or --
FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, G. W. BUSH NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Look, based on what we know at the moment, it does look like an isolated event, but what you have to understand and what gets lost to people around the world when they see this picture and this horrible video is that this is contrary to U.S. policy, it's illegal. It's against the uniform code of military justice and that's why there will be an accountability review. But what happens is it gets a life of its own and so it's used by people like the Taliban and al-Qaeda to recruit, to train, to inspire and to raise money. And so it has -- and awful as it is in and of itself it has consequences that go on far beyond just this story. [CNN,Erin Burnett OutFront, 1/11/12, via CNN.com]
Bush, Administration Officials Apologized For Abu Ghraib Prisoner Abuse: "A Stain On Our Country's Honor"
April 2004: Photos Emerge Depicting American Soldiers Abusing Iraqi Prisoners. In 2004, photos emerged showing American soldiers at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison in abusing Iraqi prisoners in order to make them talk. As The New York Times noted, CBS News reported that the Army "had photographs showing a detainee with wires attached to his genitals and another showing a dog attacking an Iraqi prisoner. The program also reported that the Army's investigation of the case included a statement from an Iraqi detainee who charges that a translator hired to work at the prison raped a male juvenile prisoner." [The New York Times, 4/29/04]
President Bush Apologized For Abu Ghraib Abuse: "It's A Stain On Our Country's Honor And Our Country's Reputation." From a May 6, 2004, USA Today article:
President Bush issued his first outright apology Thursday for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers, saying photographs of the mistreatment made Americans "sick to our stomachs."
In a White House briefing with Jordan's King Abdullah, Bush said he told Abdullah that "I was sorry for the humiliation suffered by the Iraqi prisoners and the humiliation suffered by their families."
Bush's apology, which he stopped short of giving in two interviews with Arab television stations Wednesday, came as the administration continued frantic efforts to control the damage from the prisoner abuse scandal.
The president continued to insist that guilty parties will be brought to justice. In addition to probes of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison, investigations have been launched into the deaths of at least 10 Iraqi prisoners at U.S. prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"It's a stain on our country's honor and our country's reputation," Bush said. "I am sickened by what I saw and sickened that people got the wrong impression." [USA Today, 5/6/04]
Condoleezza Rice: Abu Ghraib Photos Were "Sickening" And "Outrageous." From a May 4, 2004, CNN article:
Facing anger at home and abroad, the Bush administration is moving aggressively to signal it is taking seriously the abuse of Iraqi prisoners detailed in an internal military report.
In a speech before the Anti-Defamation League, Rice said the activities shown in photos broadcast last week of mistreatment of Iraqi detainees at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad were "sickening" and "outrageous." [CNN.com, 5/4/04]
Colin Powell: "Conduct Depicted In [Abu Ghraib] Photos" Was "Immoral," "Stunned Every American." From the May 4, 2004, CNN article:
Speaking from the United Nations, Secretary of State Colin Powell condemned the conduct depicted in the photos as "immoral."
The pictures "stunned every American," Powell told reporters after a meeting on the Middle East. "They showed acts that are despicable. The president has spoken to this. It is totally out of character of what we would expect from our men and women in uniform." [CNN.com, 5/4/04]
Donald Rumsfeld: Abu Ghraib Photos "Deeply Disturbing," And "Un-American." From the May 4, 2004, CNN article:
Labeling the Abu Ghraib pictures "deeply disturbing," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the alleged behavior of the U.S. troops in the pictures was "totally unacceptable and un-American."
Rumsfeld said the Pentagon would pursue charges against those involved. But he defended the Defense Department's handling of the matter, saying an investigation was under way and disclosed three months before the pictures became public. [CNN.com, 5/4/04]
Geller: "I Love These Marines." In a January 11 post on her blog, Pamela Geller wrote:
CAIR has whipped itself up into an Islamic frenzy because a video surfaced that appears to show US Marines combat gear urinating on several dead jihadis.
Here's the thing. Hamas liars, CAIR, say jihad and pure Islam is "fringe," "extremist." So why do they CAIR about disrespecting the Taliban? According to CAIR lies, Taliban and jihadists do not represent Islam, they have "hijacked Islam"; so why would CAIR care about "respect"?
CAIR calls these Marines immoral, but considers honor killings, clitorectomies, forced marriage, child marriage, polygamy, subjugation of women, slaughter of non-Muslims, Jew hatred moral?
Would anyone have CAIRed if Marines urinated on dead Nazi soldiers during WWII? (Anyone besides CAIR and nazis [sic], that is).
I love these Marines. Perhaps this is the infidel interpretation of the Islamic ritual of washing and preparing the body for burial. [Atlas Shrugs, 1/12/12]
Geller Frequently Makes Extreme And Anti-Muslim Comments. From an August 2010 Geller profile by the Religion News Service:
Pamela Geller, a Long Island native who writes the blog "Atlas Shrugs," said she was the "quintessential New York City career girl" before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Since then, she has co-founded groups dedicated to fighting the "Islamization" of America, sponsored anti-Muslim ads in several cities, and, more recently, become a near daily presence on television news programs. [...]
Now, even Muslim groups reluctantly acknowledge Geller is front and center in the mosque debate. "People say don't give her too much credit, she's a fringe character," said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "But she is a fringe character who every day is on CNN, Fox, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. She is the driving force behind the Islamic center campaign."
Some media experts doubt Geller's influence, though, and question why reporters have given her controversial views a platform. Postings on "Atlas Shrugs" have included a video suggesting Muslims have sex with goats, a doctored picture showing President Obama urinating on an American flag, and a fake image of new Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan in Nazi garb.
Geller has also accused Obama of anti-Semitism, said that he does the bidding of "Islamic overlords," and posted an essay suggesting that the president is the love child of Malcolm X. [Religion News Service, 8/20/10]