Aussie Journalist Corrects Story on GIs Burning Dead Taliban
Despite accusations of intentional religious desecration, these soldiers had actually been concerned with hygiene and finding a solution to the unbearable stench of decomposition - according to photo-journalist Stephen DuPont, an Australian reporter who was embedded with the soldiers. The Australian news agent who received these photographs shot by DuPont apparently changed the story - which has caused international outrage. To set the record straight, DuPont made a statement which included the following:
"I actually believed that the guys that were involved in the burning did it for honorable reasons - they did it through their orders or did it for hygiene - I had no doubt in my mind that they were telling me the truth. If they were doing something that was problematic or controversial, there is no way they would have shown me this."
Dupont admitted that "Psy-Ops" troops later used these still smoldering corpses to intimidate and challenge any nearby Taliban over loud speakers, but he did not feel that the burning itself had been staged or inappropriate.
While traveling from Mongolia, U.S. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, reacting with uncharacteristic speed to this report, condemned the desecration of enemy combatants. Having indicated that he is very concerned of the damage this kind of story could do to our men and women in uniform, he ordered the Central Command to pursue a full investigation.
"I've talked to people and explained what the effect is, and that there has to be a way for them to, not abbreviate the process, but to put a sense of urgency on it that it merits, given the damage that's done during periods of uncertainty..." he said.
Definitely NOT a good time for this kind of report to come out for the Bush administration. Though obviously a sensationalist piece by a disingenuous editor or reporter that plays on the sensitivities of Muslims, even the hint of impropriety by American forces can be disastrous - this despite the despicable treatment of American and other coalition hostages and dead by Muslims. (Contractors burned, hung and dismembered in Fallujah comes to mind).
It now remains to be seen if the MSM will do the right thing with this overblown story. Don't hold your breath...!