WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is branding as "utterly despicable" a video purporting to show four U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters.
In a statement released by the Pentagon, Panetta says he has ordered the Marine Corps and a military command office to "immediately and fully investigate the incident. The Marine Corps had said Wednesday that it was looking into the YouTube video but hadn't yet verified its origin or authenticity.
Panetta's statement Thursday says "this conduct is entirely inappropriate for members of the United States military." It adds that the incident "does not reflect the standards or values our armed forces are sworn to uphold."
The secretary vows in the statement that "those found to have engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent."