On Fox News’ Hannity and Colmes last night, right-wing radio host Melanie Morgan said Rush Limbaugh was “accurate” when he said that service members who support withdrawal from Iraq are “phony soldiers.” While trying to support her claim, Morgan attacked VoteVets.org Chairman Jon Soltz as part of the “soldiers who are fake, or who are embellishers, or who are posers.”
Morgan then claimed that Soltz, who served honorably in both Kosovo and Iraq, has a “far left, anti-America agenda” and that he “undermine[s] the real mission of our troops, our heros who are out there”:
A number of, of, soldiers who are fake, or who are embellishers, or who are posers. Who go out there, or soldiers like Jon Soltz from VoteVet.org who go out there and use their far left, anti-America agenda. Political agenda to undermine the real mission of our troops, our heros who are out there.
While Limbaugh and his defenders on the right like Morgan are claiming that he’s been taken out of context and was only referring to a single fraudulent soldier, Jesse MacBeth, the fact that they continually reference actual veterans who are critical of the war as examples of “phony soldiers” undermines the credibility of their spin.
I was talking about a genuine phony soldier — and, by the way, Jesse MacBeth is not the only one. How about this guy Scott Thomas who was writing fraudulent, phony things in the New Republic about atrocities he saw that never happened? How about Jack Murtha blanketly accepting the notion that Marines in Haditha engaged in wanton murder of innocent children and civilians?
As Gen. John Batiste (Ret.), who commanded the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq, said on MSNBC’s Countdown last week, Rush’s inclusion of Murtha and Morgan’s attack on Soltz, “dismisse[s]” the “validity” of their argument that Limbaugh’s comment didn’t apply to pro-withdrawal troops as a whole.
UPDATE: On MSNBC’s Hardball in August, retired Air Force Lt. Colonel Robert “Buzz” Patterson, who works with Morgan at Move America Forward, accused Soltz of “stabbing” his “fellow men and women in uniform” in the back because he supports withdrawal from Iraq.
UPDATE II: Greg Sargent reports that Melanie Morgan has been smearing him, but nowhere does she “read to her listeners the actual exchange between Rush and his caller where he used the ‘phony soldiers’ phrase, so that they could make up their minds for themselves.”