TMZ Publishes Grisly Photos Allegedly Showing Marines Burning Iraqi Bodies in Fallujah

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 15 2014 1:13 PM

TMZ Publishes Grisly Photos Allegedly Showing Marines Burning Iraqi Bodies in Fallujah

An Iraqi policeman stands over a house, damaged in Falluja battle between the U.S military and insurgents in 2004 on November 12, 2009 in the city of Falluja west of Baghdad, Iraq

Photo by Muhannad Fala'ah / Getty Images, not exactly the first place you think of for a story like this, published a series of grisly, stomach-turning photos this afternoon that the website claims shows U.S. Marines burning the bodies of dead Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah back in 2004. You can view the eight published photos for yourself here (be warned: they're incredibly graphic).

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

The site says that the photos are part of a larger trove of pictures—41 in all—that they obtained from an unnamed source and turned over to the government last week. ("We have not included all of the photos," TMZ explains. "Many are just too gruesome"—a statement that will give you chills after you look at the photos that were published.) It's unclear, however, to what extent TMZ tried to confirm the authenticity of the photos themselves, writing only that "we're told [they] were shot in Fallujah in 2004."


The Pentagon confirmed this afternoon that its currently investigating the veracity of the photos, and said that if the pictures turn out to be legitimate the military could look to punish those soldiers it can identify. Here's the full statement Pentagon spokesperson Commander Bill Speaks gave to the Wire this afternoon:

"We are aware of photos appearing on that depict individuals in U.S. Marine uniforms burning what appear to be human remains. The actions depicted in these photos are not what we expect from our service members, nor do they represent the honorable and professional service of the more than 2.5 million Americans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Marine Corps is currently investigating the veracity of these photos, circumstances involved, and if possible, the identities of the service members involved. The findings from this investigation will determine whether we are able to move forward with any investigation into possible wrongdoing."

Fallujah, you'll no doubt remember, was the site of intense fighting back in 2004, with nearly 100 American soldiers killed during the seige of the city. Earlier this month, in something of a sad coda, it fell back into the hands of al-Qaida-affiliated insurgents.

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***



The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?


Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 11:40 AM The U.S. Has Spent $7 Billion Fighting the War on Drugs in Afghanistan. It Hasn’t Worked. 
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Right of Free Speech
  Slate Plus
Oct. 22 2014 6:00 AM Why It’s OK to Ask People What They Do David Plotz talks to two junior staffers about the lessons of Working.
Oct. 21 2014 12:05 PM Same-Sex Couples at Home With Themselves in 1980s America
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 4:14 PM Planet Money Uncovers One Surprising Reason the Internet Is Sexist
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.