"Attention Taleban you are cowardly dogs. You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing West and burnt. You are too scared to retrieve their bodies. This just proves you are the ladyboys we always believed you to be."
So said the US soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade of the US army to villagers of Gonbaz outside Kandahar, Afghanistan, as they burnt the corpse of two dead Taleban fighters.
The whole scene including the burning of the corpses was captured by a freelance journalist, Stephen Dupont, who was embedded with the US paratroops. Dupont was filming for Australian SBS TV channel.
Burning the corpse of a Muslim is particularly offensive to other Muslims and considered as a desecration.
Though the US soldiers later claimed they incinerated the bodies for hygiene reasons, Dupont pointed out those soldiers making the provocative messages, which was broadcast to the villagers by the US army psychological operations unit, demonstrated without any doubt that the desecration of Muslim bodies by burning was deliberate (see my underlined bold words in 1st paragraph) and intended to bait the Talebans.
Knowingly desecrating enemy corpses is a violation of the Geneva Conventions governing the treatment of enemy remains in wartime.
Needless to say, the US military has made the usual noises about investigating the allegations and blah blah ... is repugnant to our common values ... blah blah ... and you may bet that nothing will come out of this.
Kabul has kept mum so far. Anyway, what can President Karzai do?
Some Americans cheered the desecration while others, more cool headed and sensible wrote lamentations as follows (I have chosen 3 that I thought are the best):
(1) "America.....a good christian country! Hey we baptised them with gasoline before they were burned. But there wasn't enough time to build an altar" ...
Writer was obviously referring to the Taleban-ish conduct (excuse the pun) of the Old Testament Hebrew King Josiah, the Mother of Them all Talebans, who loved to burnt his captives on altars as sacrifices to his God.
(2) "Reminds me of a book I read about Dr. Josef Mengele and his burning of bodies. All except for twins, of course.There's no defined sense of what's right or wrong in our military. It's a clusterfuck of confusion for our troops. This story pretty much defines the entire Iraq War: A Failure Gone Up In Flames".
(3) "This act of barbarism says far more about us than our enemies, I'm afraid, and one that military brass will not succeed in blaming on a few bad apples. It shall be seen by Muslims abroad whom we purportedly wish to keep from 'radicalism' as the true face of American values, the true countenance behind our civil democracy. This one tape, like the many torture photos, destroys the efforts of a thousand Karen Hughes."
"There is simply no excuse. This is deeply dishonorable, and a fitting compliment to systematic torture policies. How our government thinks that we shall win the 'hearts and minds' of the Muslim world through these practices is beyond me. In desecrating those bodies we do not succeed in taunting a few 'lady men' Taliban, but rather the fundamental beliefs of Islam itself, securing an ever widening perception of the United States as crusading infidels."