TMZ is venturing well off the Justin Bieber beat with a potentially serious story about the behavior of Marines during the Iraq war. The site has published eight grisly photos that it says show US troops burning the corpses of Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah in 2004, rifling through pockets, and mugging for the camera. It turned over the full set of 41 photos to the US military last week, and a Pentagon spokesman says an investigation is under way, first to determine the veracity of the images and then to possibly identify any of the Marines. If true, the behavior would violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice on the handling of bodies.
"We have no details beyond the photos themselves," a Pentagon spokesperson tells the Wire. In a fuller statement, the spokesperson says "the actions depicted in these photos are not what we expect from our service members." Charges could still be filed, even if any of the Marines are no longer in the military. You can see the images at TMZ, but, be warned, they are graphic. (The development comes as Fallujah continues to fall under the sway of al-Qaeda.)