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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Burning Taliban bodies was 'poor judgment.'

About six weeks ago, we blogged about how US troops burned the bodies of Taliban dead outside a village in Afghanistan and, as the bodies burned, broadcasting taunts at Taliban fighters believed to be hiding in the village. [See posts here and here.]

As we noted at the time, Muslims believe that a body must be buried within 24 hours of death, so the burnings caused more than a bit of consternation in Islamic countries. The burnings also appeared to violate the Geneva Conventions, which require that the burial of people killed in a war 'should be honourable, and, if possible, according to the rites of the religion to which the deceased belonged.'



US soldiers watch Taliban bodies burn this past October. [Image: Stephen Dupont]


The US military has completed its investigation into the incident and, as we certainly expected, the findings are pretty much a whitewash. According to investigators, the troops committed no crime and the claims of the unit's officers that the bodies were burnt for hygienic reasons have been upheld.

Speaking at a news conference in Kandahar, the US-led coalition's operational commander, Maj-Gen Jason Kamiya, said the soldiers involved had not been aware that what they were doing was wrong.

"Our investigation found there was no intent to desecrate the remains, but only to dispose of them for hygienic reasons," he was quoted by AP news agency as saying.

Four soldiers are being reprimanded for their roles in the incident: The two officers who ordered the burnings for 'poor judgement and lack of knowledge and respect of Afghan culture and customs,' and two NCOs for making the taunting broadcasts in violation of military rules.

Can we say 'Sweep the incident under the rug'?

Via BBC.

| | Posted by Magpie at 12:31 PM | Get permalink




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