The Marine sergeant who now says he has no apologies for urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban took a different stance when he pled guilty to avoid harsher punishment last year.
Sgt. Joseph Chamblin said through his military lawyer at the time of his guilty plea in December that he "has fully accepted responsibility for his actions related to the unfortunate video" showing Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, urinating on enemy corpses.
Chamblin "is thankful for his many supporters and deeply regrets the effect that this incident has had on fellow service members, particularly the Marines and sailors he led and served alongside in combat," Maj. Adam M. King, Chamblin's lawer, said in a statement.
The statement last year contrasted with Chamblin's remarks Tuesday in an interview with ABC-affiliate WSOC-TV in Charlotte, N.C.
"These were the same guys that were killing our family, killing our brothers," Chamblin said.
He said he regretted the fallout from the incident on other Marines. "But do I regret doing it? Hell no," Chamblin said.
"It's not like it was a conscious thought or decision but one [of the men] was like, 'You know what, [urinate] on these guys.' And some said, 'Yeah, [urinate] on them,'" Chamblin said Tuesday of the incident.
The Marine Corps, through spokesmen, had no immediate comment Wednesday on Chamblin's remarks.
Chamblin said that he and the other 3/2 Marines did not think about the long-standing policy in all the services that inhumane acts dishonor the uniform and could put the lives of other Americans at risk.
"No, and if anything it was more of a psychological effect on the enemy because if an infidel touches the body, they're not going to Mecca or paradise," Chamblin said. "So, now these insurgents see what happens when you mess with us."
Chamblin posed the question: "Do you want the Marine Corps to be a group of Boy Scout pretty boys or do you want guys that will go out and kill people trying to take advantage of your country and kill Americans? Which do you want because you can't have both?"
Chamblin pleaded guilty in December to urinating on the bodies and dereliction of duty for failing to prevent junior Marines from doing the same. He was busted from staff sergeant to sergeant and fined $500.
The sentence came under a pretrial agreement, conditional upon a guilty plea, approved by Marine Lt. Gen. Richard Mills, commander of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va. The military judge in Chamblin's case, Col. Bill Riggs, had recommended 30 days confinement, 60 days restriction, $500 in monthly forfeitures for six months, a $2,000 fine and a reduction in rank to E-3 lance corporal.
Chamblin, 35, told WSOC he will retire from the Marines in September after 15 years and is now writing a book about his experiences called "Into Infamy."
Chamblin, a scout-sniper and infantry unit leader with the 3/2 Marines based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., was one of several Marines charged after a video shot in July 2011 in southwestern Afghanistan surfaced online in January 2012.The video showed four men in uniform urinating on three dead bodies.
Shortly after the video surfaced, Gen. James Amos, the Marine commandant, issued a statement saying "I want to be clear and unambiguous, the behavior depicted in the video is wholly inconsistent with the high standards of conduct and warrior ethos that we have demonstrated throughout our history."
Then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called the actions depicted in the video "deplorable," Afghan President Hamid Karzai called it "deeply disturbing" and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she felt "total dismay."
Retired Marine Gen. John Allen, formerly the commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, later said the video incident led to a revenge insider attack by an Afghan soldier on coalition forces.
"It truly threatened the national will of elements within the coalition," Allen said of the video incident at a Brookings Insitution forum last March.
|Afghanistan Marine Corps Richard Sisk|