The ‘Phony Soldiers’ Brouhaha


The best description of this story is probably: ”Much to do about nothing!” While it is truly laughable for those of us who are smart enough to check out the facts, it is equally sad to see elected officials getting themselves all wound up and involved in something so unimportant in today’s world. It is a humorous episode in the battle between the political Right and Left in this country.           

As we always try to do, we will present facts here first and then analyze them. At issue is a comment made by talk show radio host Rush Limbaugh when he responded to a caller to his radio program on Wednesday, September 26, 2007, who wanted to discuss a news report about soldiers who pretended to be decorated war heroes only to be found to be total fakes. Rush apparently answered that he heard about those “Phony soldiers” too. A liberal far left organization called Media Matters then picked up this comment of his and passed it on to the Democrats. This was material that the Democrats in Congress, both in the House and in the Senate, absolutely liked and they went ballistic. They accused Rush Limbaugh of having defamed all military personnel of this country, that he had gone too far with this comment and that he should not just apologize but also be punished for it. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid went so far as to compose a letter to the President of Clear Channel Communication where the Limbaugh programs are being aired, filing a formal complaint about Limbaugh. Senator Reid urged his fellow Senators to sign the letter with him and 41 Democrats did just that and sent off the letter of condemnation. Clear Channel Communication denied their request. Some Democrats are now calling for passing a resolution condemning Rush Limbaugh.

Now to the facts: On Monday, September 21, 2007, ABC News broadcasted a story, reported by Brian Ross, about a number of “phony veterans” now under investigation for falsely claiming to have served in wartime. One of those mentioned in the story is a person by the name of Jesse MacBeth who falsely claimed having been in Iraq and having been awarded a Purple Heart for his service there. He also claimed in statements made how he and Army Rangers killed innocent civilians at a Baghdad mosque. He was very specific when he said: “Women and children, you know – while in their prayer, we started slaughtering them.”

But it was a complete fabrication. According to Douglas Carver from the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General: “MacBeth was in the service (Army) approximately six weeks and then he was discharged, I don’t think he even completed basic training.” MacBeth was never in Iraq! A few days before this report on ABC News, MacBeth was in federal court in Seattle and offered an apology for defaming the real American heroes as he admitted to lying about his service record and his supposed atrocities. Reporter Brian Ross also stated that federal officials had now started an investigation what is known as ‘Operation Stolen Valor’ since there are quite a few of these so called “phony heroes” and they are known by name.

Back to Rush Limbaugh, when the caller specified this ABC News story about these guys, Rush responded that he had heard about these “phony soldiers”! It was very clear that he did not mean the members of the military (whom he has supported strongly for nearly twenty years of broadcasting) but just referred to these “fake” ones. Whether you call them veterans, heroes or soldiers, they are fakes and therefore phony!

We here at “Back to Common Sense” expect more from elected officials. If it is this easy for us to research this topic, can we not expect the members of Congress, both in the House and Senate, to do some back checking before they explode the way they have? This is shameful on their part and they are the ones that should be condemned! They get an incorrect, baseless and false story fed to them by one of their far-left organizations and they run with it and waste valuable time in the halls of Congress pursuing this instead of doing their jobs for which we sent them there in the first place. Even the bulls in Spanish bullfighting events do not rush as fast as many congressional Democrats did. The scary part of all this is what would they do about something serious in nature? Their dislike, in fact it appears to be outright hatred, for Rush Limbaugh must be so strong that they did not even bother to check the facts, they saw a red flag and charged. Shameful behavior is not strong enough for this reaction! To be factual, Rush Limbaugh has been consistently critical of liberals in general and of members of Congress in particular. He has been referring to Senator Reid as, and we quote “Dingy Harry” and we do not condone this kind of name calling; there is no need for this and regardless of one’s opinion of another human being, some degree of respects is called for and a certain amount of decorum should be maintained.

We want to clarify here that we would equally report on any stories where a Democrat would be falsely accused of committing anything based on rumor and baseless information. Can we not expect our elected officials to do so as well? You cannot react to falsehoods just because of your personal opinion and strong dislike for someone; you should maintain some room for verification of the reported ‘atrocities’, feelings should never overrule facts, especially when they can be so easily verified. What if the policemen in America would perform their duties this haphazardly and follow their feelings? The number of innocents in our jails would exceed millions. Of course, this is not happening in reality with few exceptions when a policeman lies about the facts and distorts them. The lawmakers in Washington D.C. should be held to the same standards. Hopefully, this ‘phony soldier brouhaha’, as we call it, will pass quickly and become a thing of the past fast, real fast! 

This article and others on Back to Common Sense are designed to provoke further thought and investigation.   It is not the intent for the articles to be politically biased. Sources are referenced in each article to encourage readers to delve into the supporting material.  We welcome all readers to participate with their point of view either in support or contrary with additional information sources.


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