In many instances, the adage "boys will be boys" is totally appropriate.  Like when your eight-year old nephew accidentally spills a carton of milk on your kitchen floor, or when you accidentally stumble on your boyfriend's desktop folder porn stash while you're trying to send an e-mail from his computer. According to GOP hopeful and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, however, the timeless "boys will be boys" excuse is also applicable to the U.S. Marines who were filmed urinating on what appears to be the corpses of Taliban fighters (still from the clip above).

Last Sunday, on CNN's State of the Union, Perry defended the soldiers in the video, which inspired nationwide outrage after its release last week. "Obviously 18, 19-year old kids make stupid mistakes all too often and that's what's occurred here," Perry said about the footage, which is currently being investigated by military officials. "What is really disturbing to me is the over-the-top rhetoric from this administration and their disdain for the military." John McCain and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton have decried the incident, with Clinton saying that the Marines' actions were "incompatible with American values," while defense secretary Leon Panetta said the video was "utterly deplorable."

Although the Geneva Conventions expressly forbid the desecration of the dead, Perry says that while he does not condone the Marines' actions in the video, administration officials blew the incident out of proportion. "These kids made a mistake, there's not any doubt about it," he said. "[They] shouldn't have done it, it's bad — but to call it a criminal act, I think, is over the top." Perry also added that General George S. Patton and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill engaged in similar behavior during World War II, reportedly urinating in the Rhine River and on the Siegfred Line, respectively, to show their contempt for the Nazis.

So, just to be clear: there's no difference between peeing in a river and peeing on a couple of dead bodies, just as there's little difference between four Marines filming themselves pissing all over Taliban fighters and laughing about it, and the similarly ill-advised antics of adorable comic strip scamp Dennis the Menace. Because you know, they're just "kids" who "make stupid mistakes all too often," and boys will be boys and all. Good to know, Rick Perry. Thanks for clearing that one up.  

Tags Rick Perry

Commentarium (31 Comments)

Jan 15 12 - 7:24pm

I am a huge supporter of the Marine Corps. My father is a retired Marine and I grew up on a Marine Corps base, however what these Marines did is reprehensible. It is a poor representation of the Marine Corps and the United States. Most of what Rick Perry says is asinine, but this takes the cake. Justifying their behavior based on their assumed ages is not a valid argument. I think they should be punished for what they have done.

Jan 15 12 - 8:12pm

" Justifying their behavior based on their assumed ages is not a valid argument."
This. We should be executing those 13 year-olds that get in a fight, make a poor decision with a rock, and end up killing the other kid. We should stone them.

Jan 15 12 - 8:38pm

I never said anything about kids that commit murder, so I don't quite understand what you are trying to argue. I was referring to the ages of the Marines in question, not some hypothetical situation and I think these Marines should be punished regardless of their age.
In regards to your statement, I do think that a 13 year-old that makes a poor decision and ends up killing someone should be punished, but I never said anything about execution. There our consequences for poor decisions. You really went to an extreme situation.

Jan 15 12 - 10:21pm

Fawkes +1

Jan 15 12 - 10:44pm

If they don't know how to respect the dead they shouldn't be marines. If they hold that title they should respect it and what it means. I am 19 years old and that is old enough to know better, especially if you've been trained as a marine. They are adults and they are responsible for their actions.

Jan 16 12 - 3:13pm

@Publius - How is this "Fawkes +1"? Perhaps such a wild leap would be an acceptable debate tactic on Fox News, but jumping to this scenario based on what Amanda said....such an action just doesn't have any place in a rational discussion.

Jan 16 12 - 3:39pm

Agree with both Amanda and Lamb.

Jan 16 12 - 9:20pm

Well I agree with both Fawkes and Publius.

Jan 15 12 - 9:09pm

I think they should be punished for allowing this to be photographed--that's the only reason. They really put their fellow Marines in jeopardy by not keeping this probably common act to themselves. As for the "victims, " who cares? We're talking about people who stone women for being raped--who cares what happens to them once they're already dead.

Jan 16 12 - 2:48pm

This is NOT common.

Jan 15 12 - 9:22pm

Holla how would you feel if they treated dead marines that way? You can't always assume you know everything about your "enemy." Many fight and kill, then come home to their families. They could say as easily as you "We're talking about people who piss on the dead and disrespect their bodies--who cares what happens to them once they're already dead." Your close-minded thinking and narrow worldview are very potent examples of what's wrong with society- especially with the American point of view.

