Marines urinating on Taliban corpses

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

January 12, 2012 1:01:33 PM PST
The condemnation is to be expected - and we'd be disappointed if the officials in charge of the U.S. military didn't say they were appalled by the images of a group of Marines urinating on members of the Taliban they had just killed.

A horrible image. It's inhumane and it is, politically, the last thing the U.S. needs Muslims to see, since one of the key organizing and driving points of radical Islam is that Americans are, figuratively, doing that to the Muslims around the world.

Clearly the Pentagon seems like it's going to move quickly to punish the Marines they've identified in the video.

But let's not for a second be so naïve to lose sight of the horrible things that happen in war. These are young men, trained to kill. It is a brutal and inhumane business, and how in the world are these kids - and that's what they are, kids - supposed to engage in a kill-or-die gun battle and then suddenly turn off the killing-machine switch.

That's the problem with war, isn't it? That's the problem with all these troops now coming home and experiencing violence in their personal lives, isn't it? It's been like that in every war we can remember.

So, yes, it's terrible what they did. But this stuff happens - it isn't that long ago that the inhumane pictures of torturing prisoners at Abu Graib - and if a video hadn't been made and if that video hadn't gone viral, it would have been just another insanely insane consequence of war.

I'm just sayin'.

We'll have the latest on the investigation into Marine scandal, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, we're on the campaign trail where Newt Gingrich seems to be morphing into a MoveOn.Org campaign organizer. His Super PAC is now spending a lot of money airing ads that attack Mitt Romney's former venture capital firm as "crony capitalism" for taking over companies and then, sometimes, downsizing and laying off workers.

Here's the ad: "Was Mitt Romney a job creator, or a corporate raider? That's the question conservatives are asking," the announcer intones darkly. "Like a vulture, he hunted for vulnerable companies. He took them over, loaded them with debt and collected whopping fees. He cut costs and cut jobs, and picked at the remains."

Sounds like an argument the Left would make. And it's certainly an argument Pres. Obama's campaign will make, should Mr. Romney become the Republican nominee.

Gingrich today defended his ads and his attacks on Romney.

"Now this rattled a number of so-called conservatives," said the former Speaker of the House, "who say that to challenge where the money went and to challenge what deals were cut is to be anti-free enterprise. I think it's just the opposite. I think when you have crony capitalism of politicians taking care of their friends - that's not free enterprise -that's just backdoor socialism in which the rich get all the money and the rest of us gets left, gets left with all the debt. And I'm not going to back down or be afraid to say we the American people have the right to know and any candidate for president has an obligation to tell us and I think that these extraordinarily wealthy institutions are going to somehow bring enough pressure to bear to say you better shut up, tells you just how bad-off the system has gotten."

It's a little like watching the GOP through an Alice In Wonderland looking glass. And it makes for fascinating stories. We're on the campaign trail at 11.

We're also taking a closer look at air travel - which these days is little more than a glorified bus ride. Our Lucy Yang tonight looks at the top 5 apps you can download to make your trip a little friendlier and easier.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg with his AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.


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