SGT Joseph Chamblin was court-martialed and pleaded guilty in December to urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban and dereliction of duty for not stopping junior marines from urinating on the bodies. A local news station in North Carolina interviewed him yesterday;
“These were the same guys that were killing our family, killing our brothers,” he said.
One of the brothers, Sgt. Mark Bradley, was killed by an IED blast days before the incident.
“We’re human,” Chamblin said. “Who wouldn’t (want to get revenge) if you lost your brother or mother? Wouldn’t you want revenge?”
After a gun battle in enemy territory, Chamblin said nearly a dozen Taliban insurgents were dead and he and his colleagues were ordered to recover the bodies, which is when the incident happened.
“It’s not like it was a conscious thought or decision but one was like, ‘You know what, (urinate) on these guys.’ And some said, ‘Yeah, (urinate) on them,'” Chamblin said.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called the actions” utterly deplorable” at the time and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed to hold the Marines involved accountable.
“Do you want the Marine Corps to be a group of Boy Scout pretty boys or do you want guys that will go out and kill the people trying to take advantage of your country and kill Americans?” Chamblin said. “Which do you want? Because you can’t have both.”
I would hope that the young Sergeant at least regrets that they made a video of their actions. While I don’t condone their actions, I certainly sympathize with what feelings led to the incident. I don’t agree that they needed to be court martialed over the whole thing – there are other tools in a commander’s tool box to handle things like this. This was a State Department prosecution with the media egging them on. There is a serious lack of real leadership in the DoD that should have prevented their persecution.
I can’t see myself urinating on the bodies of my dead enemies or allowing anyone in my charge to do it. Young Sergeant Chamblin was wrong, but he didn’t deserve a court martial.