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Burning Bodies In the 'Stan?

Update 10-23-05:  Posted an update here.

UpdateCentcom issues statement below:


MacDill AFB, FL -- Recent media reports out of Afghanistan have alleged that U.S. forces were involved in an incident involving the desecration of the bodies of deceased enemy combatants.

Under no circumstances does U.S. Central Command condone the desecration, abuse or inappropriate treatment of enemy combatants. Such actions are contrary to U.S. policy as well as the Geneva Convention.

The Army Criminal Investigation Division has initiated an investigation into the alleged misconduct. Should that investigation uncover actions by U.S. personnel that were contrary to the Geneva Convention and U.S. policy, legal and disciplinary action will be taken in accordance with the U.S. Code of Military Justice.

------end update--------

UPI recently filed a report of a video with American soldiers burning Taliban bodies which is a desecration according to the Islam faith.  If true, it is also against the Geneva Convention.

TV: U.S. forces desecrate Taliban corpses

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- An Australian television station has shown U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan burning bodies of dead Taliban -- an act of desecration in the Islamic tradition.

The SBS network's Dateline show reported Wednesday that the troops then broadcast taunts about the desecration into a nearby village believed to shelter Taliban sympathizers.

Cremation is an act offensive to Muslims and a possible breach of the Geneva Conventions governing the treatment of enemy remains in wartime.
The Dateline footage showed soldiers burning the bodies and a U.S. Army psychological operations unit broadcasting taunts about the act via loudspeaker into a nearby village believed to be sheltering Taliban and their sympathizers.
Muslim funeral tradition requires that bodies be washed, prayed over, wrapped in white linen and buried, if possible within 24 hours. According to the Geneva Conventions the disposal of war dead "should be honorable, and, if possible, according to the rites of the religion to which the deceased belonged."...

And according to ABC News:

  ...In Washington, the U.S. Defense Department expressed concern over the report and promised that it would be "aggressively investigated."  

"These are very serious allegations and, if true, very troublesome," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told Reuters.

  "It is the policy of the United States, as well as the Defense Department, to treat all remains consistent with the Geneva Convention and with the utmost respect. These allegations will be aggressively investigated and, if proven to be true, the individuals will be held appropriately accountable," Whitman said.  

The "Dateline" current affairs programme on the ethnic Special Broadcasting Service said the story was filmed in early October. The footage of the burning corpses was shot by Australian photojournalist Stephen DuPont who was embedded with a U.S. unit.
Footage showed two U.S. soldiers reading two messages from a notebook that they said had earlier been broadcast.

"Attention Taliban you are cowardly dogs," read the first soldier, identified as psyops specialist Sgt. Jim Baker...

Until we know the details, don't jump to conclusions.  And I'm sure a lot of you don't have much sympathy for the Taliban here, but the military will be concerned about causing riots over this (like the Koran desecration myth that killed demonstrators that rioted in Pakistan).