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Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, the top civilian executive of the Marines and Navy, said it was “appalling and outrageously offensive,” and Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos called it “wholly inconsistent with the high standards of conduct and warrior ethos” demanded in the Corps.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Barack Obama was aware of the story but may not have seen the video.

Asked how the development might affect U.S.-Afghan-Taliban peace efforts, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton did not directly reply.

“The United States remains strongly committed to helping build a secure, peaceful, prosperous, democratic future for the people of Afghanistan,” she said. “And we will continue to support efforts that will be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned to pursue the possibility of reconciliation and peace.”

On the streets of Afghanistan, the reaction was cool.

“If these actions continue, people will not like them (the Americans) anymore and there will be uprising against them,” Mohammad Qayum, said while watching a television news story about the video that was airing in a local restaurant in Kabul.

Ahmad Naweed, a shopkeeper in Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban insurgency, said, “On the one hand, the Americans present themselves as friends of Afghanistan and … they also try to have peace talks with the Taliban. So we don’t know what kind of political game they are playing in Afghanistan.”

This kind of embarrassment dispersed over the Internet is not new for the Pentagon.

Over the years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, officials periodically have been stunned by the troops’ penchant for taking photos or videos of themselves in acts ranging from criminal to simply stupid.

Outrage spread instantly across the globe in 2004 over the release of photos taken by a group of U.S. military police abusing prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The troops were grinning and posing beside naked detainees stacked in a pyramid, held on a leash and so on.

In 2008, a Marine was kicked out of the service after being videotaped throwing a puppy off a cliff while on patrol in Iraq and joking about it as the animal yelped.

Associated Press writers Slobodan Lekic and Deb Riechmann in Kabul, Afghanistan and Anne Gearan in Washington contributed to this report.