CALLER: Yes, it is.
RUSH: I have been there.
CALLER: Yeah, but just look at, I think it’s more of society’s problem because —
RUSH: How do you know this is happening in Afghanistan?
CALLER: Because — it has to be, because —
RUSH: No, no, why does it has to be?
CALLER: Let’s look at a different example, okay, which I believe we can see kind of the same problem if you look at for example the way that police handle people when they arrest them, sometimes if it’s a real violent offender —
RUSH: Oh Joseph.
CALLER: Listen to me from a second. It’s the real violent offender, society kind of says it’s okay for police to use as much force as they feel necessary and maybe even a couple of times actually just —
RUSH: It’s a red and blue state moment here on the EIB Network.
CALLER: Let me get my point out.
RUSH: You have. You’re essentially saying that because of what happened to Rodney King we are committing atrocities in Afghanistan.
CALLER: No, no, no, no, no. I’m not taking any incident as an example.
RUSH: Now, you just said when the cops arrest people and they treat ’em badly and so forth.
CALLER: Let me try to explain my opinion a little clearer. I’m a little nervous. What I’m trying to say is as a society we’ve kind of like turned a blind eye to it because we want, for example, that police do us a big favor, we don’t want criminals getting the idea that if they fight as hard as they can, the chance that since the police are bound by law, there’s a chance that we’ll get away, so we want to send a clear signal that —
RUSH: I have to respectfully say that I disagree with you here. In fact, not only do I disagree, but I am 180 degrees out of phase with you. I actually think that we’ve gone soft on punishment in this country. We have cable TV for people doing life terms. Now they get flat screens in certain prisons, did you see this? They’re getting plasmas, in prison, yeah, on good behavior. Well, there are some people who haven’t committed crimes who are having to go without food because of gasoline prices. And lifers with good behavior are getting flat screen plasmas to watch television on. I think because of the wringing of hands of the left, we have gone soft on true punishment for people who have committed real crimes in this country. And so we are in a war! We are in a war! And people are reacting as though this is happening on the streets of America. Now we’ve got people who don’t have the slightest clue about fact one who are assuming, “oh, yeah, it’s systemic, it’s happening in Afghanistan, and it’s happening over there because this happens in America when the cops arrest people.” I, frankly, don’t know what to do with this. You gotta take this, I mean if this guy thinks it there’s got to be more than him that think it.
I’m going to put this in perspective again. Somebody called here earlier today and said, you know, if I were a prisoner of war and that’s all that happened to me, I would be thankful. Look at what happened to McCain. Look at what happened to some of these POWs in Vietnam. Remember the Hanoi Hilton? Now, I know that’s the bad guys. But this is war. To think that this has never happened before, to think that these kinds of acts have not taken place and that this represents a decline in the civility. Frankly folks, I’m getting a little — and I have been for a while — frustrated and almost fed up with the notion that I’ve got to treat enemies, enemy combatants, criminals gently and nicely so that we don’t descend to their level. Somehow we’ve managed to distance ourselves from the concept of punishment. Now, we’re at war and we’re trying to get information out of these people, and they weren’t being forthcoming and so the order went down to do whatever it took to get some information out of them, and these jail guards are over there saying, “We don’t even know what the Geneva Convention rules were.”
I’m not sure I buy that, anybody will offer an excuse at any point. But, look, this is a tough, tough line here, because I don’t want you to think that I think this ought to be standard operating procedure. But I don’t think that it is, and I think everybody is overreacting. And this willingness and this eagerness to pile on and dump on the U.S. military and say, “Oh, yeah, this is systemic, and this happens in Afghanistan.” It’s not just callers that are doing it, you’ve got guys in the Senate, we have senators standing up today, “This is systemic. This has been going on and we need to the get to the bottom of this.” So we’re at war, we’re trying to protect ourselves, and it’s another damned investigation of the good guys! We are investigating ourselves to the point of paralysis. We’re going to end up with people afraid to pull the trigger! We’re going to end up with people afraid to stop a hijacking for fear that we’re going to get in trouble for the way we did it when the plane lands. And it’s getting out of hand here.
