October 5, 2007

The "Hush Rush" Crusade

Hatched by Dafydd

I've stayed away from this story for days now, on the grounds that everybody else is already covering it. I didn't think there was much to analyze. It's completely clear what Rush Limbaugh meant by the phrase "phony soldiers," which he muttered on September 26th: He was referring to the hit parade of actual, literal phony soldiers -- as in fake, fraudulent, ersatz -- using phony atrocities to denounce the Iraq (or Vietnam, or Korean) war.

But at least I can post a compilation of everything I've read about this flap, so it will be here in one place for easy reference... tell your friends! Link and trackback! Drive up our Sitemeter stats!

Democrats and their willing accomplices in the elite media have been belching forth such slanders of our military for, quite literally, decades now. Here are just a few of the lowlights in the Liberal Hall of Shame:

  • Jesse Macbeth, who billed himself as a "Special Forces Ranger" (don't ask!) and claimed that he and his SFR pals had butchered "thousands" of innocent Moslems, mostly while they prayed peacefully in mosques. In reality, he served for 44 days, then was discharged without finishing basic training. Needless to say, he not only had not witnessed any war crimes in Iraq, he hadn't even been there.
  • Jeff Engelhardt, who claimed to have been an eye- and earwitness to American forces deliberately massacring thousands of civilians in Fallujah, under orders from Command, by burning them to death with white phosphorus. But his own contemporaneous account of his brief time at Fallujah never mentions any atrocity, and it makes clear he was never close enough to be able to observe the "burned bodies" of "children" and "women" that he claimed, in an Italian TV documentary, to have examined.
  • Josh Lansdale. Alas, we never reported on Lansdale; but Michelle Malkin did. Lansdale, a medic in the Army Reserve who was in Iraq for a year, claimed to have spent much time in Baghdad, where he said he pulled people out of burning buildings and was wounded in heavy combat. Back home, he cut ads with retired Gen. Wesley Clark, claiming that he (Lansdale) was treated horribly by the VA, whose negligence turned his ankle wound into a permanent disability.

    Alas for Lansdale, subsequent investigation showed that he had never sought treatment through the VA; that he was not wounded; that his unit was never in Baghdad; that they rarely came under any sort of fire; that they were never in combat; and that neither Joshua Lansdale nor anybody else in the unit had ever even seen a burning building in Iraq, let alone pulled anyone out of such a fire.

  • Scott Thomas Beauchamp, the New Republic's dastardly diarist, about whom the less said, the better. (Say -- whatever happened to that in-depth investigation TNR was conducting on Beauchamp's now thoroughly discredited claims?)
  • Edward Daily -- who claimed to have been a machine-gunner who witnessed an alleged American massacre of Korean civilians in July 1950 at the Bridge of No Gun Ri. Daily was the cornerstone of a 1999 AP series of articles "documenting" this "war crime." But subsequent investigation showed that he was not a machine-gunner but a mechanic; he was never at No Gun Ri and witnessed no massacres, war crimes, or atrocities; and in fact, he was not even deployed to Korea until 1951, long after the supposed incident.
  • John Kerry, the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and the "Winter Soldier" project; again, the basics of this story should be well known to all of our readers.

I've noticed there is a taxonomy of phony soldiers:

  • Some are literally lifelong civilians who have never been in the service (as some in the "Winter Soldier" project), but pretend to have been -- either to tell fake war-hero stories about themselves... or else fake atrocity stories to attack the service.
  • Another group were technically in the military, but they exaggerate their careers to make themselves appear far more important and credible than they actually were. Examples include Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA, 100%; for years, he claimed to have been a combat pilot in Vietnam... until he was forced to admit he was a ferry pilot who never saw a day of combat), Jeff Engelhardt, Josh Lansdale, and Jesse MacBeth.
  • A third group comprises real servicemen who really held the ranks they claimed, were members of the units they claimed, and performed the duties they claimed... but who nevertheless tell fabricated tales of nonexistent war crimes: John Kerry and others of his VVAW co-conspirators are good examples.

I would call each of these groups "phony" because each tries to use a real or fabricated military background to lend an air of credibility to fake accounts of heroism or war crimes. They are all charlatans, bearing false witness against their "band of brothers."

