Now, let me tell you where I’m going to be next week. I had not intended to make this public for a host of reasons until it was all over, but the thing that I’m going to do next week has leaked. It leaked yesterday. I think it leaked from people who were trying to undermine it, and enough said about that. They are not going to succeed in undermining it, but I think that was one of the attempts, one of the reasons why it was leaked. Now, you do not know this, but for the past year and a half or two years, I have been asking both the State Department and the Department of Defense to go on a troop visit to either Iraq or Afghanistan, and in some cases I was denied, in some cases I was ignored, and in all cases they were thankful and they said, “We’ll get back to you,” and sometimes I heard from them, sometimes I didn’t. But about three months ago, I heard from the State Department that there would be an opportunity to visit Afghanistan in the first quarter of this year, so I said, “Well, count me in, pending what it is and when it is and what the agenda is.”
So three weeks ago now, I met with members of the US Agency for International Development, which is an agency of the State Department, and put together the itinerary. The trip to Afghanistan is next week. I will not be broadcasting from there because remotes are not simple things anymore for me to do with my cochlear implant and hearing problems, but I will have a satellite phone and it is my intention to phone in when I can to the program and our guest hosts next week, to give on-the-spot foreign correspondent reports as to what I’ve seen. Now, the primary reason that I wanted to go was to visit the troops, and I want to carry a message to them from all of you — and I’ve wanted to do this, as I say, for a year and a half or two years. You know, the USO does these trips but I look at who the USO takes and I realize I don’t have a prayer to go on a USO trip. I have yet to see a conservative commentator on a USO trip. I see a bunch of liberals and leftists, which is fine. So I didn’t even bother with the USO, and so the trip has been put together. It’s going to be basically five days in country with three troop visits, one of them a town meeting -type affair, and I cannot tell you how excited I am about this. (Interruption) What, Mr. Snerdley? Oh, I’m going to set that up. I’m going to set up a troop asking a question that a reporter has fed them. I’m going to have fun with this — and there are going to be three troop visits. I have a meeting with some high government officials in Afghanistan, and I’m going to see some examples of reconstruction that have gone on. It’s going to be a great trip.
It’s an adventure. It’s a tremendous opportunity. But for a whole host of reasons, I didn’t want to talk about this till it was over. Now it’s out. