Thank you for writing to me regarding Rush Limbaugh's recent comment about “phony soldiers.” I believe that remark was in poor taste and is a disservice to our servicemen and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. I registered that belief in my correspondence with the CEO of Clear Channel. I understand that Mr. Limbaugh has claimed he was only referring to one soldier, Jesse MacBeth, who pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for pretending to be an injured Iraq war veteran. However, after reviewing the full written transcript it is clear that he was referring generally to soldiers critical of the war in Iraq.
Our troops have done everything that has been asked of them, and they have performed valiantly under exceedingly challenging circumstances. For this reason alone, our troops deserve better than partisan squabbling over an outrageous comment. I am focused on addressing the serious challenge we face in Iraq. Today, nearly four thousand brave young Americans are dead, and tens of thousands more have been wounded as our troops have become targets of the exploding sectarian violence in Iraq. Our military has been strained to the limits, and the cost to American taxpayers has already reached hundreds of billions of dollars.
In the coming months, I will continue to push for a new course in Iraq that
immediately begins a safe and orderly withdrawal of our combat troops, that changes our military mission to focus on training and counter-terrorism, that puts real pressure on the Iraqis to resolve their grievances, and that focuses our military efforts on the real threats facing our country.
Further, the American servicemen and women I have met inside and outside Iraq are courageous people. I admire and have confidence in them. I know they want to keep America secure and bring democracy to Iraq, and that they care deeply about their honor and America's honor. They deserve our utmost respect and gratitude for fighting for our country, and we should not undermine their ability to do their jobs in Iraq or ignore their needs when they return home to the United States.The American people may have disagreements over the conduct of the war in Iraq. I would hope, however, that there would be total agreement that our troops need and deserve our full support.
Thank you for writing, please stay in touch in the days ahead.
Sincerely,Barack ObamaUnited States Senator
Now, I have a few problems with some of the things that the Senator said and I will use this forum to address them. First, I have no problem with the anti war diatrobe that he went on which frankly was only generally related to what I asked about. He is a politician and that is politics. I disagree with his position and I will use future pages here to demonstrate the fallacy of his arguement however that is for another time.
First, the Senator said it is clear from the transcript that Rush was talking about all soldiers against the war. Well, it isn't clear to me and the Senator doesn't explain how it is clear to him, and thus I don't think that it is clear to him either. Second, and this is important, he refused to condemn the Betray Us ad. He refused to vote for a resolution condemning Moveon.org even though he voted for a previous resolution condemning all personal attacks, a resolution that tried to equivocate this attack on the General in war time to what the swift boat vets did to Kerry for instance. He referred to the matter as a political stunt. Well, he had no problems using his standing as a Senator and Presidential candidate to pressure the CEO of a public company in a similar matter, and thus, it seems the Senator picks and chooses his political stunts.
Furthermore, the Senator is no stranger to his own controversy vis a vis belittling the troops. Here is what he said
We’ve got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there.
Now, there were plenty of people that took those comments as condemnation of the troops. I think someone should be given the benefit of the doubt. I give the Senator the benefit of the doubt and to be fair he should have done the same thing with Rush Limbaugh. He didn't. He did vis a vis a far left group, and so I can only conclude it is political. What say Senator?