Now, yeah, it’s bad. It’s unfortunate, shouldn’t have happened. It’s over! We found out about it. We’re going to do something about it. We’re investigating it. Fine. Fini, exclamation point, it’s over, get used to it! This is not Sesame Street. We’re not Big Bird and Barney here, folks. This is not Oprah and Dr. Phil telling us how we can expand our consciousness. We are under attack by a bunch of heathen, savage people who hate our literal existence, much less our guts. We’re worried about what this is going to cause to happen to our prisoners of war, what the hell is happening to us already before we become prisoners? They are blowing up convoys of civilians, charred bodies pulled out of cars, they’re dragged and poked along the streets. No outrage about this. No, in fact the rest of the world is going, “Yeah, good, see, you Americans deserve it.” Well, screw them. You know, and this idea that we’re going to handcuff ourselves, and we’re going to end up investigating ourselves. Does everything have to be William Calley all over again, everything have to be the My Lai massacre all over again? Does everything have to be America is wrong, America is horrible, America is uncivilized? I mean, it’s just to the point here that we can’t take isolated incidents, look at them, and judge them as they exist. We have to then make leaps and leaps and leaps and say, “We suck,” and we end up with this self-hatred. This self-loathing of ourselves is getting a bit hard to handle here.
RUSH: Rumsfeld had a press conference this afternoon, and exactly what I feared has happened, exactly what I was just talking about has happened. This has been exaggerated and blown so out of proportion as to be infuriating. Let me give you a recent example of this. John Kerry came back from Vietnam and began talking of systemic atrocities that were committed by American soldiers, including himself. Oh, yes, wanton burning of whole towns, murdering civilians, all of these horrors. And he comes back, he saw them when he was there, but he didn’t say anything about it then, he didn’t report it to anybody then, comes back, joins the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and gets his name on the front pages by giving witness to this stuff and testifying against it and so forth and says, it’s systemic, and it was happening throughout the military in Vietnam, it was horrible, it has to stop. This war has got to stop. We’re horrible. We’re America. We’ve descended to some depth that we never knew before. It’s horrible. Get us out of there, blah, blah, blah.
Then three weeks ago or whenever he was on the Meet the Press, Russert played him some sound bites of those statements of his way, way back in 1971. And Kerry said, “Well, you know, that was a bit over the top.” They were just the ramblings of a young, whatever he was, 27-year-old kid. Oh, so some 30 some odd years later it wasn’t systemic, huh? It was just the ramblings of a young kid and we shouldn’t hold you to the transgressions of your youth, is that it? Well, we’re back to it. We’ve got one incident here and it’s Vietnam all over, and it’s systemic and it’s horrible, and we are just heathens. This country doesn’t deserve to be a country anymore, folks. How dare we!. And that’s the thing about this that is dangerous, bad, and wrong. And that is not to defend what happened and it is not to suggest that it’s harmless and no big deal, but then expanding on this and trying to say this is the kind of behavior that defines the U.S. military, that’s being done on purpose by people who wish to wound the U.S. military, and they’re probably the same people who try to make us all believe they support the troops. Now, listen to this question that this unidentified or semi-identified reporter named Charlie, asking a question of the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
VOICE: Mr. Secretary, this administration has said repeatedly that in removing Saddam Hussein the United States has gotten rid of a man who has murdered and raped and pillaged and tortured people of this country. And now these photographs and story show that in fact the U.S. military has done that to prisoners in Iraq, and you say that that has, I believe you say, “damaged U.S. attempts to establish trust in the country.” I guess I’d ask you more broadly, is this a major setback to the U.S. efforts in Iraq?
RUSH: Okay, what now, what am I missing? Rape, murder, and pillage? We’ve done that? Where did we do that? I haven’t seen that. Tell me, what am I missing? All I’ve seen is, you know, the Britney Spears, Madonna torture photos. All I’ve seen is the woman with the cigarette out of her mouth, you know, pretending to aim a gun at some guy who’s nude, and laughing; and I’ve seen, you know, the pyramid of the nude guys with hoods on like Robert Byrd birthday party. What is this rape and pillage and murder stuff now?
Oh, and do you get the tone of the question here? He has equated this incident now with Saddam Hussein’s treatment of people. Now, there were mass graves, there were rape rooms, torture rooms, there was mass murder on the part of Saddam Hussein. There was no outrage about that, by the way, even when the graves were found, no outrage at all. Now all of a sudden with these stupid pictures, this reporter has equated — and if this reporter’s done it, I’m telling you they all have — and a lot of people are now jumping on this and saying we’re no better than Saddam. It all falls into play with the fact that to people on the left Bush is a bigger threat than dictators and murderers and torturers and rapists and thugs. Here’s Rumsfeld’s answer.