Finally, I want to post the timeline of events in what Hugh Hewitt calls the "the Left's Great Snarl" at Rush Limbaugh. The actual sequence is important to understand the context in which Limbaugh made his remark. I take this timeline from Byron York's account in National Review Online:

Friday, September 21st: Limbaugh and his staff pore through news stories about the now-convicted and imprisoned Jesse MacBeth and other phony soldiers (see above).

Monday afternoon, September 24th: Limbaugh records a lengthy piece on phony soldiers, spending most of the time on the most recent outbreak, MacBeth.

Monday evening: ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson broadcasts a long piece on phony soldiers and fake heroes, including MacBeth.

Tuesday, September 25th: Limbaugh's "morning update" piece on MacBeth and other phony soldiers airs. Throughout the day, listeners call in and discuss MacBeth, et al, with Rush Limbaugh.

Wednesday, September 26th: During an on-air conversation with "Mike in Olympia, Washington," the caller complains about how news agencies "[N]ever talk to real soldiers. They pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue..."

At which point, Limbaugh interjects: "phony soldiers." (Byron York says Limbaugh said "the phony soldiers;" but listening to the clip, I didn't hear any article.)

Then, after a couple of minutes, Limbaugh re-reads the piece from the previous day about phony soldiers, especially Jesse MacBeth.

Why "after a couple of minutes?" Because Limbaugh had to "vamp" a bit while one of his staff printed out the transcript that Limbaugh would then read from. Yeesh, what an amazing load of conspiratorial claptrap burbles forth from such a trivial lapse of time.

Thursday, September 27th to today: Media Matters for America (a Hillary Clinton front group), ThinkProgress (a "progresssive" -- that is radical Left -- organization), 40 Democratic senators, many Democratic congressmen, and an uncountable number of lefty bloggers engage in a collective howl about how Limbaugh supposedly said that any soldier who disagreed in any way with President Bush's strategy was "a phony soldier."

Whew! Having finally finished the odious chore of playing journalist -- "just the facts, ma'am," like the elite journalists from Columbia and other J-schools invariably give us -- I will now turn to what I find much more comfortable (and less reputable): a sentence or two of actual analysis.

There simply is no legitimate doubt that Limbaugh's "phony soldiers" comment referred to -- wait for it -- the phony soldiers he had just been talking about during the previous day's show, and who were the subject of an ABC news segment Monday night.

How tough can this be for people to understand? He does a Tuesday show on "phony soldiers;" and then the next day, he makes the comment "phony soldiers". Reasonable minds would conclude the two are related.

But not Democrats. No, nearly the entirety of the Democratic conference in Congress insist that the Limbaugh comment be considered utterly tabula rasa, as if it arose instantaneously and unbidden from the vasty deep and can be assigned any surreal value that will (in Democratic minds) hurt the evil Rush Limbaugh.

This is such an unwinnable argument for Democrats that I'm astonished their saner political heads -- Rep. Rahm Emmanuel (D-IL, 90%), James Carville, and Bill Clinton -- are allowing them to rush in where angels fear to tread:

First, Rush Limbaugh is a professional debater; he is not some Junior Assistant Undersecretary twice-removed, who can be bullied into silence.

Second, Limbaugh has a daily radio show that is heard by millions of people; he has a core audience predisposed to believe him, especially in preference to Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 90%), Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton Rodham (D-Carpetbag, 95%), Squeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 95%), or Rep. John "Mad Jack" Murtha (D-PA, 65%).

Limbaugh has as much time to speak as he chooses to take, and the audience will stay with him the whole way. Contrariwise, Democrats in the House and Senate have only a minute or two to speak... and only their own colleagues will ever hear their complete remarks. The rest of America will hear only a snippet or two, perhaps a single line -- and then only if they trouble to tune into the national news each night.

And there's something else I was thinking of; what was that? Oh yes, here it is in my notes. In addition to these other advantages, Limbaugh has one more up his sleeve: He is actually factually correct about what he said and what he meant. The Democratic interpretation is so preposterous and risible that nobody but the mentally challenged could possibly believe it.

Since none of the above Democrats are mentally challenged -- I deliberately didn't mention Sen Barbara Boxer (D-CA, 95%) -- I can only conclude that they know very well that they're lying and falsely smearing a private American citizen; but that they have concluded (wrongly, in my political opinion) that this assault on Limbaugh will destroy his credibility in the future, or even out and out silence him. Hence, my title for this piece.

