No Discharge for Koran-Burning Soldiers, Corpse-Desecrating Marines

The Atlantic Wire
No Discharge for Koran-Burning Soldiers, Corpse-Desecrating Marines
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No Discharge for Koran-Burning Soldiers, Corpse-Desecrating Marines

Marines who urinated on Afghan corpses and soldiers who burned Korans won't do time or get discharged, but they will probably still lose their jobs after receiving administrative punishments on Monday. Three Marines, who appeared in a video earlier this year urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters, and six soldiers, who sent Korans and other religious texts to be incinerated after they were taken from a prison, didn't commit crimes, the military decided. The Koran burning, which the Army determined was an inadvertent departure from protocol, sparked days of violent protests in Afghanistan, and Afghan president Hamid Karzai called the corpse desecration video "inhuman." The three Marines who admitted to participating in the video weren't identified or charged criminally by the Marine Corps, The Washington Post reports. The soldiers' violations "fell into a category that includes administrative sanctions, like a reduction in rank or forfeiture of pay," Reuters' Phil Stewart and David Alexander reported. But as The Wall Street Journal's Dion Nissenbaum pointed out on Sunday, it may be hard for the soldiers and Marines to keep their jobs in a shrinking Army and Marine Corps. They may wind up getting laid off, rather than discharged:

The punishments against the Marines, and likely for the Army soldiers, are expected to be career-ending, blocking service members from re-enlisting, officials said.

Both the Army and Marine Corps are shrinking, and service members with significant administrative actions against them are unlikely to be retained, officials said.

So while the disciplinary measures don't mean their recipients will be ejected from the military, they will likely have the same effect, eventually.

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