VOICE: I’m not one for instant history, Charlie. The fact is, this is an exception. The pattern and practice of the Saddam Hussein regime was to do exactly what you said: to murder and torture and the killing fields are filled with mass graves. And equating the two, I think, is a fundamental misunderstanding of what took place.
RUSH: Ya think? Ya think so? It might be a fundamental misunderstanding? Now, are these reporters this stupid? I submit not. They are not this stupid. This is the result of — fill in the blank yourself. It’s an agenda, it?s an attempt to create a picture — it’s maddening and it’s frustrating. I know this kind of stuff is going to happen, that’s why I react the way I do to this stuff.
Here’s Erin in Abilene, Texas. Hi, Erin, welcome to the Rush Limbaugh program.
CALLER: Oh, Rush, I’m just so honored. I used to be such a feminazi and now I just love you.
RUSH: Well, thank you. See, we soften ’em up all over the country, folks.
CALLER: You do. You do. Rush, I just have to tell you that I am infuriated with this woman general who is trying to pass off blame. Wherever she’s trying to pass it off, this is her job.
RUSH: You mean Karpinski?
CALLER: Karpinski, yes. This is her job. She is in charge. When things go wrong and you’re in charge, you get blamed, you step down gracefully, and you try and not cause the military too much stress. I mean, my husband is in the Air Force, and it’s all we can talk about in our military circles is how bad it makes the military look. She needs to just say, all right, I screwed up, they screwed up, get them in trouble, she can step down, and —
RUSH: She is.
CALLER: — let it go.
RUSH: She is stepping down. She’s a reservist, by the way. Look, I’ve read some things about her. Well, the impression I get is she’s not really passing the buck. I mean, she’s accepting responsibility for certain elements of this, but she’s saying that these guys had orders to do this from somewhere.
CALLER: But is she saying that she didn’t know about these orders?
RUSH: Yes, apparently so, apparently so.
CALLER: I find it very hard to believe that the chain of command is not working properly. The CIA would go to junior officers and junior enlisted people and say do this, and not fill her? I don’t know that I believe that.
RUSH: Well, I don’t know enough to know whether that can happen. You’re closer to the military. Your husband is in the military, but it strikes me it’s possible if they’re really as frustrated as she says they were about the lack of information they’re getting from these people. You talk about chain of command. Everybody’s got a boss and everybody is demanding something from somebody else.
CALLER: Of course.
RUSH: And whoever is in charge of getting information from these people is not getting it and so somebody leans on them and says, “Get it.” You’ve had these people —
CALLER: I don’t see how these pictures, I mean the pictures I see, I don’t see how that’s going to get any information. I don’t consider that torture. Embarrassing? Yes.
RUSH: Well, that’s the point.
CALLER: I can’t go along with that.
RUSH: That’s what she says. She says this was just an attempt to humiliate and intimidate for the interrogation which would come the next day or two after this happened.
CALLER: A-ha. A-ha.
RUSH: That’s what she says, that’s all I can tell you.
CALLER: No, so she did know that this was supposed to be happening.
RUSH: Yeah, well —
CALLER: This is my question. What did she know and when did she know it, Rush?
RUSH: Yeah. Well, would it make you feel better if we nailed somebody in this? Because I’ll tell you what we’re going to end up doing, we’re going to nail everybody.
RUSH: The bad thing is she’s going to get it and whoever is above her is going to get it. Everybody is going to get it. We’re going to end up tying everybody’s hands to the point that the prisoners are going to have servants and the servants are going to be the interrogators and the jail guards.
CALLER: Well, you know —
RUSH: We’re going to videotape, we’re going to bring three meals a day, we’re going to be wearing tuxedos, “Can we get you any more lamb? Would you like mint jelly with that?” It’s going to get ridiculous here.
CALLER: I agree with you, Rush, but at the same time how are these people going to get nailed? They’re going to go home. That’s it. They’re reservists. They’re going to go home instead of spending their year in the desert or whatever. They’re going to go home.
RUSH: No, they’re going to do big time.
CALLER: Ooh, really?
RUSH: Oh yeah, you think these guys are just going to get sent home and forgotten about? There will be show trials. There will — Oh, you have no clue what’s going to happen. You talk about humiliation and intimidation? The Americans are going to end up humiliated and intimidated in all this and these people are going to be laughing their asses off at us.
