Monday, October 01, 2007

More on the Phony Soldiers Flap 
Alex of Army of Dude responds:

Dude, I'm pretty bewildered by what it seems like reasonable people have said about this thing.

You ain't the only one, brother!

Have you read the transcript that Rush himself provided? Or listened to the original broadcast and not his two-day-later explanation on what he really said?

Yes. And yes.

It's so obvious that it's painful.

Of course it's painful. It's always painful when the facts aren't on your side.

His defense was that he was talking about that one asshole who claimed to be a Ranger, that he was the 'phony' soldier,


not anyone else.


But plurality is a killer.

Wrong again.

Listen closely to the caller who claims to be a Republican and against the war, and he chides him hard, calling him a liar(!).

Fair game. Both on your part, and on Rush's.

Then the next guy said the media doesn't talk to "real" soldiers who, if they're real, support the war. He is stating pretty matter-of-factly that if you don't support the war then you don't support the mission and hence, you're not a soldier at heart.

Wrong. He said nothing of the sort. But even if he did, what does that have to do with Rush? That's the caller talking, not Rush. The closest he came to expressing the view you distort came AFTER Rush made the 'phony soldiers' remark.

Rush can backpedal all he wants, but he agreed with the sentiment of the caller.

So do I. What of it? Agreeing with the sentiment of the caller is not the same thing as referring to soldiers who serve overseas and do their duty while holding private reservations about the war as 'phony.'

And Rush said nothing which could even remotely be characterized as that.

And it's getting a little silly that people think I'm on anti-Rush crusade on the behalf of the boogeymen liberal media, but the truth is, I don't care what he said the day before, and I don't care what he has to say tomorrow.

That is perhaps true. But it is also irrelevant. You will be considered according to your actual words, and not by some distortion or guesswork about what you must have meant by them.

I'm also not assuming the worst about your own motivations or leaping to allegations of bad faith.

I think it would be wise for you to afford others the same courtesy.

I'll continue to not pay attention to him until he says something stupid again.

Set your egg timer.

To say I was duped by anyone is pretty ignorant.

Duped is as duped does. You either bought into Media Matters' lies, or you came up with them yourself.

Whatever your bias is (to the war, Rush, etc), you'll hear what you hear and take it into different contexts.

As another commenter writes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But nobody is entitled to their own facts.

I happen to hear it like I said I did, and that goes for a lot of people I know who had no knowledge of the controversy (I played back the audio from the first caller to the 'phony soldiers' discussion, it's all very up front).

Abraham Lincoln used to go around telling a joke: "How many legs does a dog have if you call a tail a leg? Well, the answer is four! Why? Because calling a tail a leg doesn't MAKE it a leg!"

There's simply no reasonable way to stretch the transcript to assume that Rush referred to reluctant warriors as "phony soldiers."

None at all.

That MAY have been caller number two's sentiment (I doubt it, but you cannot rule it out from his words on the transcript). But there is no reasonable way you can apply that meaning to Rush's "phony soldier" comment. The bit about if you talk to any real soldier and they're proud to serve, etc., did not come up until AFTER the "phony soldier" remark.

Further, in case it was unclear, Rush DID mention a phony soldier BY NAME: Jesse Macbeth, to give an example of the kind of person he was talking about.

You write that the plural is a killer. That's nonsense. That would ONLY be damaging to Rush if Jesse was the ONLY one. But Jesse was only one of many. To name names: James Massey, Amorita Randall, and Micah Wright to name a few off the top of my head. There have been others. And those are only the ones who have been outed.

It's unsettling that this is turning into a partisan debate.

No it's not. What's unsettling is that a sizeable portion of our media is so functionally illiterate that it's a debate at all.

What was originally at issue was the use of phony soldiers as a rhetorical device on the left. That issue was as legit then as it is now, and of course it's a partisan debate, because it seems to be exclusively partisans on the left who are relying on phony soldiers.

How can you contest what someone said?

I'm not contesting what anyone said. I'm contesting your own inaccurate and desperate distortion of it.

Liberals want an easy target to bitch about,

They don't care. They bitch no matter what.

conservatives want to parade him as a martyr.


Both sides are full of douchebags.

There are douchebags in every populace. Welcome to the world.

In this case, though, the douchebaggery is on the left.

I'm just simply who he was talking about.

No, you're not.

If you think you are, then put on your close reading hat and point it out,specifically, in the text, attributable to Rush.

Splash, out


Labels: ,

Good gravy! I don't have time to dissect your response like you have, so please forgive me:
"Wrong. He said nothing of the sort. But even if he did, what does that have to do with Rush? That's the caller talking, not Rush. The closest he came to expressing the view you distort came AFTER Rush made the 'phony soldiers' remark."

