US soldiers filmed burning bodies in Afghanistan

toontra

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The US military says it will investigate claims that US soldiers publicly burnt the bodies of two Taleban fighters in Afghanistan.
It comes after an Australian TV station broadcast footage of what appear to be US soldiers burning the bodies.
The footage shows other troops apparently taunting residents of a nearby village, which they believed to be harbouring the Taleban.
The act of burning corpses is a violation of Islamic tradition.
The US military has condemned the alleged acts, saying they will be "aggressively investigated". . . . . .

It shows a group of five soldiers standing on a rocky ledge, watching two burning corpses with arms and legs outstretched.
Islamic tradition states that bodies should be washed, prayed over, wrapped in white cloth and buried within 24 hours.
The soldiers initially said they were burning the bodies for hygiene reasons.
The TV report also suggests that the incident could be in violation of the Geneva Convention on the treatment of enemy remains, which states that the dead should be honourably interred.
Later footage showed two soldiers reading from a notebook messages which they said had already been broadcast to villagers.

"Attention Taleban you are cowardly dogs," the message reads. "You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing West and burnt.

"You are too scared to retrieve their bodies. This just proves you are the ladyboys we always believed you to be."


Innocent till proven guilty and all, but the combination of embedded film footage with the written statement seems pretty damning. Great to see the US military continuing its mission to spread democracy and enlightenment throughout the world.. Does their generosity know no bounds?
 

scem0

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Jul 16, 2002
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Reminds me of that part of Farenheit 911 when they play the clip of the soldier singing "we don't need no water let the mother****ers burn, burn mother****ers, burn."

:(

_Emerson
 

mactastic

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Apr 24, 2003
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Ah yes... bringing the salt of democracy to your land.

I really hope this isn't true... but I'm not holding my breath. :(

If true, I'm guessing Americans will remember how horrified they were when American bodies were burned and desecrated in Falluja -- and what we felt was an appropriate response to people who had treated American in that fashion. I'm sure they'll feel the same revulsion now.... :rolleyes:
 

JesseJames

macrumors 6502a
I don't see the big deal. Barbarism between combatants is as old as war itself.
Combat it combat. And I get a little tired of armchair warriors who adhere to their ideology comfortably in their homes. While the warriors are out there tired and getting shot at day in and day out.
I served with guys who fought in the first Gulf War and they said they would come up to charred corpses and stick their bayonets into them to see how far the flesh was cooked. Being infantry, I just gave an approving, "Hooyah".
Those soldiers in Afghanistan were employing psy-ops. As gruesome as the methods are, tactically it makes a lot of sense. Work 'em up, piss 'em off, and when they come out yelling Allahuakbar; pick the mothereffers off.

Would the people be better off under the Taliban? Puh-leasssse.
 

toontra

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JesseJames said:
I don't see the big deal. Barbarism between combatants is as old as war itself.
Combat it combat. And I get a little tired of armchair warriors who adhere to their ideology comfortably in their homes. While the warriors are out there tired and getting shot at day in and day out.
I served with guys who fought in the first Gulf War and they said they would come up to charred corpses and stick their bayonets into them to see how far the flesh was cooked.
Those soldiers in Afghanistan were employing psy-ops. As gruesome as the methods are, tactically it makes a lot of sense. Work 'em up, piss 'em off, and when they come out yelling Allahuakbar; pick the mothereffers off.

Would the people be better off under the Taliban? Puh-leasssse.
1) Are you not even slightly struck by the irony of the US purporting to civilize the middle east whilst its troops are using such tactics?

2) You think these sorts of tactics are effective - I'm not so sure.

Your sentiments may make more sense in a "conventional" war, but when the main stated purpose of the occupation is to liberate, educate and civilize, this strikes me as being counter-productive, not to mention grossly hypocritical.
 

mactastic

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Apr 24, 2003
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JesseJames said:
I don't see the big deal. Barbarism between combatants is as old as war itself.
Combat it combat. And I get a little tired of armchair warriors who adhere to their ideology comfortably in their homes. While the warriors are out there tired and getting shot at day in and day out.
I served with guys who fought in the first Gulf War and they said they would come up to charred corpses and stick their bayonets into them to see how far the flesh was cooked. Being infantry, I just gave an approving, "Hooyah".
Those soldiers in Afghanistan were employing psy-ops. As gruesome as the methods are, tactically it makes a lot of sense. Work 'em up, piss 'em off, and when they come out yelling Allahuakbar; pick the mothereffers off.

