Panetta apologizes for photos of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan

BRUSSELS Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:18pm EDT

United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta holds a news conference at the Kabul airport before departing for the United Arab Emirates March 15, 2012. REUTERS/Scott Olson/Pool

United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta holds a news conference at the Kabul airport before departing for the United Arab Emirates March 15, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Scott Olson/Pool

Related Topics

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta apologized on Wednesday for photographs that appeared in an American newspaper of U.S. soldiers posing with the maimed bodies of dead Afghan insurgents.

"This is war, and I know war is ugly, and is violent. And I know young people sometimes caught up in the moment make some very foolish decisions," Panetta told a news conference during a meeting of NATO allies in Brussels. "I am not excusing that."

He added: "My apology is on behalf of the Department of Defense and the U.S. government ... Again, that behavior is unacceptable."

Panetta said he regretted the decision of the Los Angeles Times to publish some of the photos, which he said might trigger retaliatory violence against foreign soldiers stationed in Afghanistan.

"Neither do I want these images to bring further injury to our people, or our relationship with the Afghan people. Those kinds of photos are used by (the) enemy to incite violence, and lives have been lost as a result," he said.

(Reporting by Missy Ryan and Arshad Mohammed; Writing by Justyna Pawlak; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (12)
vasinvictor wrote:
You can only apologize so many times before it means nothing. Time to end war mongering and America’s desire to police the rest of the world. It is time to bring the soldiers home. I believe they are doing more harm than good to our relations with other nations. America is the terrorist, if you look from the eyes of others. Would Americans not fight till death to defend America if another nation was on it’s soil?

Apr 18, 2012 1:55pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
vasinvictor wrote:
Why will the comment I made not post.

Apr 18, 2012 2:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Kinnison wrote:
Old news, people. The photos were taken over 2 years ago. So, what do they show? What’s left of some Jihadi suicide bomber? So what does this signify? That the news media is endlessly amused by minutiae. And for God’s sake, could CNN please find someone—anyone—after more than 10 years of war that knows something about military subjects, customs and jargon to put on-air? I watched CNN’s U.S.-based talking head Suzanne Malveau interviewing their correspondent in Afghanistan this morning on this subject while at the gym on the treadmill, and the shallowness of her understanding and the blithering ignorance of her questions had me muttering under my breath. Color her clueless…

Apr 18, 2012 2:03pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Full focus