Bloggers jumped all over a comment made by Rush Limbaugh on Tuesday, in which he supposedly called military personnel who oppose the war in Iraq "phony soldiers." Immediately, voices on the Left rushed to defend the honor of men and women in the military, accusing Limbaugh of insulting their integrity. In fact, the same blogs who had no problem with MoveOn's ad accusing General David Petraeus of potentially traitorous conduct reacted with outrage to Rush's comment.
However, unlike the "Betray Us" ad, Rush' critics took the comment out of context. Let's take a look at the transcript from the broadcast (via Worldwide Standard). Rush made it clear what he meant by phony:
RUSH: 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 pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and spout to the media.
RUSH: The phony soldiers.
CALLER: 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.
That was the sequence that generated the controversy. However, at the end of the call, Rush explained exactly what he meant by "phony soldiers":
Here is a Morning Update that we did recently, talking about fake soldiers. This is a story of who the left props up as heroes. They have their celebrities and one of them was Army Ranger Jesse Macbeth. Now, he was a "corporal." I say in quotes. Twenty-three years old. What made Jesse Macbeth a hero to the anti-war crowd wasn't his Purple Heart; it wasn't his being affiliated with post-traumatic stress disorder from tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. No. What made Jesse Macbeth, Army Ranger, a hero to the left was his courage, in their view, off the battlefield, without regard to consequences. He told the world the abuses he had witnessed in Iraq, American soldiers killing unarmed civilians, hundreds of men, women, even children. In one gruesome account, translated into Arabic and spread widely across the Internet, Army Ranger Jesse Macbeth describes the horrors this way: "We would burn their bodies. We would hang their bodies from the rafters in the mosque."
Now, recently, Jesse Macbeth, poster boy for the anti-war left, had his day in court. And you know what? He was sentenced to five months in jail and three years probation for falsifying a Department of Veterans Affairs claim and his Army discharge record. He was in the Army. Jesse Macbeth was in the Army, folks, briefly. Forty-four days before he washed out of boot camp. Jesse Macbeth isn't an Army Ranger, never was. He isn't a corporal, never was. He never won the Purple Heart, and he was never in combat to witness the horrors he claimed to have seen. You probably haven't even heard about this. And, if you have, you haven't heard much about it. This doesn't fit the narrative and the template in the Drive-By Media and the Democrat Party as to who is a genuine war hero. Don't look for any retractions, by the way. Not from the anti-war left, the anti-military Drive-By Media, or the Arabic websites that spread Jesse Macbeth's lies about our troops, because the truth for the left is fiction that serves their purpose. They have to lie about such atrocities because they can't find any that fit the template of the way they see the US military. In other words, for the American anti-war left, the greatest inconvenience they face is the truth.
Now, I will say that Rush should have mentioned that some real soldiers oppose the surge strategy in Iraq, and some oppose the deployment altogether. However, the media seems to fixate on Jesse MacBeths and Scott Beauchamps, who served but lied about their experiences, and then never give the refutations anything close to the same coverage they gave the lies. Jesse MacBeth had served as the Left's poster boy for several months, but his guilty plea has not made much of a splash in the Leftosphere -- certainly not the fanfare his fantasies received.
That's the context of Rush's remarks. That's the context that his critics seem to ignore. Even if Rush had said what they claimed he said, they also managed to avoid asking why they felt so outraged over it when most of them defended MoveOn's slanderous accusations of treason against an American Army officer. It's on a par with last week's howler about how George Bush didn't know Nelson Mandela was still alive.