CALLER: They already are, Rush. We just came back from Germany, and we were nowhere near American —
RUSH: That’s my point! I know they already are! This is what’s ridiculous to me. This is just totally what’s ridiculous to me. Anyway, Erin, I appreciate the phone call, very nice. I appreciate it.
Quick time-out here and well, no, let’s go to Laurie in Michigan, Tony, one more here before we go to the break. You’re next. Hi.
CALLER: Dittos, Rush, how are you today?
RUSH: Never better, Tony. I couldn’t be any better if I tried. If I were any better, I’d be in heaven.
CALLER: Rush, you said were surprised at reaction to this detainee situation, and you’re right when you said in the past that war an interrogation is a serious business; but what’s troublesome to me, and I think to so many other people, is the fact that there was so much pleasure exhibited by these interrogators. You know, I think that’s really the problem, and maybe folks aren’t saying it.
RUSH: Wait a minute. I disagree with that, too. With all due respect that to me sounds like we’re going to make hate crimes. If somebody beat somebody up in a park because they didn’t like the color of their skin we’re going to make the even worse than if they just beat them up because they beat them up. So now we’re going to get these people because not only what they did, they liked it when they did it —
CALLER: I’m not saying that.
RUSH: — we’re going to punish attitudes, we’re going to punish thinking now.
CALLER: No, I’m not saying that.
RUSH: We’re not just going to punish actions. And besides that, who knows if they were posing for pictures or not? Let me tell you what needs to happen. These people need to be brought up and given IQ tests because they’re stupid. Whoever took pictures of this had to — I mean this is unbelievable. If you want to really get down to brass tacks here, it’s one thing that it happened, yes, it happened. But who’s the idiot that took the pictures and how stupid are these people for posing?
CALLER: Rush if you were in the military and you were ordered to interrogate someone even though it was an in-depth interrogation, you would do your job in a business-like manner. And I think most people would, do a difficult job that they didn’t want to do in a business-like manner. These people had a job to do, but they were taking pleasure in it. There’s something psychologically wrong with that. It’s not the act so much. It was like a college fraternity prank that stack up naked men —
RUSH: Exactly. Exactly my point! This is no different than what happens at the skull and bones initiation and we’re going to ruin people’s lives over it and we’re going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I’m talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You of heard of need to blow some steam off? These people are the enemy. Our people are being fired at, shot at, these are young people that have volunteered to go over there and they’re having bullets fired in their way, bombs and mortar fire aimed at ’em by the people that they are guarding and charged to get information from. Everybody has a breaking point. Now, I’m not suggesting that it’s common, normal in disciplined military structures for people to lose control. I’m suggesting that it might be understandable.
You know, if somebody in this country breaks, has some sort of a problem, oh, we have all kinds of compassion for them, we understand the hard rigors and the pressures of life in America, and we make all kinds of allowances for the mistakes that people make. But here we go on the military, nobody is allowed a mistake in the military, nobody is. It’s got to be by the book at all times, and if it’s not, why, there’s a systemic problem. Look, I’m not really playing devil’s advocate here. I’m being quite honest with you about this. I’m just totally uncomfortable with the total blow-up of this to something that it is not. It’s bad enough as it is, without having to blow it up into something that’s going to tie our hands and hamper us in the effort that we’re engaging in over there. They had a good time doing it. Okay, then let’s, what do we do, what’s the additional punishment for having a good time doing this? Life imprisonment, is that good enough for having a good time? Let’s get really tough with these people. It’s bad enough what they did, but they enjoyed it, let’s give them five more years or whatever we’re going to do to them, or maybe deny them — whatever we do, that will make us feel better, right?
It’s all about us. It’s all about us feeling better about what we’re seeing. We’re not even there. We don’t even know what it’s like. 99% of us have no idea what their lives are like. We feel bad because they’re enjoying what we see in a picture and we want to really let them have it. This sucks, folks. This really, really is getting out of hand. It’s not about us. And this whole self-absorption with us, why, that makes me look bad. It doesn’t make you look bad. You didn’t do it. No, it makes ugly American — you’re not an ugly American, we’re not ugly Americans. Screw all this. Stop making everything about us. Some people did something that was wrong. Fini. It’s over. Fix it. Move on.
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