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Perry says go easy on Marines in video

WASHINGTON -- Rick Perry accused the Obama administration Sunday of "over-the-top rhetoric" and "disdain for the military" in its condemnation of a video that purportedly shows four Marines urinating on corpses in Afghanistan.

The comments by the Republican presidential hopeful put him at odds with Sen. John McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, who said the images could damage the war effort.

"The Marine Corps prides itself that we don't lower ourselves to the level of the enemy," McCain said when asked about Perry's position. "So it makes me sad more than anything else, because . . . I can't tell you how wonderful these people [Marines] are. And it hurts their reputation and their image."

No one has been charged in the case, but a military criminal investigation and an internal Marine Corps review are under way. The Geneva Conventions forbid desecration of the dead.

Perry said the four Marines 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," the Texas governor told CNN's "State of the Union." "What's really disturbing to me," he added later, "is the kind of over-the-top rhetoric from this administration and their disdain for the military."

McCain, on the same show later, 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." -- AP

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