Defense Secretary Leon Panetta worries that the photos of American soldiers posing with Taliban corpses will result in the deaths of more soldiers, he said today.
"We had urged the L.A. Times not to run those photos, and the reason for that is those kinds of photos are used by the enemy to incite violence, and lives have been lost as a result of the publication of similar photos in the past, so we regret that they were published," he told reporters in Belgium today. "But having said that, again, that behavior is unacceptable, and it will be fully investigated."
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also said that he was "disappointed" in the newspaper for running the two-year-old photos. "There are issues that I think are quite clear to you and I think were made clear to the editor about the dangers that publishing photographs like that can create for our men and women in uniform as well as our civilian personnel in Afghanistan," Carney told reporters.
Times Editor Davan Maharaj explained the decision in the original story, saying, "After careful consideration, we decided that publishing a small but representative selection of the photos would fulfill our obligation to readers to report vigorously and impartially on all aspects of the American mission in Afghanistan, including the allegation that the images reflect a breakdown in unit discipline that was endangering U.S. troops."