Hunter cautions Secretary of Defense against excessive punishment for Marines in video

In a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter (CA-52), a member of the House Armed Services Committee and veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, cautioned against excessive punishment for several U.S. Marines under investigation for appearing in a video while urinating on dead Taliban fighters.

“U.S. Marines are responsible for many of the operational gains in Afghanistan, fighting in difficult terrain and confronting a dangerous enemy,” said Hunter. “Marines in Afghanistan are giving everything they have. Hundreds have made the ultimate sacrifice, while many others have returned home bearing the scars of war. It’s this courage and selflessness that defines the Marine Corps and motivates those who serve in its ranks.

“The actions of the Marines in the video were wrong and they should be disciplined accordingly—but suggestions of possible court-martial or jail time are excessive and fail to take into account the extraordinary sacrifice of our Marines and the danger they face.”

The realities of combat are often difficult and sometimes impossible to explain, Hunter states in his Jan. 18 letter to Panetta.

“Most people will never know what our Marines endure unless they see it or experience it for themselves…In the case of the video, we do not know the full extent of the situation or the shared experiences of these Marines,” Hunter wrote.

The Marines in the video “should not be used for the purpose of making a statement to our partners in the region, especially when the U.S. military has sacrificed so much over 10 years of combat in Afghanistan,” Hunter said in the letter. “Despite their actions, these Marines are sons of America.”

Ramona is among communities in District 52, which Hunter represents in Congress.

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Posted by Karen Brainard on Jan 23 2012. Filed under Government, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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