TODAY   |  January 12, 2012

Video appears to show Marines urinating on corpses

An investigation has been launched after video emerged that military authorities say appears to show U.S. Marines urinating on dead Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports.

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>>> a troubling video that appears to show u.s. marines urinating on dead taliban terrorists. nbc's jim miklaszewski is at the pentagon this morning. good morning to you. and i think the first thing i have to ask is has anyone at the pentagon authenticated the video or the images yet?

>> the marine corps is pretty confident that these are in fact u.s. marines in this video. and they, like just about everybody else who has seen this video, call it disgusting. the video shows four americans dressed in full marine corps combat gear, in southern afghanistan , circled around the bodies of three dead militants and it's clear that they're urinating on the body. at one point you hear some chuckling. and one of the marines says something about -- golden showers. the reaction from the u.s. military and international force there in afghanistan was pretty swift. they strongly condemned the act. calling it disrespectful, and inexplicable. one marine leader in afghanistan told us this senseless stunt will totally undermine all the progress they've made in southern afghanistan . now, the marines are convinced these four marines are from the third battalion, second marines out of camp lejeune . if they are identified and prosecuted, they could be charged with desecration of remains and taking what is called trophy photos. criminal acts. and if convicted, they could spend time in jail. and this just in from afghanistan , the presidential palace called this act insane and demanded that those involved be punished severely. matt?

>> we'll be waiting and watching to see what the fallout from this is. jim miklaszewski