Limbaugh's "phony soldier" becomes a suicide bomber

And now, a word from Bill O'Reilly.

Published October 3, 2007 12:21PM (EDT)

So, Jack Kingston, if you thought Rush Limbaugh should be commended by Congress after referring to war-critic troops as "phony soldiers," do you still think that he deserves congressional praise now?

On his radio show Tuesday, Limbaugh attacked an honest-to-goodness, wounded-in-action, Bronze Star- and Purple Heart-decorated Iraq war veteran by equating him with a suicide bomber who can't possibly think for himself. After Iraq veteran Brian McGough appeared in a VoteVets ad pushing back against Limbaugh's "phony soldiers" smear, Limbaugh responded by telling his listeners that McGough was simply being used.

"You know, this is such a blatant use of a valiant combat veteran, lying to him about what I said, then strapping those lies to his belt, sending him out via the media in a TV ad to walk into as many people as he can walk into," Limbaugh said. "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're not hurting me, they're betraying this soldier. Now, unless he actually believes what he's saying, in which case it's just so unfortunate and sad when the truth of what I said is right out there to be learned."

McGough's retort: "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?"

Meanwhile, Fox's Bill O'Reilly says he hopes to have Limbaugh on his show tonight to help him fight back against Media Matters and other "far-left media assassins" pushing the "phony soldiers" story. "We need to go on the counterattack to knock these people out," he said.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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