US Military Ends Four Army Officers’ Careers for Accidentally Sending Korans to Burn Pits

Photo credit: Roel Wijnants

Army officials said that four Army officers and two enlisted soldiers received letters of reprimand for sending boxes of Korans from a prison library to a burn pit at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Although an Army investigation that was made public on Monday found that the soldiers did not act out of “malicious intent” to disrespect the Koran or defame Islam, investigators concluded that they did not follow proper procedures, were ignorant of the importance of the Koran to Afghans and got no clear guidance from their leaders in a chain of mistakes.

The Marine Corps said three non-commissioned officers involved in a video that shows four Marines urinating on the body of a dead Taliban fighter received “nonjudicial punishments,” which could include letters of reprimand, a reduction in rank, forfeit of some pay, physical restriction to a military base, extra duties or some combination of those measures.

The Marine Corps did not release the results of its investigation into the episode because, officials said, there were continuing inquiries about higher-ranking officers in the unit involved, which was part of the Third Battalion, Second Marine Regiment, based in Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Military officials said the punishments were not as light as they might seem to the public — letters of reprimand effectively end most military careers — but it was unclear how they would be viewed in Afghanistan, where the Koran burning touched off days of riots across the country and compelled Mr. Karzai to call for a public trial.

American military officials said they were hopeful that Afghans would take the news calmly. “We have conveyed our condolences to the government and the Afghan people,” said Col. Thomas W. Collins, a spokesman for the international military coalition in Afghanistan. “These were both terrible mistakes.”

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  • Dennis

    Praise be to those 4 officers!! That’s exactly what they should do. Their superior officers should be reprimanded for failure to do their duty.

  • The ones who careers should be ended is the higher ups. These men are in harm’s way every day, not knowing if they are going to killed or wounded and they burned Korans that were written in which was against the religion and they are losing their careers. I think we need to bring every troop home immediately and no more money doled out to countries such as this. I don’t care how long we would be in Afganistan, but they are never going to change. I am so sick of this political correctness.

  • The upper ranks in our militrary have turned into a bunch of “brown nosers” in a misguided attempt to appease and look “good” to the administration. I am so glad that I am a civilian and am no longer in the service.

  • pearl87

    It’s pathetic that the United States of America is begging forgiveness from a bunch of filthy murderous barbarians for having the audacity to identify and destroy a plot to transmit enemy code in their “holy” book. If anyone has disrespected the Koran, it is Muslims who use it for such sacreligious and deceitful purposes.

  • Carol-Christian Soldier

    Thank you for keeping us up dated on these issues-

  • CSN

    If it was the Holy Bible Obama would have given them medals of honor.

  • bad9iron

    Is there no end to this President’s example of appeasement and subordination of our beliefs, values and respect for human dignity just to ensure our politically correct response to those who have no respect for anything American, especially life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness through freedom of speech, thought and religion. Have we been relegated by this President to a country of wimps, ass kissers and appeasers. Are we to stand idly by while our troops get mutilated by barbarians who follow a religion founded by a criminal. When are we going to stand up for ourselves and our allies. This President is not the right person for the job. This error in judgement needs to be corrected in November.