Not so fast, Secretary Panetta

In the matter of the micturating Marines, Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, is making a major election year mistake by letting his actions be guided by hysterical liberals. Following a by-now- to-be-expected, politically-correct protocol, Panetta and the Pentagon are pledging to locate and punish the offending jarheads (in this particular situation that term seems entirely appropriate) who jarheadedly allowed themselves to be videoed while urinating on the bodies of terrorists.

What Leon and the Obama Administration should stop and think about before making too much of this mess is not how to appease the outraged liberal minority but how to keep from awakening outrage within the far larger segment of the American citizenry who see this incident as merely incidental. For evidence of that claim, I suggest that Leon and David Axelrod should take a look at a poll conducted by that not-so-conservative, news source right there in the capital city, the Washington Post. I referred to that poll in an earlier post on this topic here at American Thinker. At that time, these were the results:

What was your reaction to the video that appeared to show Marines urinating on three Afghan corpses?

It's an unacceptable desecration - 12%

It's an embarrassment - 7%

It's not surprising -- things like this happen in war - 81%

Total Votes: 13,445

The current vote total in that poll now stands at more than 31,000 and is still growing. What has not changed, however, and what Leon and the White House should be taking note of, is the overwhelming percentage (now 82%) of WAPO readers who take the disimpassioned view that the Marines' behavior is nothing more than another one of those unfortunate consequences of impassioned ground combat.

What the Democrats should really be concerned with is how that 80+ percent breaks down in terms of potential voters. We can assume that most of those who voted for one of the first two choices are probably among those who self-identify as liberals although there are sure to be some moderates and even a few conservatives voting their disgust or disappointment. That cohort most likely then are part of the 33% or so who call themselves Democrats. If that is in fact the case, then the 80% figure becomes even more problematic for the Obama campaign because fewer than 35% of Americans self-identify as Republicans. That means that quite a significant portion of those polled selecting the third option must be part of that demographic who self-identify as moderates and politically align as independents and who inevitably determine elections.

So before you go too hard on those Marines, Leon, you better check with your boss and Axelrod. Maligning our military in an election year over an issue the electorate appears to consider inconsequential is not a really great vote-getting tactic.

Mitt, are you paying attention here? How loudly can you say Semper Fi?