Monday, January 16, 2012

They were just kids, right Governor Perry?

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I never know for sure what will set off my Harrumph Harrumph meter. Today's candidate is the response by Governor Perry to the video of the Marines urinating on dead bodies in Afghanistan.

"Obviously, 18-, 19-year-olds make stupid mistakes all too often, and that's what's occurred here," Perry said in an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union." He likened the incident to Gen. George S. Patton urinating in the Rhine River and Winston Churchill supposedly doing the same on the Siegfried Line.

"What's really disturbing to me is just, kind of, the over-the-top-rhetoric from this administration and their disdain for the military," said Perry, who has been wooing the military vote as well as evangelicals.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has called the incident "utterly deplorable" and said those responsible would be "held accountable to the fullest extent.
I guess the Marine Corps is overreacting to the video as well.
It named a lead investigating officer whose job will include deciding what charges, if any, would be brought against the four men, all of whom have been identified, a Marine Corps official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The move came as a top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan ordered troops to "treat the living and the dead with dignity and respect."

"Defiling, desecrating, mocking, photographing or filming for personal use insurgent dead constitutes a grave breach of the (law of armed conflict)," Lieutenant General Curtis Scaparrotti, who heads day-to-day Afghan operations, wrote in a letter to troops dated January 12 and seen by Reuters on Friday.
As was John McCain.

Now, I find the video reprehensible but my guess in the end is the potential punishment will fall along the lines of what Rep. Allen West 'recommends' (via the Weekly Standard):
“The Marines were wrong. Give them a maximum punishment under field grade level Article 15 (non-judicial punishment), place a General Officer level letter of reprimand in their personnel file, and have them in full dress uniform stand before their Battalion, each personally apologize to God, Country, and Corps videotaped and conclude by singing the full US Marine Corps Hymn without a teleprompter.
As one outlet in South Florida points out:
That's the highlight reel from West's email to the Weekly Standard on the matter, and gives his recommendation that the men receive the maximum punishment under Article 15 -- which, assuming the Marines' rank is lower than West's was, would be more punishment than West received for his Iraq incident.
Here's the wiki on West's "Iraq Incident."

West does go a bit off the rails when he brings in the "but they did it first" excuse (also from the Weekly Standard):
I do not recall any self-righteous indignation when our Delta snipers Shugart and Gordon had their bodies dragged through Mogadishu. Neither do I recall media outrage and condemnation of our Blackwater security contractors being killed, their bodies burned, and hung from a bridge in Fallujah.
But the overall purpose of this post is to discuss Rick Perry's response that it is all just "18-, 19-year-olds make stupid mistakes all too often," as if this is a justifiable excuse.

So I went and did a quick check on something. We all know that Texas leads the nation (world?) in executions. I decided to check and see if I could get a WAG at the numbers of young people Texas has executed in Perry's time as governor. Using wiki here and here. Given the length of time it takes from the commission of a crime through trial and sentencing through all the appeals to execution of said sentence, I figured that it is likely that anyone who was in their 20s at the time of execution was most likely 18, 19, 20 years old when they committed their crime. From 2001 - today, I count roughly 26 people who were executed before age 30.

Governor Perry, if crimes committed in your state of Texas by people in their late teens or early 20s justify the death penalty, then it is damn sure that the Marines involved in this incident can take whatever punishment is coming their way, don't you think?

And because I can:

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