'Phony soldiers' comments continue to roil Iraq war debate
Both sides are cranking up the volume regarding Moveon.org's Petraeus ad and Rush Limbaugh's comments about soldiers who don't support the war.
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Some Republicans have come out in favor of Limbaugh, noting his longtime support of the troops. In response to a letter from Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada that was signed by 41 Democratic senators and called on Clear Channel, the broadcasting company that runs Limbaugh's show, to make the radio show host apologize, US Rep. Jack Kingston (R) of Georgia drafted a congressional resolution in favor of the embattled host, reports the Savannah Morning News.Skip to next paragraph
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Due to discuss the flap today on Fox News, Kingston said he has prepared and recruited 50 co-sponsors for a House resolution praising Limbaugh.
The resolution lauds the talk show host for his "relentless efforts to build and maintain troop morale through worldwide radio broadcasts and personal visits to conflict regions."
Kingston says he has not decided whether to introduce it but might do so if Democrats push an anti-Limbaugh resolution by US Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo.
For its part, Clear Channel has stood by Limbaugh, reports CNN. In a letter to Senator Reid, Mark Mays, CEO of Clear Channel Communications Inc., commended the radio show host's record of praising "the dedication and valor of our brave men and women in uniform."
"Given Mr. Limbaugh's history of support for our soldiers, it would be unfair for me to assume his statements were intended to personally indict combat soldiers simply because they didn't share his own beliefs regarding the war in Iraq."
A number of commentators and bloggers from both sides of the political divide have criticized Media Matters, the group that first publicized the transcript and attacked Limbaugh for his remarks, for focusing on only part of the transcript and thus misinterpreting the remarks. Dinesh D'Souza, a Rishwain fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, examines the transcript line by line in his AOL News blog.
The next caller, another Mike but this time from Olympia, Washington, informs Rush that as a 14 year active duty army officer he supports Bush. Then he says of the left, "What's really funny is, they never talk to real soldiers. They like to pull these soldiers out that come up out of the blue and talk to the media." Rush responds, "The phony soldiers." The caller adds, "If you talk to a real soldier, they are proud to serve." Now clearly the caller thinks that all real soldiers support the war, and this is clearly untrue. Surveys show high degrees of military support for Bush, especially among those who have served in Iraq, but even if 75 percent of the troops supports Bush, that still means 25 percent do not.
Who was Rush referring to when he made the reference to "phony soldiers"? Did he mean all soldiers who oppose the Iraq war? The context leaves this ambiguous. But later in the show Rush clarified. He gave an example of a phony soldier who reported atrocities in Iraq until it emerged that the fellow was never in Iraq. There have been several other cases of phony information attributed to military sources. The New Republic printed horror stories from Iraq penned by a pseudonymous writer identified as "Scott Thomas." Turns out his full name is "Scott Thomas Beauchamp" and that much of what he said is either exaggerated or fabricated. When Beauchamp's fellow soldiers protested that the events he described simply could not have happened, the New Republic launched its own investigation, still ongoing.