Marine Video: Taliban Uses Questionable Images to Recruit

YouTube image.

The video of four Marines appearing to urinate on the bodies of slain enemy combatants is being used by the Taliban as a recruiting tool according to The Stars and Stripes.

Taliban leaders have already begun using the video for propaganda. In an emailed statement to the Associated Press, group spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said that “During these 10 years American soldiers have tortured our people in various ways, they have shown disrespect to the holy Quran and other holy books, they have burned our bodies, they have killed and tortured our women and children and … have committed other hateful actions.”

To read the full Stars and Stripes article by Leo Shane II HERE.

Panetta Condems Actions, Calls Karzai About Video

Leon E. Panetta appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee during confirmation hearings June 9, 2011. (Defense Department photo)

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has released a statement Thursday strongly condemning the apparent actions of four Marines who appear to be urinating on the bodies of three dead Afghan enemy combatants.

In the statement, Panetta said he has seen the footage and finds the behavior depicted in it “utterly deplorable.”

“I condemn it in the strongest possible terms,” Panetta said. “I have ordered the Marine Corps and ISAF commander [Marine Corps] 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 or values our armed forces are sworn to uphold. Those found to have engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent.”

Additionally, the Pentagon press secretary said Panetta called Afghan President Hamid Karzai about the video Thursday.

“The secretary expressed his view that the conduct depicted in the footage is utterly deplorable, and that it does not reflect the standards or values American troops are sworn to uphold,” George Little said. “The secretary also noted in the conversation that he has ordered that the video be immediately and fully investigated.”

You can read the full press release HERE.

Military Investigates: Marines Appear to Urinate on the Dead

A blurred image taken from the video that appeared on YouTube. Courtesy of The Week UK website.

Pentagon officials are investigating a video that showed up on the internet Wednesday. The video appears to show four Marines urinating on dead bodies of apparent insurgents according to The Week, United Kingdom edition.

Associated Press reports that the Marines have yet to verify the authenticity of the video that appeared on YouTube.

A Marine Corps spokesman, Lt. Col. Stewart Upton, added, “Allegations of Marines not doing the right thing in regard to dead Taliban insurgents are very serious and, if proven, represent a failure to adhere to the high standards expected of American military personnel.”

A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. John Kirby, said the video is deeply troubling.

Veterans Legislation Proposed for Florida’s 2012 Session

Photo courtesy of website.

Florida lawmakers are considering about 70 different bills that affect the state’s 1.6 million veterans. Some of the bills are “feel good” or advocacy legislation like the one that establishes August 7th as Purple Heart Day (SB276) and a few bills are aimed at directly helping student veterans.

Florida Department of Veterans Affairs executive director Mike Prendergast is tracking two key omnibus bills: Senate Bill 922, sponsored by Sen. Mike Bennett, and House Bill 977, sponsored by Rep. Bryan Nelson.

“The senate bill will give student veterans an advantage already extended to student athletes and the legislation would allow for early course registration,” Prendergast said. “The reason for that is the GI Bill, the modern GI Bill, has a time certain specified. They only have 36 months benefits.”

Another student veterans’ bill, SB164, sponsored by Sen. Mike Fasano, waives residency requirements giving all student veterans “in-state” tuition rates. Prendergast said estimates show that would cost state colleges and universities more than $11 million.

Florida VA Executive Director Mike Prendergast.

“We’ve got to look for opportunities to take care of veterans appropriately but not do it in such a way that it’s going to cost the taxpayers considerably more at a time when we just don’t have the money to go around,” Prendergast said.

The tuition waiver was wrapped into one of the omnibus bills, but it could be amended or eliminated. Several student veterans’ organizations in Florida are lobbying to get the waiver.

But, Prendergast said active-duty service members assigned to Florida already can get an in-state tuition rate and have the opportunity to apply for residency status by getting a Florida drivers’ license, registering to vote and establishing their residency through their military personnel office.

Senate Bill 138 which is aimed at helping military veterans in the criminal justice system has been included in the SB922 omnibus bill.

“It allows counties to establish programs to divert a veteran who is charged with a criminal offense into an appropriate treatment program if they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury or substance abuse disorders,” Prendergast said.

At this time, his department is neutral on the bill because Prendergast said the House and Senate versions differ and some judges have concerns.

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