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Obama on soldiers who posed with Afghan corpses: ‘Reprehensible’ conduct merits probe

Olivier Knox, Yahoo News
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(AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)

President Barack Obama wants a full investigation into the "reprehensible" conduct depicted in photographs apparently showing U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan posing with the mangled body parts of suicide bombers, his spokesman said Wednesday.

Obama believes that behavior "does not in any way" follow the standards the U.S. military sets for its personnel and wants a full investigation, spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One.

"The conduct depicted in those photographs is reprehensible," Carney said. "Those responsible will be held accountable."

Carney also criticized the Los Angeles Times for its decision to publish the grisly photographs, saying he was "very disappointed."

The graphic photos—taken in 2010—show soldiers, some smiling, posing with dismembered body parts of insurgent corpses. A soldier from the Army's 82nd Airborne Division provided 18 photos to the paper, which published them online.

The paper said the Pentagon has launched a criminal investigation. But, as the Los Angeles Times points out:

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"The photos have emerged at a particularly sensitive moment for U.S.-Afghan relations. In January, a video appeared on the Internet showing four U.S. Marines urinating on Afghan corpses. In February, the inadvertent burning of copies of the Koran at a U.S. base triggered riots that left 30 dead and led to the deaths of six Americans. In March, a U.S. Army sergeant went on a nighttime shooting rampage in two Afghan villages, killing 17."

Obama has promised that U.S. forces will withdraw to a supporting role at some point next year on their way to a complete pullout by the end of 2014. The pace and scope of that drawdown will be at the core of an upcoming NATO summit in Chicago in May.

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