Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Democrats criticize Rush Limbaugh's 'criticism' of soldiers

It was but a short time in the past when Democrats in Congress were criticizing President Bush for focusing on “non-issues” like flag burning and gay marriage while ignoring the real issues like the war, the economy and health care.

Now, the Democrats are the ones focusing on a non-issue.

Forty-one Senate Democrats sent a letter to Clear Channel Communications CEO Mark P. Mays requesting that he publicly rebuke radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh for his alleged actions of labeling soldiers who speak out against the Iraq War as “phony soldiers”. (Clear Channel owns the right to broadcast Limbaugh’s talk show).

In the letter, they wrote: “Thousands of active troops and veterans were subjected to Mr. Limbaugh’s unpatriotic and indefensible comments on your broadcast. We trust you will agree that not a single one of our sons, daughters, neighbors and friends serving overseas is a “phony soldier.” We call on you to publicly repudiate these comments that call into question their service and sacrifice and to ask Mr. Limbaugh to apologize for his comments.”

Mays, in his response, wrote that he supports the troops, believes that Limbaugh does also and that while he doesn’t agree 100% with Limbaugh’s takes, he does not believe that Limbaugh was calling all soldiers who question our government’s actions to be “phony”. It was sort of a diplomatic way of saying, Rush is entitled to his opinion, and I’m not going to apologize for comments Rush made that you just might be simply taking out of context.

Let’s take a quick revisit to the first sentence of the Democrats’ letter: “Thousands of active troops and veterans were subjected to Mr. Limbaugh’s unpatriotic and indefensible comments on your broadcast.” I’m a veteran who served from 1996-2000 in the Army and spent time as a Russian linguist. The Democrats’ comments about veterans does not speak for me.

Limbaugh, on his Website, responds that he was taken far out of context and that the Democrats are attacking him to cover up their own failings as the Senate Majority. He adds that he and the caller named Mike were discussing a single soldier, Jesse MacBeth, described as an anti-war soldier who served in Iraq and witnessed American atrocities firsthand. Well, as it turns out, MacBeth never finished basic training (much less went to Iraq) and never was an Army Ranger (which he apparently claimed to be) and never won a purple heart. MacBeth ended up being convicted of falsifying a Department of Veterans Affairs claim and his Army discharge record. The transcript goes like this:

RUSH ARCHIVE: It’s not possible intellectually to follow these people.

CALLER: 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 spout to the media.

RUSH: The phony soldiers.

CALLER: The phony soldiers. If you talk to any real soldier and they’re proud to serve, they want to be over in Iraq, they understand their sacrifice and they're willing to sacrifice for the country.

RUSH: They joined to be in Iraq.

RUSH: It’s frustrating and maddening, and why they must be kept in the minority. I want to thank you, Mike, for calling. I appreciate it very much.

It’s really amazing the things you pick up when you read things in context. Frankly, I find the Democrats’ response to self-serving nonsense. I wonder if this is sour grapes over how Limbaugh consistently kills liberal Air America talk show hosts in the ratings.

Now that we’re on this subject, why wasn’t there any Democratic outrage over D-List comedian Kathy Griffin’s sacrilegious comments about Jesus Christ during the Emmy Awards? Why no outrage when Senator Dick Durbin compared Guantanamo Bay to the Nazi concentration camps?

I don’t ever want to hear any U.S. Senators accuse President Bush of spending time on irrelevant issues. It scares me that people who jump to conclusions without bothering to do research and find out what Limbaugh really said are in positions of power. God help this nation.

Limbaugh has invited Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid onto his program to discuss and debate the issue, but Reid has so far not responded. Officially, I presume, Reid would say he doesn’t want to dignify Rush. It’s more along the lines that Reid doesn’t want to give Rush a chance to show the remarks in their context.

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