From the NYT:
WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 - The Pentagon announced Wednesday night that the Army had started a criminal investigation into allegations that American soldiers in Afghanistan had burned the bodies of two dead Taliban fighters and then used the charred and smoking corpses in a propaganda campaign against the insurgents.
The events were shown on an Australian television program, broadcast there on Wednesday night, depicting what is described as an American psychological operations team broadcasting taunts over a loudspeaker toward a village thought to be harboring Taliban fighters and sympathizers, according to a transcript of the program…
…a soldier identified as Sgt. Jim Baker, said: "You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing west and burned. You are too scared to come down and retrieve the bodies. This just proves you are the lady boys we always believed you to be."
After news agencies reported the broadcast, the Pentagon said such acts were forbidden and began the criminal investigation.
Several senior officials said preliminary indications suggested that the video and the program's translation were accurate, and that the incident posed the potential to do further harm in the Islamic world to the image of the United States, already badly tarnished by the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal…
… A statement issued by the Central Command said "desecration, abuse or inappropriate treatment of enemy combatants" were never condoned and that they would violate United States policy "as well as the Geneva Convention."
"This command takes all allegations of misconduct or inappropriate behavior seriously," Maj. Gen. Jason K. Kamiya, the American commander of daily tactical operations in Afghanistan, said in a separate statement issued by the Central Command. "If the allegation is substantiated, the appropriate course of action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and corrective action will be taken."
Did we really have a psy-op team running around Afghanistan doing this sort of thing--and doing it in front of Australian TV cameras--without the knowledge and/or permission of Central Command or General Kamiya's staff? If so, this incident signals a serious breakdown of command and control. If not--if someone higher up was in on the operation--the investigation carries the odor of a cover-up.
What's more, do we really have "professional" psyop people who thought the tactical impact of an action like this would justify the global negative blowback that would occur when the story got out? If we do, the entire psyop organization needs to be shut down NOW.