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JBLM’s top general advises troops to treat corpses with “dignity and respect” in fallout from Marine video

Post by Adam Ashton / The News Tribune on Jan. 13, 2012 at 11:52 am with 7 Comments »
January 13, 2012 11:52 am
Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti during his 2010 deployment to Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne Division.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s senior commander today advised NATO soldiers to treat Afghan corpses with “appropriate dignity and respect” as he sought to contain the international fallout from a video that allegedly shows four Marines urinating on Taliban bodies.

CNN obtained the order from Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti on a NATO web site.

“We must treat the living and the dead with dignity and respect,” CNN quoted from the directive in which Scaparrotti advised troops to follow the rules of armed conflict and “act honorably at all times.

“In order to prevail, for the good of the coalition nations and the Afghan people, we can do no less.”

Scaparrotti’s task in addressing the Marine video parallels one of his assignments during the 10 months he spent at Lewis-McChord before his deployment to Afghanistan as the war’s No. 2 commander.

At Lewis-McChord, Scaparrotti was charged with overseeing the courts-martial of five Stryker soldiers who were accused of killing three Afghan civilians in combat-like scenarios. Four of them have since been convicted of murder or manslaughter, and one of the accused soldiers is due in court in March.

Seven others from the platoon have been convicted of other wrongdoing, including charges of assaulting a private or using drugs during their deployment with Lewis-McChord’s 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

The so-called “kill team” soldiers posed for photos with their victims, and the images were published in Der Spiegel and Rolling Stone magazines last March – nine months after the Army arrested the five murder suspects and launched its investigation.

The Marine video, by contrast, was posted to a public web site this week before the military command learned of it. The Marines reportedly have been identified and face discipline.

Scaparrotti at Lewis-McChord ordered a command investigation into the leadership of the soldiers in the rogue “kill team” platoon. It resulted in administrative discipline against officers and noncommissioned officers up the chain of command to brigade leader Col. Harry Tunnell.

Scaparrotti kept his remarks about the investigation neutral because he was expected to remain impartial. He told The News Tribune last year, “Obviously it’s an important part of what I do, and I provide the time it requires. That’s about all I can say about that.

“We represent the American people and the Constitution. As a commander, I’m responsible to make sure we uphold those ideals and laws. Due process is one of them, and I’ll make sure our service members enjoy that right.”

Leave a comment Comments → 7
  1. NineInchNachosII says:

    for some reason the JBLM connection comes at no surprise.

  2. NineInchNachosII says:

    Do you have the general’s email? I’d like so send him this cartoon. can print out and tape around the base… boost morale and stuff.

  3. bobbysangelwife says:

    And what connection is that Nails…? Other than the fact that he’s the CO of Ft Lewis? Those Marines didn’t come from us, they came from somewhere else.

  4. guidocarmasi says:

    I like the cartoon a lot. Seems like the warriors of JBLM might want to look at it as well. Maybe better manners on I5 would help too!!!

  5. Sobriquet says:

    But but, they are Taliban!

    They have no rights! Go USA!

    Pay your taxes and eat more fast food!

    The USA does not propagate war… Only the middle east can do that!


  6. Wrapper98439 says:

    That cartoon could work anywhere in Pierce County. Of course the war is the gangs on all other citizens. Did forget something about parents controlling their kids so that they don’t end up with a drug history, and eventually ending up dead on post.

  7. Everybody secretly knows that the problem is cameras in hot combat zones, right? That these guys did not invent this method of showing roo-rah?

    At the very least they should cover up their faces and insignia.

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