Kaneohe Marine Under Fire for Iraq Puppy Video
A YouTube video showing American soldiers tossing a puppy off a cliff in Iraq has set off a firestorm of protest online, and a 22-year-old Marine stationed at Kaneohe has become a ‘figure of hate‘ around the world.
KITV called the incident “terribly upsetting,” and, like other news outlets, broadcast only a portion of the video. Most early coverage refrained from naming the man in the video, who is addressed as “Motari” in the clip. But KHON’s Monday night report featured screenshots of Digg and other online fora that prominently featured the name David Motari.
Indeed, while the video only garnered mainstream media attention recently, the collective online mob had been at work for some time. Web sleuths identified Motari, tracked down his family’s home address in Washington, figured out whom he married and when (and her MySpace page), and found various online profiles, including one on an Asian dating site and another on the Bebo social network (which was set to private after dozens of angry comments and threats were posted).
This morning, the Honolulu Advertiser named Motari in its report, saying the Marine Corps has confirmed that he is with the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment at Kane’ohe Bay and that he returned to Hawaii in October from a seven-month deployment in Iraq.
“This is a shocking and deplorable video that is contrary to the high standards that we set for every Marine,” said Kaneohe base spokesman Maj. Chris Perrine, who said an investigation is under way. He also acknowledged that the Marine Corps is concerned with Motari’s safety, as well as the other two men that apparently played a part in making the video.
As disturbing as the video is, the amount and intensity of the attention it has been getting has also earned criticism. While forensics experts have already been enlisted by the media to hypothesize whether the video could be faked (Snopes’ says the validity of the video is “Undetermined“), critics and skeptics are dismayed that animal lovers are distracting attention from more egregious acts by American forces in Iraq.
And no, not just cruel acts against other animals.