Panetta: Graphic photos 'absolutely' violate military regulations, core values

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Wednesday that the conduct of U.S. soldiers posing with the dismembered bodies of Afghan suicide bombers in photos published earlier in the day "absolutely" violates the military's regulations and core values. He pledged to continue an investigation into the troops' alleged misconduct.

"This is not who we are, and it's certainly not who we represent when it comes to the great majority of men and women in uniform who are serving there," Panetta said during a news conference in Brussels. The Army has already launched an investigation into the photos, reportedly from two years ago, that were given to the Los Angeles Times by a soldier from the same division as those depicted in the photos.

"I know that war is ugly and it's violent," Panetta said, adding that sometimes young people get "caught up in the moment" and "make some foolish decisions."

"I am not excusing that behavior -- but neither do I want these images to bring further injury to our people, or to our relationship with the Afghan people," he continued.

Panetta said he was not asked about the incident during his meetings at the NATO conference. “I was not asked about it but obviously my apology is on behalf of the Department of Defense and the U.S. government," Panetta said.  

The Pentagon had wanted the Times not to run those photos, claiming they would be "used by the enemy to incite violence," Panetta said. "We regret that they were published."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by eSignLive by VASCO

    Mobile E-Signatures for Government

    Learn 5 key trends that accelerate government demand for mobile signing.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Management Concepts

    SPONSORED: Successful Change Management Practices in the Public Sector

    How governmental agencies implement organizational change management.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Kronos

    Solving the Workforce Compliance Challenge

    Download this eBook to learn how data and automation can help state and local agencies.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.