Fox News military analysts, retired Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney and retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, today dismissed recently published photos of soldiers posing with Afghan corpses as an incident that "did not even rise to the level of a fraternity prank," and "young people blowing off testosterone," as Peters put it. Peters and McInerney also attacked the Los Angeles Times, the newspaper that first published the photos, and Peters went after the anonymous soldier who reportedly provided the photos, suggesting the soldier was "a misfit who couldn't measure up to the very high standards of the 82nd Airborne."
The photos have been widely condemned by the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and the senior allied commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen. Army spokesman Col. Tomas W. Collins was quoted as saying: "[T]hese photos are probably a manifestation of the soldiers' relief that this insurgent no longer posed a threat to them or their fellow soldiers. That cannot excuse what they did. We are the United States Army, and the world rightly has very high expectations that our soldiers will do what's right. Clearly, that didn't happen in this case." Afghan President Hamid Karzai has called the photos "inhumane and provocative."
Appearing on Fox News' America Live to talk about the controversy the photos have generated, Peters said that "the LA Times editors are liars" and that they published the photos "because their paper is on the rocks and they're trying to push up circulation." He added: "I think there really is maybe a scandal out there at the LA Times." McInerney added that the Times "is the problem" and "they should be condemned."
Peters also took the opportunity to attack the unnamed soldier, saying: "If it is a soldier, why wait two years to enforce good order and discipline? Was the soldier really in the unit? Was the soldier present at any of these events? Was the soldier a misfit who couldn't measure up to the very high standards of the 82nd Airborne?"
McInerney added that the soldiers "weren't deliberately desecrating" the bodies in the course of doing their jobs, "although they probably should." He continued: "We shouldn't worry about the remains of suicide bombers, but we do."
Peters also stated:
PETERS: If you want courtesy toward your enemies, send Miss Manners. If you want to kill America's enemies, just send the 82nd Airborne. You know, I don't understand this whole thing about courtesy towards remains of suicide bombers. What's next? Military funerals with full honors for suicide bombers? Plots at Arlington Cemetery?
This is absolutely crazy. And this whole thing -- yes, the soldiers posed with the dead body parts: bad taste. Soldiers survive on black humor in terrible situations. Megyn, this is did not even rise to the level of a fraternity prank, because in fraternity pranks, people sometimes get hurt. Nobody got hurt. It was young people blowing off testosterone.
In 2009, Peters attacked another U.S. soldier, Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, whom he accused of being a "liar" and speculated of being a deserter. Peters went on to say: "If when the facts are in, we find out that through some kind of convoluted chain of events, he really was captured by the Taliban, I'm with him. But if he walked away from his post and his buddies in wartime -- I don't care how hard it sounds -- as far as I'm concerned, the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills."
McInerney has expressed doubts that President Obama is a natural born citizen of the United States, writing that there are "widespread and legitimate concerns that the President is constitutionally ineligible to hold office."