Would the people be better off under the Taliban? Puh-leasssse.
I'm not sure I mind these kinds of psy-ops either. If it works to bring out your enemy, than fine. It's not like they were torturing live people, and I'm sure we all laughed at the scene in Braveheart where they expose themselves to enrage their enemy.

My question for those defending these actions is: Were you as unemotional and casual about the 'psy-ops' employed by Iraqis when they burned and hung the bodies of Americans on display in Fallujah? Or did you join the chorus of armchair warriors and chickenhawks calling for revenge?

Regardless of our personal feelings on these types of psy-ops however, it is against the Geneva Convention -- to which the US is a signatory -- to desecrate corpses. Therefore it cannot be employed as a tactic of war.
 

JesseJames

macrumors 6502a
mactastic said:
My question for those defending these actions is: Were you as unemotional and casual about the 'psy-ops' employed by Iraqis when they burned and hung the bodies of Americans on display in Fallujah? Or did you join the chorus of armchair warriors and chickenhawks calling for revenge?
Like I said, I don't see the big deal. War is war. It's madness, and to look for fair accounting amidst the carnage is a true path to insanity. Accept the cruelty that it is and pray that it ends soon.
 

IJ Reilly

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JesseJames said:
Like I said, I don't see the big deal. War is war. It's madness, and to look for fair accounting amidst the carnage is a true path to insanity. Accept the cruelty that it is and pray that it ends soon.
Which is why we don't have any international conventions governing these things. Oh wait, we do. The U.S. just prefers to ignore them these days.
 

tristan

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Geneva convention doesn't apply to people who don't wear uniforms and declare themselves as combatants. Uniform Code of Military Justice does apply, and I don't know what it has to say about this, it might come under desecrating bodies or something.

Tough tactics don't bother me, and I believe that the average Iraqi would rather we win the war and get out than spend time playing Mr. Nice Guy. They can differentiate between how we treat the civilian populace (who we do need to stay on the side of) and how we treat people who shoot at us, behead their prisoners, blow up civilians, etc.
 

xsedrinam

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Oct 21, 2004
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JesseJames said:
Like I said, I don't see the big deal. War is war. It's madness, and to look for fair accounting amidst the carnage is a true path to insanity. Accept the cruelty that it is and pray that it ends soon.
I'm encouraged that you're admitting to the madness of it. I'm neither encouraged nor convinced that apathy and acquiescence toward madness is any viable path to be taken by any reasonable human being.
 

IJ Reilly

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tristan said:
Geneva convention doesn't apply to people who don't wear uniforms and declare themselves as combatants. Uniform Code of Military Justice does apply, and I don't know what it has to say about this, it might come under desecrating bodies or something.

Tough tactics don't bother me, and I believe that the average Iraqi would rather we win the war and get out than spend time playing Mr. Nice Guy. They can differentiate between how we treat the civilian populace (who we do need to stay on the side of) and how we treat people who shoot at us, behead their prisoners, blow up civilians, etc.
This incident occurred in Afghanistan.

In any event, we are in the process of becoming our enemies. If that doesn't bother you, then it certainly ought to.
 

toontra

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tristan said:
Geneva convention doesn't apply to people who don't wear uniforms and declare themselves as combatants. Uniform Code of Military Justice does apply, and I don't know what it has to say about this, it might come under desecrating bodies or something.

Tough tactics don't bother me, and I believe that the average Iraqi would rather we win the war and get out than spend time playing Mr. Nice Guy. They can differentiate between how we treat the civilian populace (who we do need to stay on the side of) and how we treat people who shoot at us, behead their prisoners, blow up civilians, etc.
How do you know the two who were burnt in this case were guilty of anything at all - seems unlikely they were given any kind of judicial process. I'm actually quite shocked that people are prepared to condone this kind of behavior carried out in the name of their country - I guess as long as it's in a far-away place and there will be no repercussions and little likelihood of direct retaliation ( i.e. the "enemy" is relatively few in numbers and poorly equipped) that makes it OK.

What's that slipping sound - oh, the moral high-ground.
 

tristan

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So we've lost the high moral ground since we burned some bodies? Have you seen the suicide bombings that are in the news every day or the videotapes where they execute prisoners? Nick Berg sound familiar?

I'm not defending the behavior, but I'm saying in the context of war, it's pretty minor, and no, we don't owe Taleban fighters anything. Our obligations are to the civilian populace and to our soldiers to prosecute the war effectively and prevent further loss of life.
 

treblah

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scem0 said:
Reminds me of that part of Farenheit 911 when they play the clip of the soldier singing "we don't need no water let the mother****ers burn, burn mother****ers, burn."