Jan 15 12 - 10:24pm

They do treat dead Marines that way. It's just not widely reported.

So, just to be clear - I love Dickinson's clunky prose - the Taliban, who are not signatories to any of the "Geneva Conventions," have been guilty of far greater offenses.

Jan 15 12 - 10:41pm

Aren't 'we' supposed to be "better" than 'them'?

Jan 15 12 - 11:54pm

You really want to draw a conclusion regarding "them" vs "us" on the basis of this story?

Jan 16 12 - 1:28am

No, I want to draw that conclusion on the basis of your asinine posts. 'They' do far worse than 'us', so there! My, you had me at 'they.'
On a different note, Publius, you seem to agree on this with your buddy Bill Maher, that hateful guy. Funny how that works.

Jan 16 12 - 2:39am

I'm not drawing any conclusions. I'm saying that the marines are the 'good guys' to Americans and the Taliban are the 'bad guys.' If they want to keep that perception going, this type of behavior is unacceptable. Sorry I had to explain this to you in such grossly simple terms.

Jan 19 12 - 12:41am

@Cato - Feel free to skip over my posts.

Jan 16 12 - 12:52am

Mayhaps I'm unclear on the subject, but isn't desecration of a human corpse ACTUALLY a crime in this country?

Jan 19 12 - 12:43am

Depends on the state but probably moot: The Marines are not in this country.

Jan 16 12 - 8:00am

Those marines did not server their country. Where were their superiors?!

Jan 16 12 - 9:58am

This is supposed to be a war. I'm sure way worse things have happened here and in Vietnam and in all the wars since the beginning of time. In terms of "us" vs "them", I'm sure "they" have done equally heinous things to us--"they're" just not taking pictures of themselves. This outrage is completely manufactured. And xenophobic right wingers use that outrage to fuel the lie that the "mainstream (commie-Obama-loving) media" doesnt support our all American military heros.
Getting ourselves into a lather over this is just going to help the GOP get another foothold in on destroying the social safety net and depriving women of the right to privacy while ensuring the super rich get richer and the middle class gets obliterated.

Jan 16 12 - 12:37pm

We are at war but (and this is a huge "but") our actual mission in Afghanistan is not annihilation--it's nation-building. Even if you wish it weren't so, that is what we are there to do. These marines put that mission in jeopardy by making it more difficult to capture the "hearts and minds" of the locals. If they are not smart enough to understand that mission and act in a manner that is consistent with that mission they should not be there.

Jan 16 12 - 1:20pm

Well said. I think that's the real point -- it jeopardizes the mission, and there is no legitimate countervaling purpose. These marines should have more self-discipline than to engage in a momentary "feel-good" act.

Jan 19 12 - 12:49am

I'm not sure how sniper teams and kill/capture missions play into nation building but I agree with your point generally.

No one is justifying what the Marines did but many of us are shocked at the depth of the response from those in high positions of power who should know better. The proper response should have been: "This is not what we do. We'll address the situation to ensure it doesn't happen again. Next question?"

Jan 16 12 - 10:34pm

I detest what these Marines did. BUT, isn't it a little bit absurd that the Marines shot these guys in the head, then urinated upon them, and the Taliban (and us) are mainly focused on the urination. I guess this is a fine illustration of the absurdity of war. Shoot somebody dead: OK; Urinate on their dead body: outrageous.

Jan 17 12 - 12:40am

This is disgusting and wrong on so many levels. Rick Perry is a joke and a jerk.

Jan 17 12 - 12:58pm

I'd rather be peed on then shot.

They're fucking dead already.

So can murder someone, but you can't pee on them...fucking idiot humans.

Jan 17 12 - 5:37pm

if it were your son or daughter would you want someone taking a giant acidic piss on their body? yeah, didn't think so. prick.

Jan 19 12 - 12:46am

@kay - lol. Too funny.

Jan 22 12 - 12:58pm

This is what we paid $4 trillion for. Ron Paul 2012

Jan 27 12 - 6:44pm

Decaying matter.... decaying matter that served an utterly deplorable purpose a few minute prior. We flush decaying matter (which served a good cause in prior hours) and urine down the toilet, mixin and swirlin' all the way... every day. If they'd cut up the bodies and tossed them in the latrine or the river... my heart wouldn't bleed for the rights of roting corpses. It's funny how Americans can afford to cut themselves and cry over the dumbest things while letting many important issues fly out the window.

While we certainly aren't going to win hearts and minds this way - what's the big deal?