Senate Democrats

Senate Democrats Condemn Limbaugh’s Attack On Our Troops

Washington, DC—Senate Democrats today sent the following letter to Mark P. Mays, CEO of Clear Channel Communications, calling on him to publicly repudiate Rush Limbaugh’s characterization of troops who speak out against the Iraq war as “phony soldiers.”  Despite recent Republican comments condemning verbal attacks on our troops, when given the opportunity to join us in signing this letter, not a single one did so. 

Below is the text of the letter:

October 2, 2007

Mr. Mark P. Mays
CEO, Clear Channel Communications Inc.
200 East Basse Road
San Antonio, TX 78209

Dear Mr. Mays,

At the time we sign this letter, 3,808 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq, and another 28,009 have been wounded.  160,000 others awoke this morning on foreign sand, far from home, to face the danger and uncertainty of another day at war.

Although Americans of goodwill debate the merits of this war, we can all agree that those who serve with such great courage deserve our deepest respect and gratitude.  That is why Rush Limbaugh’s recent characterization of troops who oppose the war as “phony soldiers” is such an outrage.

Our troops are fighting and dying to bring to others the freedoms that many take for granted.  It is unconscionable that Mr. Limbaugh would criticize them for exercising the fundamentally American right to free speech. Mr. Limbaugh has made outrageous remarks before, but this affront to our soldiers is beyond the pale.

The military, like any community within the United States, includes members both for and against the war. Senior generals, such as General John Batiste and Paul Eaton, have come out against the war while others have publicly supported it. A December 2006 poll conducted by the Military Times found just 35 percent of service members approved of President Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq, compared to 42 percent who disapproved. From this figure alone, it is clear that Mr. Limbaugh’s insult is directed at thousands of American service members.

Active and retired members of our armed forces have a unique perspective on the war and offer a valuable contribution to our national debate. In August, seven soldiers wrote an op-ed expressing their concern with the current strategy in Iraq. Tragically, since then, two of those seven soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq.

Thousands of active troops and veterans were subjected to Mr. Limbaugh’s unpatriotic and indefensible comments on your broadcast. We trust you will agree that not a single one of our sons, daughters, neighbors and friends serving overseas is a “phony soldier.” We call on you to publicly repudiate these comments that call into question their service and sacrifice and to ask Mr. Limbaugh to apologize for his comments.

Sincerely,

Senator Harry Reid, Majority Leader
Senator Richard Durbin, Assistant Majority Leader
Senator Charles Schumer, Vice Chairman, Democratic Conference
Senator Patty Murray, Secretary, Democratic Conference
Senator Daniel Akaka
Senator Max Baucus
Senator Joseph Biden
Senator Barbara Boxer
Senator Sherrod Brown
Senator Robert Byrd
Senator Benjamin Cardin
Senator Tom Carper
Senator Bob Casey
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
Senator Kent Conrad
Senator Christopher Dodd
Senator Byron Dorgan
Senator Dianne Feinstein
Senator Tom Harkin
Senator Daniel Inouye
Senator Edward M. Kennedy
Senator John Kerry
Senator Amy Klobuchar
Senator Mary Landrieu
Senator Frank Lautenberg
Senator Patrick Leahy
Senator Carl Levin
Senator Blanche Lincoln
Senator Bob Menendez
Senator Barbara Mikulski
Senator Bill Nelson
Senator Barack Obama
Senator Jack Reed
Senator Jay Rockefeller
Senator Ken Salazar
Senator Bernie Sanders
Senator Debbie Stabenow
Senator Jon Tester
Senator Jim Webb
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Senator Ron Wyden

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