Someone should tell chicken-hawk Rush Limbaugh that the only phonies are those who choose not to serve and then criticize those who do. I served proudly, so did two of my fellow paratroopers in the 82nd Airborne who spoke out and died just weeks ago. Generations of American veterans have worn the uniform with pride and we know it is no contradiction to serve your country and still disagree with the Bush-civilian leadership that mismanaged this war.
When someone like Rush Limbaugh says that soldiers who disagree with the failed strategies of President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld are "phony soldiers," you have to consider the source.
Rush Limbaugh, who, in January, called Vietnam veteran Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) "Senator Betrayus" for disagreeing with President Bush, has made no secret of his disdain for those who serve and speak out. Where was Rush Limbaugh when it came time to serve his country?
What's more, where was Limbaugh's outrage when Max Cleland, a Senator who left three of his limbs in Vietnam was smeared on television? Where was Limbaugh when Senator John Kerry's (D-MA) service was called into question in the form of millions of dollars in campaign ads?
My service was questioned last year during my campaign for Congress. Fortunately, the swift-boat attack on me didn't stick because people in my district in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and across America know that if someone wears the uniform and serves their country they've earned our respect regardless of political party.
Sadly, the political debate in this country has devolved into who can be more outraged at the latest smear attempt on those who should be thanked and praised for devoted service. Rush Limbaugh's phony outrage and derisive words call into contrast that which we all must honor: our Armed Forces currently fighting for their lives and our freedom all across the world. We need to be vigilant and speak out against those who question the value of that service -- and that goes for people on the right and the left.
The real issue is how best to quickly, safely and successfully end this war. It's time for Limbaugh, Cheney and Bush to end the partisanship and work with those of us who want a change.
Prior to being elected to Congress, Patrick Murphy served as a Captain in the U.S. Army. He was deployed to Bosnia in 2002 and then to Iraq in 2003 and 2004. In Iraq he served with the 82 nd Airborne where he was awarded the Bronze Star for service. He is a former West Point professor and criminal prosecutor.