TODAY   |  January 13, 2012

Pentagon fears fallout from Marine video

The U.S. military is in damage-control mode after a video surfaced of Marines urinating on the dead bodies of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports.

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>> the fallout from the video of marines desecrating the bodies of taliban militants. jim miklaszewski has the latest on that. good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, natalie. military investigators are looking into possible criminal charges against the four marines who appear in the offensive video that sent shock waves around the world. the video, first posted on the x intercept, sent the marine corps into a tail spin . four marines in full gear are seen urinating on dead militants. they called it appalling and outrageous.

>> that kind of behavior is deplorable. icon democr i condemn it.

>> reporter: in kabul president karzai called the marines' action insane and demanded they be severely punished. the pentagon fears like the torture photos from iraq this video could be useded to rally forces.

>> events like abu grabe certainly acted as a recruiting tool for al qaeda . certainly we are concerned about any backlash that might occur.

>> reporter: how could this happen? military investigators will try to determine if there was a breakdown this the marine command.

>> our values are maintained by our rsergeants at platoon level. these people are in brutal combat. they are young. they turn into animals if you're not careful.

>> if court martialed and convicted the four marines could face jail time.

>> we are reading reports the u.s. issued a new direct warning to iran that it must not close the strait of hormuz. what can you tell us?

>> reporter: one of the fears is the iranians aren't taking warnings seriously and a miscalculation at sea by iranian forces could lead to war. the u.s. is trying to make it abundantly clear if iran tries to close the strait of hormuz, the american military will respond with devastating force.