Perry Says American Troops Who Urinated On Dead Taliban Fighters Should Be Reprimanded, Gay Soldiers Should Be Discharged

Josh Barro is one of my favorite conservative pundits. I owe the title of the post to his tweet a moment ago linking to this article on the response of Rick Perry and John McCain to the recent very bad business in Afghanistan:

Texas Gov. Perry said the Marines involved should be reprimanded but not prosecuted on criminal charges.

“Obviously, 18-, 19-year-old kids make stupid mistakes all too often. And that’s what’s occurred here,” Perry told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

He later added: “What’s really disturbing to me is the kind of over-the-top rhetoric from this administration and their disdain for the military.”

Later appearing on the same show, McCain said he disagreed.

“We’re trying to win the hearts and minds” of the Afghanistan population, he said. “And when something like that comes up, it obviously harms that ability.”

I only ever agree with McCain while gritting my teeth. The “bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran” singer lost my respect during the 2008 election when he revealed that instead of the maverick he’d painted himself as for so many years he was, in fact, just a bitter old egomaniac.

But *grits teeth* he’s absolutely right about this. Heads must roll when American troops defile enemy bodies. Just like the torture debate, the point remains that we must hold ourselves to higher standards than our enemy. It’s not merely that we need to win hearts and minds, it’s simply the right thing to do.

Sadly, McCain has reversed his old position on gays serving in the military – another issue that boils down, quite simply, to doing what is right rather than what is easy. Perry and McCain are both ardent opponents of the overturning of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. One of Obama’s finer moments was ending that pernicious policy. I actually suspect that it’s simply the fact that Obama did it that makes McCain so uptight over the whole thing. McCain wanted to be president and so every achievement of Obama’s is viewed through that prism of resentment and bitterness and regret.

One would expect no better from the hapless Perry.

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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the editor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.