News Column

Pentagon Slams LA Times for Publishing Photos of Troops With Mangled Afghan Bodies

April 18, 2012


This morning the Los Angeles Times published photos online of U.S. troops posing with the remains of Afghan suicide bombers from 2010.

The Pentagon has announced an investigation regarding the photos, and is also criticizing the Times for publishing the photos after it had asked the publication not to.

According to the Washington Post, Times editor Davan Maharaj said he decided to use "a small but representative selection of the photos" in order to fulfill the paper's mission of informing readers about important aspects of the American military effort in Afghanistan.

The Times received 18 photos depicting U.S. military personnel posing with corpses.

One caption reads: "A soldier from the Army's 82nd Airborne Division with the body of an Afghan insurgent killed while trying to plant a roadside bomb. The photo is one of 18 provided to the Times of U.S. soldiers posing with corpses."

The photos were given to the Times by a soldier from the division.

"Two soldiers posed holding a dead man's hand with the middle finger raised. A soldier leaned over the bearded corpse while clutching the man's hand. Someone placed an unofficial platoon patch reading 'Zombie Hunter' next to other remains and took a picture," the Times reported.

In a statement by Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs George Little, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he was "disappointed" that the Times ignored the military's request not to publish the photos.

"The danger is that this material could be used by the enemy to incite violence against U.S. and Afghan service members in Afghanistan. U.S. forces in the country are taking security measures to guard against it," he said.

To view the photos the Times received, click here.

Source: (c) 2012. All rights reserved.

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