VoteVets.org, a political group made up of veterans from US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, is launching an ad campaign which accuses conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh of insulting combat troops.
The ad is a response to Limbaugh's use of the phrase "phony soldiers" on the air last week, a term he used following a caller's complaint that the press never talks to "real soldiers," instead speaking to troops critical of the war in Iraq that "come up out of the blue and spout to the media."
According to a press release from the veterans group, the ad "takes on Rush Limbaugh for his contention that those who served in Iraq, but oppose the Bush administration's failed policies, are 'phony soldiers."
"More and more troops and veterans of Iraq believe George Bush's military policy has been a disaster...I am one of them," says wounded Iraq veteran Brian McGough in the TV spot. " Rush Limbaugh called vets like me 'phony soldiers' for telling the truth about Iraq."
"Rush, the shrapnel I took to my head was real," he continues."My traumatic brain injury was real. And, my belief that we are on the wrong course in Iraq is real. Until you have the guts to call me a 'phony solider' to my face, stop telling lies about my service."
The $60,000 ad buy will air on Fox News and CNN. A radio version will run during the Rush Limbaugh Show in the D.C. and Palm Beach, Florida markets.
Democratic leaders have also been vocal of their criticisms of the Limbaugh remark.
Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean has demanded an apology from Limbaugh, saying the remarks were "un-American, have no place in the public discourse, and show just how far he'll go to defend President Bush's failed policy in Iraq."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid echoed that call yesterday from the Senate floor, saying "Rush Limbaugh took it upon himself to attack the courage and character of those fighting and dying for him and for all of us...Rush Limbaugh owes the men and women of our armed forces an apology."
Limbaugh, however, maintains that the remark has misinterpreted, saying he was referring only to a specific veteran, Jesse MacBeth, who fabricated stories about serving in Iraq, where he said he had witnessed war crimes.
Caller: I'm one of the few that joined the Army to serve my country, I'm proud to say, not for the money or anything like that. What I would like to retort to is that, what these people don't understand, is if we pull out of Iraq right now, which is not possible because of all the stuff that's over there, it would take us at least a year to pull everything back out of Iraq, then Iraq itself would collapse and we'd have to go right back over there within a year or so.
Limbaugh: There's a lot more than that that they don't understand. The next guy that calls here I'm going to ask them, "What is the imperative of pulling out? What's in it for the United States to pull out?" I don't think they have an answer for that other than, "When's he going to bring the troops home? Keep the troops safe," whatever.
Limbaugh: It's not possible intellectually to follow these people.
Caller: No, it's not. And what's really funny is they never talk to real soldiers. They pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and spout to the media.
Limbaugh: The phony soldiers.
Caller: Phony soldiers. If you talk to any real soldier and they're proud to serve, they want to be over in Iraq, they understand their sacrifice and they're willing to sacrifice for the country.