by Mark Silva
Radio’s Rush Limbaugh, at war with Democrats over his remark about “phony soldiers,’’ today offered a bold new description for the wounded Iraq veteran whom anti-war veterans have placed in cable TV and radio ads criticizing Limbaugh for his controversial commentary.
“This is such a blatant use of a valiant combat veteran, lying to him about what I said and then strapping those lies to his belt, sending him out via the media and a TV ad to walk into as many people as he can walk into,’’ Limbaugh said today.
“This man will always be a hero to this country with everyone. Whoever pumped him full of these lies about what I said and embarrassed him with this ad has betrayed him, they aren’t hurting me. They are betraying this soldier.’’
But it was a real life suicide bomber who had attacked the soldier in question, it turns out, leaving him with head wounds and a Purple Heart that we see in his ad complaining about the radio host, and when the soldier caught wind of Limbaugh’s complaint today, he only escalated the conflict.
“I have seen the aftermath of a real suicide bomber,’’ veteran Brian McGough wrote today in an email to a liberal weblog.
“So, Rush Limbaugh called me a ‘suicide bomber,’ said the anti-war veteran. "More slander from the high and mighty sitting in his chair nursing the boils on his ass. I can assure you that I am no suicide bomber and that I can think for myself.’’
The VoteVets group certainly thinks so. The coalition of anti-war veterans is featuring McGough in an ad airing this week on the Fox News Channel and on CNN as well as on the radio stations in Washington and Palm Beach, Limbaugh’s home base, that air his radio show.
All this, of course, in response to the initial comment that Limbaugh made last week during a discussion with radio callers about people calling for withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq – “phony soldiers,’’ said Limbaugh, later in the week insisting that he had only one phony in mind, the imposter Jesse MacBeth.
He then went on to add Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa.), retired Marine colonel and Iraq war opponent, to a roster of “genuine phony soldiers.’’ And this led to the VoteVets ad campaign.
“Rush, your phony soldier comments pissed me off,’’ McGough continued in an email posted today by DailyKos.com, that liberal weblog, responding to the report of Limbaugh’s newest comment. Brandon Friedman, a VoteVets member, reported it in his "diary'' on the site. "The audacity of someone like you who never had the courage to stand and fight for what you believe in makes my head spin,'' McGough wrote, Friedman reports.
McGough wrote that his anger for Limbaugh’s comments is “what made me stand up and state my convictions in front of a camera. I wanted to point out that you are wrong. I am not a phony soldier.
“I believe that we are not doing the right thing for national security by staying in Iraq,’’ McGough continued. “We are putting too much strain on our military by extending tours and not giving people enough time at home to rest. We have taken our eye off of the real Al-Qaeda and let them regroup to their pre-9/11 strength.’’
You can see the ad in which he appears:
Limbaugh responded to the ad today by insisting that VoteVets.org is using McGough as a carrier of lies – mainly the contention that Limbaugh was talking about war-protesting soldiers in general, which he certainly appeared to be doing at the time. His remarks, he says, were aimed at Jesse MacBeth, who had claimed to witness atrocities in Iraq but never really served there.
Limbaugh claims he is the victim of a ''smear.''
Fox News reports on Limbaugh’s remarks.
Then a writer for DailyKos published 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."