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US Military Leadership Says "Zero Tolerance for Murder, Assault and Hazing," But Marine Corps Courts Rule Differently

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However, despite what the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff said, assaults and hazing in the military are not isolated.   But, in contrast to the Marine protection of those who assault and haze, on February 4, 2012, the US Navy announced that it had thrown out of the Navy, eight sailors identified in a hazing incident aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard. The Navy quickly acted on the criminal incident and punished the eight sailors with general discharges from the Navy after they choked and punched another sailor during a "hazing" incident. The injured sailor sought medical attention from the ship's doctor.

The ship's captain investigated the hazing "initiation" after the ship's doctor reported the sailor's injuries. The eight assailants were discharged under the Navy's zero-tolerance hazing policy. "Pretty cut and dry," from the Navy's perspective, according to the senior U.S. Navy official. "When an incident like this happens, it's got to be taken care of," McKinney said. "It goes contrary to our core values."

Marines Urinating on Dead Taliban and Marine Unit Creates SS Flags

US Marine culture and environment has come under additional scrutiny due to a video of Marines urinating on dead Taliban and a unit posing with a flag with a Nazi SS logo.  

In January, 2012, a video surfaced of four Marines from a sniper team assigned to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called the video "utterly deplorable" and promised a full investigation. "This conduct is entirely inappropriate for members of the United States military and does not reflect the standards or values our armed forces are sworn to uphold," he said. "Those found to have engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent."

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The Marine Corps is investigating the video.

In another incident in Afghanistan coming into public view in February, 2012, a Marine sniper unit posted to its blog in September, 2010, a photo of members of the unit posing in front of a flag with a logo resembling that of the Nazi SS. The Marines who posed in the photo are no longer with the unit. A Marine spokesperson said that the use of the SS symbol is not acceptable and that the Marine Corps had addressed the issue, but did not specify what action has been taken.

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Ann Wright is a 29-year US Army/Army Reserves veteran, a retired United States Army colonel and retired U.S. State Department official, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War. She received the State Department Award for Heroism in 1997, after helping to evacuate several thousand (more...)

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