British soldiers in Kabul, Afghanistan, used an image of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn as target practice, drawing criticism from United Kingdom progressives and triggering an internal investigation.
Video of the soldiers firing weapons at a large picture of Corbyn went viral early Wednesday morning.
The video was propelled into the mainstream after journalist Ash Sarkar, in a thread on Twitter, cited images from the video posted by far right British writer Trevor Coult celebrating the behavior. In her comments on the video’s reception, Sarkar drew a line between Coult’s fascist rhetoric and the coverage of Corbyn in the British press.
Sarkar also wondered why the story wasn’t front page news.
“It’s not just inappropriate,” Sarkar said. “It’s fascistic.”
British media jumped on the story shortly thereafter, and the images have since spread across the world.
The British military has begun an investigation of the soldiers’ behavior.
“It’s totally unacceptable behavior,” said Brigadier Nick Perry.
According to the New York Times, the video was taken “at a range in Kabul, Afghanistan, where soldiers carry out ‘guardian-angel’ drills, practicing to protect top officials. Pictures of other celebrities appeared at the range, but not for target practice.”
Media and political personalities in Britain denounced the video and called for a more congenial politics in a fraught moment for the country.
The video is “terrifying,” said Novara Media editor James Butler.
“Deeply, deeply dangerous in this political moment,” Butler said.
“Calling Jeremy Corbyn a ‘terrorist sympathizer,’ ‘traitor,’ and a ‘Britain hater’ is wrong and dangerous,” said Labour Party activist George Aylett. “There are consequences.”
“This disgraceful behavior is deeply troubling and has no place in the Army,” said Nia Griffith, Corbyn’s shadow minister for defense.
Corbyn is meeting this afternoon with Prime Minister Theresa May to discuss a possible compromise plan for Brexit.