Panetta Apologizes for Photos of U.S. Troops With Dead Afghans, Says It's 'Not Who We Are'
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is apologizing for newly published photos showing American soldiers posing with dead Afghans militants.
The gruesome photos were published in the Los Angeles Times, showing members of the 82nd Airborne during February and April of 2010 in Kabul. In one of the photos, the legs of a failed suicide bomber can be seen being held up by rope bound around the fighter's ankles.
In one of the most disturbing photos of the 18 in total, two soldiers are said to be holding the dismembered
hands of a former Afghan fighter, holding up the hand's middle finger in an apparent insult to the fallen fighter.
At a news conference after a meeting of NATO foreign and defense ministers in Brussels, Panetta told reporters he "strongly condemns" the behavior exhibited in the images and encouraged a strong investigation, already under way. Sec. Panetta also said that in war, young people "can make foolish decisions," saying that while he's not excusing the behavior, he doesn't want the incident to bring more harm to American troops remaining in Afghanistan.
Dominic Di-Natale has a live report: