(From the diaries -- kos)
As many of you have already seen today, VoteVets.org has a new ad we’ve just released. So I want to take the time now to provide some information on the ad itself, give you some background on Brian McGough, the soldier in it, and let you know what Rush had to say about it today.
In case you missed it, here’s the new commercial:
Because not all of our commercials are meant for primetime television (some are web ads), people are asking whether or not this one is going to be on TV. I can assure you that it is. In fact, it will air both Wednesday and Thursday on FOX News and CNN. We’ve also prepared a radio version of the ad that will air during Rush’s show in select markets. So there will be no preaching to the choir here. We’re taking this message to the people who need to hear it most.
As for the soldier in the commercial, Brian McGough served in the same unit I did, though I didn’t know him personally at the time. Brian was a field artillery NCO (noncommissioned officer) attached to the Rakkasans, the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division. He served in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq before he was injured. I knew of him because he was friends with one of my own soldiers in Afghanistan. At the time, Brian was a Forward Observer (a guy who goes with the infantry to call in air strikes, artillery, and mortars).
In Iraq, Brian served in the same capacity, but at a higher level. He was a team chief in northern Iraq, and he served there throughout that long, but relatively peaceful, summer of 2003. That all changed though, on October 17 when Brian was wounded. The incident was captured in vivid, heartbreaking detail by another soldier, and Brian has it posted on his own blog, Inside My Broken Skull. It’s one of the most chilling pieces of combat writing I’ve ever read.
For those who know him, Brian is a great guy—thoughtful and articulate. And, despite the issues he’s had in dealing with his injury, he’s become politically active. Last week he met personally with members of Senator Webb’s staff in Washington to go over proposed legislation that concerns veterans.
Now, Rush Limbaugh came out today and addressed the VoteVets ad on his live radio show. He also tried to minimize Brian’s efforts to change Iraq policy.
Rush said today that Brian McGough’s decision to work on this ad was a "blatant use of a combat veteran" by VoteVets.org. Rush’s brain then must have fallen out of his head, because he then tried to paint Brian as a clueless, brainwashed, tool of the Left by comparing him to a suicide bomber:
"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. 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," Limbaugh said.
What Rush obviously didn’t know when he made the response, was that Brian’s injury in Iraq had resulted from a real-life suicide bomber.
People need to key on this repugnant analogy for a number of reasons, not least of which is because Brian is a blogger, active member of VoteVets.org, and more than capable of defending himself. Rush went on to state, incredulously, that "unless he [McGough] actually believes what he’s saying. . .," as though McGough couldn’t form his own opinions. This is disgusting. The fact that Rush has portrayed him in this light is a further insult to Brian and the rest of the troops who don’t agree with Rush on Iraq policy.
On one hand, this whole situation is a sad waste of time, but on the other, it’s personally satisfying to see Rush Limbaugh, a Real American Tough Guy, continuing to dig himself a deeper and deeper hole.
Keep it up, Rush.
UPDATE: As I was preparing to post this, Brian emailed me his response to Rush’s statement made on the radio today. Here it is in its entirety:
So, Rush Limbaugh called me a "suicide bomber." 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.
Rush, your phony soldier comments pissed me off. The audacity of someone like you who never had the courage to stand and fight for what you believe in makes my head spin. That 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. 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. We have not developed a political system in Iraq that would enable the country to stand on its own.
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.