Udall Calls Out Rush; Now It’s Time to Move On

You worry that if Congress doesn’t stop introducing resolutions condemning people for their comments about the Iraq War, it will run out of time to actually do something about that misbegotten conflict.

First, the Senate had to debate the Republican-pushed resolution that blasted MoveOn.org for blasting Gen. David Petraeus in a New York Times ad.

Now, Democratic Rep. Mark Udall of Colorado has come with a resolution condemning right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh’s description of servicemen and women who disagree with the Iraq War as “phony soldiers.”

Udall’s resolution has been referred to the House Armed Services Committee, Udall spokeswoman Tara Trujillo said Wednesday. Because Udall sits on that committee and Democrats control the House of Representatives, the resolution – or something like it – is likely to come to a vote on the floor of the House the way the anti-MoveOn motion did in the Senate.

One hopes the Republicans will support the condemnation of Limbaugh the way Democrats supported the censure of the MoveOn ad.

If not, well, you got yourself a re-election campaign issue.

But in all these dueling resolutions you also got yourself a distraction from the real mission:

Resolving an unpopular and not terribly successful war.

Still, I’m glad Udall called out Limbaugh. Limbaugh’s disrespect for the military is every bit as bad as MoveOn’s. The talk show host is a chicken-hawk blowhard. He is a hypocrite for questioning the courage of members of the military who don’t march lock-step with his views in a war that can cost them – not him – lives and limbs.

Udall’s resolution rightly calls Limbaugh’s “phony soldiers” remark “an unwarranted slur.” And spare me the crap about how Rush was only talking about a soldier who gave an interview about being in Iraq when he wasn’t.

Limbaugh said soldiers, not soldier. There is no weaseling out of his stupidity and hypocrisy any more than MoveOn can suggest that the Petraeus ad was not disrespectful and destructive to its cause.

Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar voted to condemn MoveOn. He also signed a letter discrediting Limbaugh’s remarks.
“Rush Limbaugh went way beyond any rights he has when he attacked soldiers,” Salazar said Wednesday. “There are differences of opinion among the people serving in Iraq” about how the war should be fought.

Salazar said he heard those differences expressed on his latest trip to Iraq.

To disparage people who disagree with the present  strategy by calling them “phony soldiers” is, said Salazar, “dead wrong.” Limbaugh, he continued, “owes an apology to the men and women in the military.”

Don’t hold your breath.

The best line on Limbaugh came not in Udall’s resolution, but in his statement introducing it. Having said he didn’t intend to waste Congress’s time, Udall went on to say that it is “not acceptable for anyone to accuse (soldiers) of being `phony’ or false patriots because their political views may differ from those of their commander-in-chief.”

And then, Udall nailed it.

“To suggest that a soldier is somehow less worthy by expressing his or her opinion betrays a view of military service so cramped as to be unrecognizable to most Americans – Republicans or Democrats.”

Read that line again. It shows an understanding of what the folks who fight really deserve.

Maybe Rush Limbaugh wants to call Ken Salazar a “phony senator.”

Or maybe Limbaugh wants to call the disabled troops out of Ft. Carson being helped by groups such as Veterans for America “phony soldiers.” These troops don’t all support the political strategy that got them hurt. But they fought honorably and earned the right to speak their minds as much as Limbaugh.

I’ve talked to several of these fighting men and women.  They served the mission even though they grew to disagree with it. That’s what soldiers do.

And there’s nothing phony about it.

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Jim Spencer

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