For all the reasons above, I think this is a catastrophic error in judgment by the Democrats. The American people are never as stupid as liberals and Democrats imagine them to be... and they're about to find that out the hard way.

In the meanwhile, I will sit back and enjoy this national Democratic embarassment until it finally peters out. I don't intend to comment further unless there is some sort of "bombshell," which I sincerely doubt.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 5, 2007, at the time of 7:02 PM

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» While we're on the subject.... from Media Lies
....of phony soldiers, eight more have been convicted or are in the process of being adjudicated.

Here's a list of the scumbags that are a... [Read More]

Tracked on October 5, 2007 11:12 PM

» Democrat Mayor/Phony Soldier MIA from Rhymes With Right
If a major Republican figure did something like this, it would be front page news. But let a corrupt Democrat do it, and the media remains pretty quiet. Under federal investigation for embellishing his Army service in Vietnam, a groggy-sounding... [Read More]

Tracked on October 6, 2007 8:57 AM


The following hissed in response by: MTF

What an outstanding round-up of the Crusade. Another Clinton presidency will see FBI files in the White House and leaked again, Sandy Berger given free rein in the archives, indictments, and the other usual stuff. What'll be different is that, this time, they'll work hard to stifle anti-Clinton political speech. Just like they're doing right now.

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2007 8:19 PM

The following hissed in response by: Bob Buchanan

... or the Dems are merely trying to appeal to their core and the likes of Moveon.org.

The above hissed in response by: Bob Buchanan [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2007 8:48 PM

The following hissed in response by: antimedia

CNS had a story today reporting that "more than 60" phony soldiers are either under investigation or already convicted nationwide. Hopefully, the dishonorable John Murtha will be forced to admit, under oath, that he lied about the Haditha Marines as well as dump a large sum of money in Sgt. Wuterich's pot.

If the American people have an ounce of soul left, these lying, thieving scumbags will be thrown out of office summarily in January.

The above hissed in response by: antimedia [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2007 9:04 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman

Some time back I got a political poll in an email

at the end there was a block for suggestions for combating the Democrats.
My statement was that I thought they were doing such a bang up job all by themselves

approval rating for the Democratic Party held Congress now down to 11%
that I has hesitant to do anything that might distract them from their own efforts. ;-)

The above hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2007 11:13 PM

The following hissed in response by: Chris G.

Thank you for the round-up Scou...er uh Dafydd! I hate to tell you some of your former associates do indeed buy the MediaMatters line lock stock and barrel.

The above hissed in response by: Chris G. [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2007 11:21 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Chris G.:

Former associates? Which former associates? If you mean SFWA, I'm still a member in good standing. If you mean LASFS, then they would indeed be former associates, since I have only been there once in about twelve years -- and that once was when I was on the program!


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2007 1:48 AM

The following hissed in response by: Fritz

The way I see it is that those people trying to make it appear that Rush was attacking the military are ether so mentally challenged that they don't understand plain English, or so dishonest that they should be locked up. Sadly I'm beginning to think it is the first one rather than the second.

The above hissed in response by: Fritz [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2007 4:47 AM

The following hissed in response by: Navyvet

Let me get this straight:

According to the Democrats, if someone refers to "phony money", that person is dishonoring all the legitimate currency in circulation.

If someone says he went to a "phony doctor", all the members of the medical profession have been called into question.

And if someone uses the term "phony patriot", all the Democrats in congress have been insulted.

Wait...that last one might be true.

From past experience, the purpose of this Democrat smear against Limbaugh is not that it will be believed by most people. The purpose is, at some future date, to dredge up this bogus accusation and present it as fact.

When Rush comments on the 2008 campaign in four or six months, the left will say: "Yea, but remember he called soldiers opposed to the war 'phony soldiers'!" And some, unfortunately, will say: "That's right, he did!"

Mission accomplished.

The above hissed in response by: Navyvet [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2007 6:11 AM

The following hissed in response by: howardhughes

An evil group of people is running the Democrat Party. They regularly and knowingly lie to the public, break campaign finance laws repeatedly, and violate election law serially to register and gain voters. These same Deocrats are inspired to turn America away from Capitalism toward Socialism. The country is in great danger of being led into a real disaster of higher taxes, more government control over our lives and more danger from bad actors through out the world. Conservatives need to band together and fight these people with all the energy they can muster.

