Washington, D.C. — In a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Representative Duncan Hunter, 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. Representative Hunter’s letter is available here

“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.”