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You’ve heard a number of times from Jon Soltz, co-founder of VoteVets.org. Do you consider him a phony soldier? According to Rush Limbaugh, Jon Soltz, an Iraq war veteran, is a phony soldier. Media Matters, a not-for-profit, progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media, reports that Rush Limbaugh said that troops who return home from Iraq and criticize American involvement in Iraq’s religious civil war are “phony soldiers.”
Would Rush Limbaugh make these outrageous and offensive comments to Jon’s face? Apparently not, because Limbaugh has ignored over 10,000 emailed requests from individuals like retired U.S. Army four-star General Wesley Clark to invite VoteVets.org’s Jon Soltz to his show - and repeat these same insults to an Iraq war veteran’s face. I support Rush Limbaugh’s right to free speech. The problem is that his show is aired on Armed Forces Radio, which is funded by taxpayer’s dollars. This money is not intended for radio show hosts to spout insults at our soldiers. These “phony soldiers” have simply exercised their right to free speech, as Rush Limbaugh does on a daily basis.
Rush Limbaugh has never worn the uniform in his life, yet he’s got the moral standing to pass judgment on the men and women who risked their lives for this nation?
Polls have shown that the majority of troops on the ground in Iraq, and those who have returned, do not back the President’s failed policy. Does Rush believe then, that the majority of the US Armed Forces are “phony?”
Major Generals John Batiste and Paul Eaton left the military and have spoken out against the Bush Administration’s failed policies. These are former commanders in Iraq, and they have challenged the Administration for its stubborn refusal to listen to those commanders on the ground who have sent up warning after warning. Finally, recall the members of the 82nd Airborne in Iraq who wrote a New York Times op-ed urging for a change in course in Iraq, and suggesting it was time to figure out an exit strategy. Two of them just died.
Does Rush believe these young troops are “phony soldiers?”
Horribly enough, the insults against Iraq war vets did not stop there. Rush Limbaugh denounced a recent ad by VoteVets.org which featured Iraq war veteran Brian McGough, calling the ad “a blatant use of a valiant combat veteran, lying to him about what I said, then strapping those lies to his belt, sending him out via the media in a TV ad to walk into as many people as he can walk into.” The rest of his comments can be found at mediamatters.org.
A writer for Daily Kos published Brian McGough’s reply by email: “I stood in the sand, snow, dirt, mud and dust of both Afghanistan and Iraq. I spent over a week on a side of a mountain in Afghanistan during Operation Anaconda. I received The Bronze Star medal for my actions during that battle. I crossed the border into Iraq with the first wave of the 101st Airborne...I sustained an open head injury on the streets of Mosul after a vehicle borne IED exploded next to the vehicle I was riding in. I have seen the aftermath of a real suicide bomber. I had loved ones who died in the 9/11 attacks. I have friends and colleagues who returned from the war in body bags...How dare you call someone like me a phony soldier and a suicide bomber? In the commercial I just taped, I told you unless you had the guts to say something to my face, stop telling lies about my service. Well you haven’t had the guts to say it to my face, but I am waiting and the offer is still on the table.”
Eventually, Congress passed a resolution officially condemning the MoveOn.org “Betray us” ad, a resolution that Rush supported. Yet Congress continues to use tax dollars to fund Rush’s offensive comments about our soldiers. I urge everyone reading this to contact the offices of their Representative through the House switchboard (225-342-6945) and their Senators through the Senate switchboard (225-342-2040). Tell them that Rush Limbaugh should not make these comments and still have a show on a publicly funded station such as Armed Forces Radio. Your representatives can also be contacted through their websites.