Posted on January 15, 2012 in Campaign Statements
[In reference to a video showing US Marines urinating the dead bodies of alleged members of the Taliban.]
PERRY: Well, obviously, 18, 19-year-old kids make stupid mistakes all too often, and that's what's occurred here. But, you know, when you're -- when you're in war -- and history, kind of, backs up there's a picture of General Patton doing basically the same thing in the Rhine river. And although there's not a picture, Churchill did the same thing on the Siegfried line.
So I'll tell you what's been really disturbing to me is just, kind of, the over-the-top rhetoric from this administration and their disdain for the military, it appears, whether it's the secretary of state or whether it's the secretary of defense. I mean, these kids made a mistake. There's not any doubt about it. They shouldn't have done it. It's bad. But the -- the -- to call it a criminal act, I think, is over the top.
CROWLEY: Well, here's the problem, I think. All the things that you mentioned as part of history was before YouTube; it was before the Taliban; it was before this feeling that the U.S. somehow does not respect, you know, religions.This is -- this is something that's not just a picture. It's not just a message to Americans. It's a message that could hurt us in the larger world. So I'm not sure the exact age of them, but no matter what age they are, is this the kind of behavior that you think you can tolerate in the day and age when that picture is everywhere?
PERRY: Well, here's the issue. I will suggest to you that these are 18, 19, 20-year-old kids. They make mistakes. There is video out there of all types of things, I will suggest to you. But the idea that this administration would go after these young people for a criminal act is -- again, I think it is over the top and -- and did they make a mistake? Absolutely. Should they be reprimanded and appropriately punished? Yes. But going after them as a criminal act, I think -- really bad message.