The above hissed in response by: howardhughes [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2007 6:25 AM

The following hissed in response by: RRRoark

They have to give the Lame-Steam-Media something to bray about, or someone might ask, "How's that Iraq thing going anyway?" and if you're not in control, you can't do a drive-by missleing to provide distraction and misdirection.

The above hissed in response by: RRRoark [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2007 7:58 AM

The following hissed in response by: Chris G.

I meant your former associates at UCSC days.

The above hissed in response by: Chris G. [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2007 10:55 AM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye

I am not a Rush fan, I disagree with him a lot and would probably disagree more if I actually bothered to listen to him on a regular basis. After the immigration debate I will probably never listen to him again.

But even I know what Rush was talking about here. I do think that the way the remarks were made was kind of off hand and made it easy to cherry pick. And since we are dealing with the kind of people who seem to think that George Bush actually believes Saddam Hussein killed Nelson Mandella it is no surprise that this would happen.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2007 11:53 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Chris G.:

I meant your former associates at UCSC days.

Huh, do I know you from then?

I have a very interesting story about that. I started writing it as a comment, but like Topsy, it just grew. So I'm turning it into a blogpost!

Expect it to appear here shortly.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2007 2:18 PM

The following hissed in response by: Chris G.

Yes, we met two or three times in those days. I then heard you wrote Star Trek novels and I picked up Fallen Heroes. I didn't encounter your name until I stumbled upon you filling in for (I think) Belmont Club. I've passed your arguments to A, J, M, and others while arguing politics, which explains why they know your point of view, and why I'm getting "go away" emails too.

The above hissed in response by: Chris G. [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2007 11:57 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Chris G:

Chris? Boy, I'm drawing a complete blank. I remember a Casey, a Tim, a Guitar Mark -- I hope you're not getting such e-mails from him! He always seemed the sanest of the bunch.

Funny, I never held it against A. and J. that they were lefties; I'm disappointed that they hold it against us that we're not.

Doesn't speak highly of their devotion to the principle behind freedom of speech -- that you counter a "bad" idea with a good idea, not by silencing the former... whether legally (censorship) or by sealing yourself away from its corrupting influence (entombment).

May I e-mail you, so I can figure where we met and such? (I have your e-mail address already via the glories of Movable Type, no need to post it publicly.)


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2007 1:38 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Chris G.:

Oops, forgot to mention: I never guest posted on the Belmont Club; I started by sending e-mails to Power Line, which sometimes posted them; then I began guest-posting at Patterico's Pontifications, moved to Captain's Quarters, then launched Big Lizards, thereby illustrating the maxim "How the mighty have fallen!"


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2007 1:42 AM

The following hissed in response by: AMR

They attacked Mr. O'Reilly first as a racist over his sarcastic radio commentary about having dinner at a Harlem restaurant with the Rev Sharpton. So they attack Mr. O’Reilly, then Mr. Limbaugh, and now Juan Williams for supporting Mr. O’Reilly! All have a bully pulpit which engages folks in all areas of political ideology. MM are such fools in that respect. But hey, the netroots believe them and keep sending in the money.

The above hissed in response by: AMR [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2007 9:47 AM

The following hissed in response by: Chris G.

Yes, please feel free to send me an email. Don't worry about not remembering me. As I said we met perhaps twice over a quarter of a century ago.

The above hissed in response by: Chris G. [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2007 10:45 AM

The following hissed in response by: hunter

I wonder if fascist movements in Europe started this organically?

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2007 8:30 PM

The following hissed in response by: exDemo

Don't for get Phony Al Huber, founder of Vietnam Veteran Against the War,VVAW, and the man who selected John F Kerry to be the visible mouthpiece for the phony. He imputed many false atrocities that he saw as an Air Force officer while serving in Vietnam during his tour of duty there. Beside not being in Vietnam in the years he said, he wasn't an Air Force officer at all, merely a stateside Sargent.

A Jerk and a phony soldier personally known to John F Kerry as he ascended the Senate lectern to denounce the concept of phony soldiers.

The above hissed in response by: exDemo [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 8, 2007 3:12 PM

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