It was an insinuation. You know how you winked at your audience by telling me to "put on my close reading hat?" That's insinuating I'm not intelligent enough to make up my own mind. Same thing. By taking Rush's words you're obviously a very sharp, independent thinker and anyone else is a bonehead librul tool. No, no, I get it. You don't have to pretend to not have any bias. Your remarks on my questionable intelligence are enough.

And about plurality, there is obviously a big group of people making false claims about their service. Rush only mentioned Jesse Macbeth (by the way, after the phony soldier comment and not before, making the context totally out of whack with what he later said). He also called into question that senator (his name escapes me) who called out the Haditha Marines (how dare he accuse ANYONE of war crimes?!). The senator was a Vietnam vet (unlike Rush) but was still smeared. That Rush Limbaugh just loooves vets.

Rush was the first one to use the term "phony soldiers" in the call, not the caller. Remember? The soldiers that 'come out of the blue.' Here's what I get from that comment. Real soldiers who do their job and don't complain are the silent professionals and they're never heard from. But the ones who disagree, they're the media sirens, the opportunists with a hidden agenda or a book deal waiting for them. They're the ones coming out of the blue, according to the caller. I know people think that way. I've been accused of joining just so I could go to Iraq and bitch about it long enough to write a book! How quaint is that? I'm trying to view this from Rush's perspective: so we got these bleeding hearts going on about the war and they're not doing their jobs like real soldiers. That's his mindset. Like I said, people have said that to me plenty of times. That is what Rush meant by phony soldiers: those who don't support the war, those who don't want to be in Iraq. He said it first, and the caller supported that idea. Rush didn't have to elaborate on his loathing of anything close to liberal. Remember the first call. He simply couldn't believe a conservative and a veteran could be against further action in Iraq, like he was a damn paradox. He insinuated he was a liar but since he didn't use the word liar, I must be wrong and taking it out of context. He doesn't understand that mindsets change when you're in a war. I've seen very pro Bush, pro war conservatives change in months. They don't let their bias get in the way like you. Media Matters' lies? Yeah right. They provide the same transcript that Rush did and have reliable audio (I would listen to Rush's own if he didn't make you sign up). It's not edited or spliced on their site. They just lay it on the line.

"I'm not contesting what anyone said. I'm contesting your own inaccurate and desperate distortion of it."

Of course! I was so desperate that I wrote that entry as fast as I could and immediately went to my girlfriend's house for the weekend. It was one of those "man, what a douche" entries that came and went. I have no clue how the media has responded or handled this story. I don't even have cable. Really, it's not even that important right now. Personal attacks on me is important however. You said that not everyone is entitled to facts, and that's right. But just use some damn reasoning skills. Media Matters is a collection of radical liars, and Rush is a bastion of truth, right? I'm sure everyone involved in MM is a bunch of assholes. But I don't care, I linked to them for their audio and moved on. I don't draw their bias and didn't read their opinion on the matter. I came up with my own conclusion despite what you think. I hope you're prepared to tell a lot of people I know that they're sheep and ignoramuses because they too were duped by scary liberals.

Here's where it boils down to for me. That conversation never mentioned Jesse Macbeth until later. I don't think soldiers 'coming out of the blue' sums up a shared sentiment about people with phony war records at all. It is what it is: a way to describe people that start to make waves because of what they said or did. And that's obviously a crack at dissenting soldiers, for a real soldier would never be in the headlines for doing his job, would not cut and run but rather would see the mission through, according to Rush and the caller.

"He also called into question that senator (his name escapes me) who called out the Haditha Marines (how dare he accuse ANYONE of war crimes?!). The senator was a Vietnam vet (unlike Rush) but was still smeared."

Called out? I suppose you are talking about Jack Murtha? This is what he said to the press when the investigation was ANNOUNCED:

"It's much worse than reported in Time magazine. There was no fire fight. There was no IED that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood. And that's what the report is going to tell."

Yes, how dare he. Since when can a representative go around and publicly declare soldiers guilty of war crimes while there is an ongoing investigation? He did not know any of this, did not have any proof at the time (how could he have known?) And that he is a veteran does not excuse him. Those young guys he prejudged are vets. Murtha is a politician now.

And saying so does not constitute a "smear".

But then I can´t help getting the impression that everything you don´t like to hear is a smear or a lie.

- El Gordo
Yes, how dare he. Since when can a representative go around and publicly declare soldiers guilty of war crimes while there is an ongoing investigation?

