Gen. Amos: Punishment for urination video ‘not a slap on the wrist’

Speaking at the National Press Club Tuesday, Amos said the three Marines received a “fairly significant amount of punishment.”

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“I can tell you that it was not a slap on the wrist,” Amos said when the video came up during the question-and-answer session, though he said he could not discuss the matter with more specificity. “When all is said and done, everybody is going to look back and go, hey, the Marines did the right thing.”

Amos emphasized that further punishment was likely coming, as there were more Marines that would still be held accountable for the video.

The Marines disciplined on Monday were not named, but the statement described one as taking part in the act, one video-taping it and another as their commanding officer.

The statement issued by the Marines suggested that the non-judicial punishments could be career ending, as it said they have “the potential to affect reenlistment and promotion.”

Amos declined to elaborate Tuesday. “I don’t know. I think certainly in some cases it can be. Each case is different,” he said. “I can’t tell you whether it’s career ending or not.”

The urination video scandal is one of a number of difficult issues that Amos has dealt with in his nearly two years as commandant, from the strain of a decade of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq to the new crashes in the V-22 Osprey program that have led Japan to question housing the "tiltrotor" aircraft.

In a wide-ranging interview at the Press Club, Amos weighed in on the effects of sequestration, the role of women in combat and the seamlessness that the Marines have implemented the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Amos repeated the company line on sequestration, saying that the across-the-board budget cut would disproportionately hit the Marines and should be stopped.

When asked female if males would feel uncomfortable with a female infantry commander, Amos said there would likely be some anxiety, but that the Marines would be able to work through it.

He said having women in combat has not been an issue, and that he was awaiting more facts before making further recommendations to open up additional positions to women.

After opposing the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” in 2010, Amos said that he is “very proud” at how well the implementation has gone for the Marines. He said he doesn’t hear any problems about it now, just as he predicted before repeal, because Marines obey orders “better than anybody.”

Amos declined to weigh in on a budding controversy in the Navy SEALs over a book set to be released next month that will provide an insider’s account on the Osama bin Laden raid. “Can’t speak about right and wrong and, ‘Should they or shouldn’t they?’” Amos said, adding that he’s going to “wait and see what happens.”