- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 27, 2006

From combined dispatches

A Marine corporal who sang in a homemade video about a bloody shootout with an Iraqi family didn’t violate military law and won’t be court-martialed, the Marine Corps said yesterday.

“The bottom line is there was no violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” said spokeswoman Maj. Shawn Haney of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. “We do stand by our original statement that we feel the lyrics were inappropriate.”

Commanders of Cpl. Joshua Belile, 23, will handle the matter administratively, which can include informal counseling about his actions, military officials said.

In the four-minute Internet video called “Hadji Girl” — recorded while Cpl. Belile was stationed in Iraq — he plays guitar and sings about a Marine who falls in love with an Iraqi girl, who invites him to her home. There, the Marine is ambushed by the girl’s brother and father, who open fire with AK-47 rifles, killing the girl and the Marine kills the entire family.

In the video, an audience of fellow servicemen laugh loudly at the song, featuring a chorus with lyrics from the 2004 film spoof “Team America,” as well as some obscenities.

The video prompted complaints from the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for CAIR, said his group never anticipated criminal action against the Marine and considered the matter resolved.

“We did say we would leave it up to them, so that brings the whole situation to a conclusion for us,” Mr. Hooper said. “They did recognize that it was insensitive and inappropriate.”

Cpl. Belile performs with fellow Marines in a band called Sweater Kittenz. He is assigned to Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron 167 at North Carolina’s Marine Corps Air Station New River, which is adjacent to Camp Lejeune.

In an e-mail to syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin, Cpl. Belile said it was “good to be able to breathe again,” after disciplinary scrutiny of the video.

“Although I was reprimanded for performing such a song while in uniform, my rights as an American, to include the First Amendment, have not been compromised,” Mr. Belile wrote in a message that Mrs. Malkin posted at www.michellemalkin.com. “My intentions were never to hurt or offend anyone.”

Cpl. Belile said he was planning to produce a professional recording of the song, which became a hit on the Internet as a result of press coverage of the video.

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