Marine Corps Times recently sat down with former Sgt. Joe Chamblin, one of the Marines involved in the infamous video that shows four scout snipers urinating on Taliban corpses.
Chamblin, who served as the the scout sniper platoon commander during the 2011 deployment to Afghanistan, said he hates that all anyone will ever remember about his Marines is that 30 second video. The scout sniper platoon deployed with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. They filmed the video during a patrol in Helmand’s Musa Qala district on July 27, 2011.
The video led to backlash, both home and abroad. But Chamblin fired back at his critics during the interview, stating that he and his men killed hundreds of insurgents on that deployment. A lot of their successes were overshadowed by a split-second decision they made, he said.
Some excerpts from the interview:
Q. Why did you urinate on the corpses? And why film it?
A. I really didn’t know it was getting filmed at the time until it was done. And then it was like, “Yeah, we better keep that to just us.” But it ended up getting out. It really wasn’t a decision, it wasn’t planned. Once we got them, it was like, “This is horrible. Why did we have to go get them?” Someone said, “Piss on these guys,” and someone else was like, “Yeah, you know what, piss on them.” And so we did, and that was that. And then we moved on.
Q. You were a staff noncommissioned officer — you put this team together, and you led them. Why did you not only allow the incident to occur, but participate in it as well?
A. I didn’t see anything wrong with it. I would do it again. It wasn’t like we had some random Afghans laying there. They were insurgents, they had weapons and they were trying to kill us. The same guys were making IEDs and trying to kill Marines. If they could get over here, they would cut off the heads of everybody in this room right now. That’s how they are. And you know what? I won that day. They didn’t.
Q. Do you think this video hurt the Marine Corps’ reputation?
A. Well, it depends on what your idea is of what a Marine should be. If your idea of a Marine is a real fancy-looking guy in uniform that does snap and pop with a rifle and looks real pretty, then yeah, it probably hurt. But if your idea of what a Marine should be is the enemy’s worst f—ing nightmare, then I don’t think it did. But you can’t have both.
You can check out the full interview with Chamblin here.