Pentagon tried to prevent publication of Afghanistan corpse abuse photos

The Los Angeles Times this week published photographs of US soldiers in Afghanistan posing with the mangled bodies of Afghan men believed to be suicide bombers.

Government officials were quick to condemn the behavior. But today, news that the Pentagon sought to prevent the publication of these images, in a dispute that stretched on for weeks with LA Times editors.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta today said, "The reason for that is those kinds of photos are used by the enemy to incite violence, and lives have been lost as the result of the publication of similar photos."

Only 2 of of the images were published. 16 more were received by the war correspondent who wrote the piece; the paper will not release them.

"They are just awful," he said, calling the two that were published "the least gruesome."

Photo: A soldier from the Army's 82nd Airborne with a dead insurgent's hand on his shoulder. (Los Angeles Times / April 18, 2012)