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'Phony soldiers' comments continue to roil Iraq war debate

Both sides are cranking up the volume regarding's Petraeus ad and Rush Limbaugh's comments about soldiers who don't support the war.

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Comments by conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh that troops who oppose the Iraq war are "phony soldiers" are still stinging more than a week after he made them. The controversy comes only a week after the liberal group ran an ad in The New York Times calling US Army Gen. David H. Petraeus "General Betray Us." That event drew similar criticism, and some observers speculate that liberals are focusing on Mr. Limbaugh now to draw attention away from the ad incident. The continuing fallout has prompted some observers to remark that politicians who have pounced on the comments and the ad are both eager to sound off before the elections and unable to take a firm stance of their own on the war.

The controversy started on the Sept. 26 edition of Limbaugh's radio program, The Rush Limbaugh Show, when he spoke with a caller about antiwar protesters. The caller lamented that, "what's really funny is they [activists] never talk to real soldiers. They pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and spout to the media." At which point, Limbaugh interjected, "The phony soldiers." The caller agreed, and after finishing that particular discussion, Rush summarized a news item from one of his earlier shows.

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.
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.

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