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This post, written by Jon Soltz, originally appeared on The Huffington Post
As Media Matters reported today, Rush Limbaugh, on his show said that those troops who come home and want to get America out of the middle of the religious civil war in Iraq are "phony soldiers." I'd love for you, Rush, to have me on your show and tell that to me to my face.
Where to begin?
First, in what universe is a guy who never served even close to being qualified to judge those who have worn the uniform? Rush Limbaugh has never worn a uniform in his life -- not even one at Mickey D's -- and somehow he's got the moral standing to pass judgment on the men and women who risked their lives for this nation, and his right to blather smears on the airwaves?
Second, maybe Rush doesn't much care, but the majority of troops on the ground in Iraq, and those who have returned, do not back the President's failed policy. If you go to our "Did You Get the Memo" page at VoteVets.org, there's a good collection of stories, polls, and surveys, which all show American's troops believe we are on the wrong track, not the right one, in Iraq.
Does Rush believe, then, that the majority of the US Armed Forces are "phony?"
Third, the polls and stories don't even take into account the former brass who commanded in Iraq, who are incredibly critical of the Bush administration, and it's steadfast refusal to listen to those commanders on the ground who have sent up warning after warning. Major Generals John Batiste and Paul Eaton left the military and joined VoteVets.org for that very reason.
Does Rush believe that highly decorated Major Generals are "phony soldiers?"
Finally, as Media Matters notes, just recently, members of the 82nd Airborne in Iraq wrote a New York Times op-ed, very critical of the course in Iraq, and suggesting it was time to figure out the exit strategy. Two of them just died. Will Rush call up their grieving parents and tell them that they should stop crying, because they were just "phony soldiers?"
Get the point here, Rush?
You weren't just flat out wrong, you offended a majority of those of us who actually had the courage to go to Iraq and serve, while you sat back in your nice studio, coming up with crap like this.
My challenge to you, then, is to have me on the show and say all of this again, right to the face of someone who served in Iraq. I'll come on any day, any time. Not only will I once again explain why your comments were so wrong, but I will completely school you on why your refusal to seek a way out of Iraq is only aiding al Qaeda and crippling American security.
Ball's in your court.
Jon Soltz, Co-Founder and Chair of VoteVets.org, is a leader of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans community and is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From May to September 2003, Soltz served as a Captain during Operation Iraqi Freedom.