Updated at 12:45 p.m. ET, February 10, 2012
SAN DIEGO - A leading Jewish organization and others outraged by a photo showing Marine snipers in Afghanistan posing with a logo resembling a notorious Nazi symbol are demanding President Obama order an investigation and hold the troops accountable.
On Friday, a Pentagon spokesman said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asked the Marine Corps to "look into" the picture.
"Racist and anti-Semitic symbols have absolutely no place alongside the men and women of America's armed forces," Pentagon press secretary George Little said in a statement to CBS News. "Secretary Panetta has asked the Marine Corps to look into this matter and to take appropriate action."
The Marine Corps has said it does not plan any discipline because there was no malicious intent. The Marines mistakenly believed the "SS" in the shape of white lightning bolts on the blue flag were a nod to sniper scouts — not members of Adolf Hitler's special unit that murdered millions of Jews, gypsies and others, said Maj. Gabrielle Chapin, a spokeswoman at Camp Pendleton, Calif...."
My commentary: I have had family and a friend in the Corps so this is no slight to them. However, the Corps and the Defense Secretary would be foolish if disciplinary action were not taken.
If those Marines involved are still in the corps, they should be met with nothing less than immediate court marital. They should have to meet with still living WWII vets and explain their actions. I doubt excuses like, "We were just having some fun. We meant it to mean "Scout Snipers,".....etc," would go very far.
One CBSNews.com commentor said:
Wow! So he is an engineer and a lawyer! That makes him the font of all wisdom on this topic. Obviously, he was not listening hard enough to his father. His reading comprehension and attention span too poor for his history lessons. He thinks the width of the font counts? If he knew all the history from his dad and other sources, he would know the answer. Why should these young Marines have known? Because they are Americans! They should know their own history. They should know why their ancestors fought against the incredible evil that was behind that SS moniker. I have had all the media history lessons, the commentor, shenboe has had. I have also talked to a Jewish camp survivor. She went over with me the pictures of her murdered family. If you do not get it by then, you never will.
These Marines have spit on the memory of every Marine and every other service man and woman who wore the uniform in World War II. Another commenter at CBSNews.com asks how long do we have to hold that symbol as a mark of the Nazis in World War II. "How long will the Jews consider it offensive?" Forever. That is how long! That is how it should be. It is a sign of evil. And I will stand with each and every Jewish person against it for as long as I live!
P.S.: Since writing my inital draft, I have read another commentor on CBSNews.com who makes some good and relevant comments. It does not excuse the behavior in my mind, but helps with the context of the situation. And he is so correct on America needing to learn more about empathy. He writes: "by RW0311 February 10, 2012 2:09 PM EST