Actual Malice

October 4, 2007

My brother Rush has nothing for which to apologize concerning the left’s maliciously manufactured “phony soldier” scandal. He said nothing wrong and his accusers know it. There is no gray area here.

Rush is fraudulently accused of calling soldiers who oppose the Iraq war “phony soldiers.” On his September 26 show, he referred to men, like Jesse MacBeth, who lied about their service in Iraq and went on to impugn the service of those who actually have served there as “phony soldiers.”

Two days before, on September 24, Rush recorded his “Morning Update,” which aired on September 25 and mirrored an ABC “World News with Charles Gibson” piece that used the phrase “phony heroes” three times and “phonies” once to describe men like MacBeth who falsely claim to be veterans. Rush noted that the anti-war left makes celebrities of such frauds who falsely claim to have witnessed American soldiers committing atrocities in Iraq.

In his dialogue with the caller “Mike in Chicago” on the 26th, Rush used the phrase “phony soldiers,” clearly referring to — in Mike’s words — “soldiers that come up out of the blue.” Rush never stated or remotely implied that any soldiers other than those who had been caught in such fabrications are phony. He did not say, would not say and never has said that soldiers who oppose the war are phony soldiers — because he doesn’t believe it.

Rush honors all U.S. soldiers for their courage and sacrifice, and because they represent the primary institution — the United States military — that safeguards the precious liberty that makes America the greatest nation in the world. The soldiers’ beliefs are the soldiers’ business, and Rush respects and appreciates their service irrespective of those beliefs — a fact I affirm based on 54 years of firsthand knowledge. He has a 20-year record on nationally syndicated radio demonstrating his unqualified devotion to America’s fighting men and women.

Certain commentators, like Geraldo Rivera on “Hannity and Colmes,” have said Rush could clear up this whole matter simply by acknowledging the ambiguity in his words and apologizing for any misunderstanding.

Let me be clear, unambiguous and unequivocal here. Rush should neither apologize for saying something he did not say nor acknowledge an ambiguity that does not exist. Few things are worse than being falsely accused, and an apology from Rush under these circumstances would be dishonest and destructive, and would legitimize the despicable actions of his accusers.

Both Geraldo and Alan Colmes also mouthed the liberal talking point that Rush has deliberately kept this issue alive to increase his ratings and make more money. To the contrary, Rush has continued this discussion only to defend his honor and expose the nefariousness of his accusers, who are determined to discredit Rush and talk radio as a predicate to resurrecting the Fairness Doctrine.

This is a trumped-up scandal orchestrated by people who want to defame Rush because he is the single most effective voice in America promoting policies and values they find abhorrent, opposing their agenda and exposing their fraud and hypocrisy.

Rush’s defense in this matter does not depend on establishing the insincerity and hypocrisy of his accusers. Note: I am not saying he misspoke and is seeking to excuse himself based on equal or worse infractions on their part. Indeed, had Rush impugned soldiers in the manner fraudulently alleged, it would be no excuse to interpose the Clintonian defense that his accusers had done the same. His defense is purely that he said nothing wrong and everything right. To expose truly “phony soldiers” is to uphold the honor of real soldiers.

Having said that, it is important separately to point out that many in the accusers’ camp, like Senators Harry Reid and John Kerry and Congressman John Murtha, have unambiguously impugned, undermined or demoralized our soldiers. Many of them have propped up, celebrated and eagerly embraced those “phony soldiers,” who, like Kerry and Murtha, have falsely accused our soldiers of atrocities. Many have refused to condemn the ad characterizing our commanding officer in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, as a traitor. Now they willfully impute military-slandering words to a man who has no superior in championing our military. How much more obvious can they be in revealing their anti-military mindset?

If they were capable of exhibiting shame or contrition I’d demand an apology from all of them. But they’re not sorry. They have perpetrated this phony scandal against my brother with actual malice. The ones behind the slander know they are lying; those merely echoing their words without bothering to investigate the facts are acting in reckless disregard for the truth.