Senator Tom Harkin has joined other Democrats in lambasting radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh for comments Limbaugh made last week. Democrats have been criticizing Limbaugh for using the line "phony soldiers" during his show in reference to members of the military who oppose the war.
"In August, seven soldiers published an op-ed in the New York Times criticizing the current strategy in Iraq. Tragically, two of those soldiers were subsequently killed in action, making the ultimate sacrifice for their country," Harkin said yesterday on the Senate floor. "I only can assume by Mr. Limbaugh’s definition that they, too, were ‘phony soldiers.’"
Harkin questions Limbaugh’s motives. "What’s most despicable is that Rush Limbaugh says these provocative things to make more money. So he castigates our soldiers, this makes more news…more people tune in, he makes more money," Harkin said. "Well, I don’t know. Maybe he was just high on his drugs again. I don’t know if he was or not. If so, he ought to let us know, but that shouldn’t be an excuse."
Limbaugh says he used the "phony soldiers" line to refer to a couple of war critics who’ve claimed to have served in Iraq or seen atrocities there, but turned out to be fabricating their stories. As for Harkin’s allegation that Limbaugh may have been "high on his drugs again" — that’s a reference to Limbaugh’s highly-publicized arrest for possessing large amounts of a pain medication without the proper prescriptions.
The executive director of the Iowa Republican Party says Harkin’s comments are "pretty amazing" since Harkin himself has been "dishonest" about being a Vietnam vet and is a "phony soldier" himself. The Iowa GOP’s Chuck Launder says Harkin once claimed to have flown combat missions in Vietnam, only to later admit to flying into Vietnam on just a dozen occasions to pick up pilots or aircraft that needed to be repaired.
Laudner says the saddest part about Harkin’s criticism of Limbaugh is that Harkin "was not high on drugs" when he made the accusations.