Limbaugh: Service members who support U.S. withdrawal are “phony soldiers”
During the September 26 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh called service members who advocate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq “phony soldiers.” He made the comment while discussing with a caller a conversation he had with a previous caller, “Mike from Chicago,” who said he “used to be military,” and “believe[s] that we should pull out of Iraq.” Limbaugh told the second caller, whom he identified as “Mike, this one from Olympia, Washington,” that “[t]here’s a lot” that people who favor U.S. withdrawal “don’t understand” and that when asked why the United States should pull out, their only answer is, ” ‘Well, we just gotta bring the troops home.’ … ‘Save the — keeps the troops safe’ or whatever,” adding, “[I]t’s not possible, intellectually, to follow these people.” “Mike” from Olympia replied, “No, it’s not, and what’s really funny is, they never talk to real soldiers. They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and talk to the media.” Limbaugh interjected, “The phony soldiers.” The caller, who had earlier said, “I am a serving American military, in the Army,” agreed, replying, “The phony soldiers.”
In RushWorld, Staff Sgt. Yance T. Gray, 26, and Sgt. Omar Mora, 28, who died in Baghdad a few days ago, were “phony soldiers.” Gray and Mora were two of the authors of a New York Times op-ed called “The War As We Saw It” that criticized the Iraq occupation.
Limbaugh has never served in the military. He got a medical deferment from the Vietnam-era draft. Exactly how Rush would know what constitutes “phoniness” in soldiering is anyone’s guess. Historically, loyalty to “the cause” has never been a prerequisite for soldiering, as the bulk of the wars fought since the invention of war didn’t involve a cause at all, and soldiers fought because they were ordered to fight. Military historians long have noted that soldiers on the battlefield say they fight for each other, for their comrades in arms, more than for king and country.
See also Jon Soltz, “So I’m a ‘Phony Soldier,’ Rush?”
And, of course, criticism of George Bush and his “policies” is not unpatriotic, a point few righties seem to be able to wrap their heads around.
A few right-wing blogs have weighed in, all huffing and puffing indignantly at the liberal smear of Rush. They note that Rush didn’t explicitly say, word-for-word, “Service members who support U.S. withdrawal are phony soldiers.” Someone else brought up soldiers who express criticism of the occupation to media, and Rush interjected “phony soldiers.” See, that’s entirely different.
So far, the best explanation of the smear against Rush comes from the ever brilliant Macranger. After repeating the much-debunked lie that Media Matters is funded by George Soros, Macranger points out that it was a caller, not Rush, who criticized critical soldiers — Rush was just helping him out when he said “phony soldiers.” Then in the next paragraph Macranger says [emphasis added],
By the way, his and Rushâ€™s opinion is not a lone one among active soldiers by the way, many of whom view â€œmalcontentsâ€ with not so loving feelings. In fact as I told you before that back â€œin the dayâ€ we spotted these types in basic training and â€œmarked themâ€ with a special party! You know, to let them know just what they had signed up for in case they forgot.
I think somebody needs to get his story straight. See also Digby.