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Urinating Marines identified

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The Pentagon identified two of the four Marines shown urinating on dead Taliban terrorists in the explosive Internet video that inflamed U.S. tensions with the Muslim world.

The four Marines — a sniper team with the 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines based at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina — did not hide their faces in the video, which appeared to be shot by a fifth Marine.

Military brass Thursday did not make public the names of two Leathernecks they had identified.

Gen. Jim Amos, the Marine Corps commandant, said the Naval Criminal Investigative Service had “a team of their very best agents” investigating “every aspect of the filmed event.”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the culprits “will be held accountable to the fullest extent.”

What penalty they might face was unclear.

The desecration of Taliban corpses by wisecracking Marines drew angry condemnation from diplomats and politicians of every stripe Thursday — none more vehement than from those who had served.

“This actually hurts me. This is painful,” Rep. Michael Grimm (R-S.I), a former Marine, said while gripping a copy of The News’ “SHOCKING” front page of the vile act.

“There’s no excuse for this ever happening. They were trained, and they know better, and they disgraced their country,” Grimm told the Daily News Editorial Board.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a Navy veteran held prisoner during the Vietnam War, told CBS the rogue Marines may do “great damage” to America’s image around the globe.

Secretary of State Clinton expressed her “total dismay” as she scrambled to ensure fledgling withdrawal negotiations with Afghanistan would stay on track.

Perhaps surprisingly, the Taliban vowed not to exploit the issue. “The video will not harm our talks,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

Panetta phoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai to say the footage was “utterly deplorable, and that it does not reflect the standards or values American troops are sworn to uphold,” Panetta’s spokesman said.

Karzai called what he saw in the video “simply inhumane.”

“The government of Afghanistan is deeply disturbed by a video that shows American soldiers desecrating dead bodies of three Afghans,” Karzai said in a statement Thursday.

“We expressly ask the U.S. government to urgently investigate the video and apply the most severe punishment to anyone found guilty in this crime.”

In the footage, the four Marines in full combat gear stand over three bloody corpses sprawled near an overturned wheelbarrow, spraying urine and jokes.

“Have a great day, buddy,” one says in a high-pitched voice. “Golden — like a shower,” another chimed in. The video was posted to YouTube late Tuesday and went viral Wednesday, threatening to spark a new anti-American outcry around the Muslim world.

It surfaced as Washington seeks to open delicate talks with Afghanistan’s elected government and the Taliban insurgency in preparation for a 2014 pullout.

The Obama administration is sending a special envoy to Afghanistan next week to test the waters.

“We don’t have any idea standing here today what the outcome of such discussions could be,” Clinton said.

“We will continue to support efforts that will be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned to pursue the possibility of reconciliation and peace.”

The video’s uploader, known by the handle “semperfiLoneVoice” — a reference to the Marine Corps’ motto Semper fidelis — added a plaintive caption: “I thought Marines were supposed to do the right thing when no one is watching.”

The YouTube account – and it’s lone video – was removed by its owner Thursday after it sparked the firestorm.

hkennedy@nydailynews.com

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