Depending on the media of choice to voice his opinion, it could be slander, libel, or just simple run-of-the-mill defamation of character. Of course, that's why Murtha is finding himself getting hauled before a judge, and the judge seems to have interest in what Murtha said, where he said it, and what he knew about the case he commented on.

However, accusing those Marines of war crimes prior to a finding of fact really is smearing the troops.
well, and how dare Limbaugh try to explain a two word phrase. You're not fallin' for that one are you Andy. You know what he really meant. Please, perhaps some of these left wing groups should learn to recognize "real troops" before they start promoting their stories, but that's kinda hard to do when you don't have any familiarity with military matters. Maybe you could help them stop embarrassing themselves.

I've been busy with the analogue world...so thanks. I've heard snips about this but hadn't really cared to dig into it. The thing about Rush is, it's a "show". Get over it.

Remember "7th Rock from the Sun"? That was a show, too. I don't think I ever cared what they did...although it was funny and interesting from time to time.
Hmmm...Where to begin?

First of all, Alex, it's clear you don't understand what is meant by the term "close reading."

Here's a clue: http://www.mantex.co.uk/samples/closeread.htm

which reads, in pertinent part:

Close reading is the most important skill you need for any form of literary studies. It means paying especially close attention to what is printed on the page. It is a much more subtle and complex process than the term might suggest.

In other words, you have to ground your argument in the text itself - and that means taking into account who said what and the order in which it was said.

The problem with your argument, Alex, is that it is not grounded in the text itself. Your entire argument relies on speculation on motive. In other words, you're trying to guess at what's in someone's mind and heart, without being able to support it convincingly through specific textual references.

Further, you're ascribing bad faith on the basis of that speculation.

But where there are equally plausible or more plausible interpretations of that same text that do NOT require bad faith on the part of the author or speaker, then your argument - the assignment of bad faith to Rush Limbaugh, fails. It collapses utterly.

No, I don't think you're stupid. I think you're actually pretty bright.

You're a promising thinker, but as yet, an undisciplined one. And this lack of discipline - this lack of critical reasoning skills (and they are just that -- skills...they can be learned) -- is what allowed you to be led astray by the Moveon.orgies.

Indeed, that's my central criticism of modern progressivism in general- It relies on sloppy thinking and appeals to emotion rather than to reason.
You make interesting points about context and order. But I see this from an angle based on Rush's behavior toward war dissenters (his "staff puke" and "resume padding" comments about Marine vet and Senate hopeful Paul Hackett in 2005 being the biggest). I come to the subject of Rush nearly without bias and without bad faith. The bad faith is reactionary to common sense and his behavior. You know Rush will always have bad faith toward liberals. You know Ann Coulter and Hannity and Michelle Malkin will. You also know that people like Al Frakken and Michael Moore and organizations like Moveon and Media Matters will have bad faith in Bush, Rush and any conservative. Motive be damned, for it is clear what the motive is for all of these people.

Rush is very sly with his words (did you see how he turned this fiasco against Media Matters and apologized to the troops on their behalf? Beautiful.) and there should be a closer examination on the subtext of his argument, not just the cold hard quotes. Everything comes into play, including his ambitions to stymie any political opposition and like I mentioned, his outlash on Hackett because he was a "liberal hiding behind a military uniform." Put all that together, and I believe you have Rush with disdain for dissenting veterans because he believes them to be opportunists and hacks.

I won't go into the order of what Rush said because that is largely contested (thanks to Rush editing his own soundclips, so says Fox News) and no reliable, unedited tape of that day from a source that isn't a harping moveon.org front.


I agree with you that the "staff puke" comment - directed at Paul Hackett was ignorant. But I don't think they were inappropriate.

Remember, Paul Hackett, at that time, was running for office as a partisan Democrat - and running largely on his status as an Iraq War veteran.

I don't think anyone is entitled to be exempt from public scrutiny - especially one running for office.

Hackett became fair game as soon as he announced his intention to run for Congress. And if he's running on his war record, then his war record became fair game, too.

I believe Hackett was a Civil Affairs officer. Now, you and I both know that Civil Affairs teams put in a lot of time "outside the wire," and at least in my neck of the woods (Ramadi), our CA team was frequently out there in very small and exposed groups, and put their lives on the line regularly in some very dangerous missions.

The CA guy was a staff officer in our task organization. But he was hardly a "staff puke." Limbaugh was wrong and ignorant in this characterization. But not because he was wrong to criticize a vet. Rush was wrong because he has no idea what a CA team does, day in and day out.