:(

_Emerson
So true. These "soldiers" are the morons who like to 'get their gun off' :rolleyes:

'Yeah, I was picked on as a kid. Well, guess what? I've got an M16 now! Whatever, whatever, I do what I want!'

Ugh.
 

eva01

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Feb 22, 2005
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Gah! Plymouth
wait so burning corpses is against islamic traditions what happens if their is a outbreak of say ebola?

You HAVE to burn the corpses ASAP because ebola does survive in a dead person for a few days.

So just because of their own traditions they would risk other peoples lives for it?

I know this isn't anywhere near on topic but just a thought that came to my head.
 

pseudobrit

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eva01 said:
wait so burning corpses is against islamic traditions what happens if their is a outbreak of say ebola?

You HAVE to burn the corpses ASAP because ebola does survive in a dead person for a few days.

So just because of their own traditions they would risk other peoples lives for it?
That is neither here nor there.
 

Don't panic

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Jan 30, 2004
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tristan said:
So we've lost the high moral ground since we burned some bodies?
not exactly

we lost the high moral ground when we deprived prisoners of their human rights

we lost the high moral ground when we locked them up for years without any charges

we lost the high moral ground when we shifted the focus from dealing with terrorists to making a few rich corporations much richer

we lost the high moral ground when we lied to the world to gain control of a few oil fields

we lost the high moral ground when we bombed the **** out of a country causing tens of thousands of CIVILIAN deaths

we lost the high moral ground when when the only ministry we cared about upon taking bagdad was the ministry of oil

we lost the high moral ground when the response to the murder of the two contractors in fellujah was razing the city to a chemical wasteland

we lost the high moral ground when we generously used depleted uranium shells which will cause death and misery for generations

we lost the high moral ground when we sent drones to blow up vehicles, murdering people that might or might not be enemies

we lost the high moral ground when we justified the bombing of buildings full of civilians which may or may not contain a few rebels

we lost the high moral ground when we used iraqis money to line halliburton's pockets

we lost the high moral ground when we tortured and abused prisoners (military and civilians)

we lost the high moral ground when billions (billions!!) of dollars went into bribes and corruption instead that on reconstruction

and it goes on...
 

IJ Reilly

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tristan said:
So we've lost the high moral ground since we burned some bodies? Have you seen the suicide bombings that are in the news every day or the videotapes where they execute prisoners? Nick Berg sound familiar?

I'm not defending the behavior, but I'm saying in the context of war, it's pretty minor, and no, we don't owe Taleban fighters anything. Our obligations are to the civilian populace and to our soldiers to prosecute the war effectively and prevent further loss of life.
Yes, the way I read it, you are defending the behavior within the context of "war is hell," or however you restated this concept.

I think some of us are seeing this incident within a broader context, which is the reputation the U.S. is acquiring around the world as the people who claim the moral high ground and then allow our military and intelligence agents to engage in whatever behavior suits their immediate purposes. And then excuse it as no big thing. So don't be surprised if our high moral tone is greeted cynically and with general disbelief.
 

mactastic

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JesseJames said:
Like I said, I don't see the big deal. War is war. It's madness, and to look for fair accounting amidst the carnage is a true path to insanity. Accept the cruelty that it is and pray that it ends soon.
Not gonna answer huh? Understandable.
 

JesseJames

macrumors 6502a
treblah said:
So true. These "soldiers" are the morons who like to 'get their gun off' :rolleyes:

'Yeah, I was picked on as a kid. Well, guess what? I've got an M16 now! Whatever, whatever, I do what I want!'

Ugh.
Sir, as a service veteran I take great issue with your comment. And I hope
you realize how much of a certain equestrian animal it makes you look like.
 

skunk

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Jun 29, 2002
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tristan said:
Geneva convention doesn't apply to people who don't wear uniforms and declare themselves as combatants.
Maybe not, but minimum standards of humanity do.
Tough tactics don't bother me, and I believe that the average Iraqi would rather we win the war and get out than spend time playing Mr. Nice Guy.
The average Iraqi knows perfectly well that the "war" is unwinnable. Which part of "unwinnable" do you not understand?
They can differentiate between how we treat the civilian populace (who we do need to stay on the side of) and how we treat people who shoot at us, behead their prisoners, blow up civilians, etc.
They can also recall how the majority of detainees and victims of war are not even remotely connected with the conflict. And anyway, as has been pointed out above, this was not in Iraq. The same applies, however.