Texas Gov. Rick Perry, unprompted, offered an impassioned criticism of the Obama administration for condemning U.S. marines who urinated on the corpses of dead Taliban fighters.
"These young men made a mistake," he said, without actually having been asked to address the recent controversy. "They made a mistake that the military needs to deal with, and they need to be punished."
But the fact of the matter is this: When the secretary of defense calls that a despicable act, when he calls that utterly despicable, let me tell you what is utterly despicable: cutting Danny Pearl's head off and showing the video, hanging our contractors from bridges, that's utterly despicable. For our president, for the secretary of state, for the Department of Defense secretary to make those kinds of statements about those young marines, yes they need to be punished, but when you see this president with that type of disdain for our country, taking a trillion dollars out of our defense budget, a hundred thousand of our military off of our front lines? I lived through a reduction of forces once and I saw the results of it in the sands of Iran in 1979.
It stands to reason, from the answer, that Perry would not have verbally reprimanded soldiers for urinating on dead Taliban fighters. It's his prerogative, and it's worth noting that the same sort of fault lines occurred when U.S. guards were reportedly mishandling Qurans at Gitmo.
The reference to Daniel Pearl, however, rubbed friends of the slain Wall Street Journal reporter the wrong way. John Harwood, now at The New York Times, tweeted: "As someone who was a friend and colleague of Danny Pearl...Perry's reference to Danny was irrelevant and gross."
It's also not entirely clear what Perry was getting at when he tied Iran in 1979 to a reduction of U.S. forces -- save, perhaps, that he believes there would have been no Islamic Revolution if there was a threat of American intervention. It should be noted either way that the Department of Defense budget has drastically increased since then.