As to word order, I asserted that Rush used the term "phony soldiers" before the caller mentioned anything having to do with dissenters.

Who, precisely, is contesting that?

I don't think you can avoid the point about the order in which these statements were made, because the order is crucial to your argument.

To just airily dismiss it as 'contested' without even mentioning who is contesting the specific word order point I brought up utterly fails to address the point.

Further, I didn't say you came to the controversy and posted in bad faith. I never felt that. I felt you had been led astray by others who write about the controversy in bad faith, and your argument collapses because it assumes bad faith on the part of Limbaugh, when a far more plausible explanation for the "phony soldiers" remark exists that does NOT require bad faith on Rush's part.

Further, you write that "everything comes into play." Fine. If you want to go metatextual, then you also have to take into account Limbaugh's long, long record of consistent support for troops.

Which you can compare and contrast with Reid's, for example, or with Dick Durbin, who famously compared us with Nazis and the Khmer Rouge. Or Kerry and the Winter Soldiers testimony, and the other testimony in which he accuses us of "terrorizing women and children" in the "dead of night."
I discarded the point of word order because Rush himself compromised it (and I did assert who contested his on-the-air edit and displacement of audio clips, it was Fox News), and I discarded because this is another argument that comes down to bias. The point is, he didn't mention Jesse Macbeth until after his phony soldiers comment, not before. He edited his own clip so it appeared that the subject of Macbeth came up before the phony soldier comment to give those comments the correct context.

"He gets to a conversation about Macbeth about two minutes after referring to "phony soldiers." In subsequent radio shows, Limbaugh attempted to clarify his position, but muddied the waters by editing out a portion of it, prompting outrage from the liberal media watchdog Media Matters, which has been driving this latest controversy."

I'm pretty fed up with the whole 'led astray' accusations. I wrote that article last Friday when the controversy barely had legs to stand on. It was the first time I heard of Media Matters, and I didn't even read the text that accompanied it, I just listened to the audio clip and came to my own conclusion that other people have gathered. I knew no outrage, I didn't read op-ed pieces on the subject. I wrote my entry immediately after hearing the clip and was away to my girlfriend's house for the weekend when I finished (she also does not have cable). I was not ushered into my opinion, I wasn't tricked or fooled. To imply that I was unable to make up my own mind because my opinion on the subject differs from you is absurd.
The guy in my picture pulling up the IED wire had never heard of this story (I don't know anyone who follows the news) and once again, played the clip to him without explanation and, surprise! He arrived at the same conclusion. It's not a phenomenon, I assure you.

Rush's criticism of Paul Hackett goes to show his real view on the 'other side' of the military, that is to say, non-conservatives. I agree he was fair game, as he should be. But Rush's attack was baseless and immoral. I don't see any record of Rush 'supporting the troops' other than his firm affirmation that he 'supports the troops.' What does that even mean? I don't care what his bumper has to say. If he doesn't donate a portion of his vast amounts of wealth to the USO or VA, if he doesn't spend some of his time with organizations fighting for larger VA benefits or putting together care packages, if he just sits in his office lamenting about liberals out to get brave soldiers, he doesn't support us. Words are just words without action. I know he came to Iraq at least once, but that doesn't elevate any kind of respect for me. Diamond Dallas Page came to Mosul when I was there, and I don't think he's a super patriot. I get the feeling every time a celebrity goes to Iraq, they're thinking, I'll do something for the little people...

Yeah, I know. Reid's an asshole. Durbin's an asshole. When will you realize I don't assign myself to any persuasion? I don't side with Reid because I think Rush is an idiot. I have the difficult notion that there are morons on both sides. I find it sad that Rush will attack someone like Paul Hackett, for who you can say the very least, was brave enough to serve in a war, and I can't say that about Rush, Reid, Clinton or Bush. Kerry is a dipshit, but he did something. While I don't see service being a prerequisite to being a politician or commentator, it probably helps to have some insight on something you harp endlessly on about.

Alex, in the "clip" he replays what he had said about Macbeth in a morning update from a day or two before. I heard both when they aired.

Rush hasn't been to Iraq, he's been to Afghanistan. I don't know about his personal giving as he doesn't really ever discuss those kinds of things. a proposed house resolution states this:

Whereas Mr. Limbaugh has met with troops in Afghanistan; raised and donated millions of dollars to the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, which provides college scholarships to the children of Marines and veterans of other branches killed in action; features an “Adopt a Soldier” program which provides them with free subscription access to his online program features; and...

perhaps it's time to do some more research.
I looked for any mention of contributions he has made to no avail. Fair enough. At least he is doing something.

Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Site Meter

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!