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WASHINGTON -- Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos rejected the suggestion that three Marines involved in a video that showed troops urinating on the bodies of dead insurgents got off easy by not facing court-martial.
"It wasn't a slap on the wrist," Amos told a crowd at the National Press Club in Washington.
The Marines, all enlisted members of 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, pleaded guilty to various offenses at Article 15, nonjudicial punishment hearings, according to a Marine Corps press release. The Marine Corps did not release the names of the Marines or which punishments were given to whom, but said the punishments include reduction in rank, forfeiture of pay and punitive letters.
More Marines are under investigation, Amos said, and they will be "held accountable" soon.
Amos said nonjudicial punishments can end a Marine's career, but he would not say whether that was the case in this instance. He praised Lt. Gen. Richard Mills, the officer responsible for determining disciplinary actions in the incident.
"I think when it's all said and done, everyone will look back and say, ‘The Marines did the right thing,'" Amos said.
Amos also addressed a number of other topics during the hourlong talk.
*On sequestration, he said the budget cuts would disproportionately affect the Marine Corps and "would quite honestly stunt any modernization."
*On women in combat, Amos said he expects that opening more jobs and roles to women "is going to be a huge success." At least two female volunteers will start the previously male-only Infantry Officer Course next month, he said, and the Marine Corps is gathering data from that and ongoing physical tests to see how best to open more units and jobs to women. "I need to get past hyperbole and get past intuition and instincts. … I need to get facts," he said.
*On the Marine Corps' role going forward, Amos said he makes "no apologies" for being on the ground in Iraq's Anbar province or Afghanistan's Helmand province, but that land wars are "not why American buys a Marine Corps." Instead, he said, the nation wants a force that can respond to any crisis at a moment's notice.
*On sexual assault, Amos said he put together an operational planning team to define the problem and determine how to eradicate such assaults. "I think it's revolutionary," he said, stressing that the new plan has support at the highest levels. "We're headed to zero," Amos said. "Will we get there? I don't know."