While the Department of Defense has promised to investigate, there will certainly be significant repercussions from the incident. Defense officials have confirmed that two of the four Marines have been identified. Commanders sat down, watched the video several times, and were able to say who they were. Their names will not be released while the investigation is going on.
The audio is low but two of the Marines can be heard saying, "Golden, like a shower," and "Have a great day buddy." The Marines depicted in the video belong to the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines. It was apparently taken last year, because they returned in September to their base in North Carolina after serving in Afghanistan.
"It is absolutely inconsistent with American values, with the standards of behavior that we expect from our military personnel," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday. Afghan President Hamid Karzai called it "completely inhumane."
Damage control began immediately in several corners of the world, including San Francisco. Major Gen. Ronald Bailey spoke at the Marines' Memorial Club Thursday and promised the men will be dealt with accordingly.
"What those Marines did does not meet with the standards of our corps and when we start talking leadership, courage, honor and commitment, that's not what we represent in that video," he said.
The video went viral on the internet. It is short, only 37 seconds, but there could be long-term consequences. Until now, the U.S. had been inching closer to peace talks with Taliban leaders. Link TV in San Francisco monitors 44 TV stations in the Arab world.
"We're hearing wide condemnation in Afghanistan, and the Arab world, and the Muslim world, actually. Everybody is agreeing it is going to set back the peace talks," Link TV's Abdallah Edwan told ABC7.
The Taliban calls it shameful, but says for now, it will not delay peace talks. Those involved could face court martial proceedings. It is unknown where the video came from, but according to U.S. military rules, soldiers are not allowed to take pictures or video of any human casualties.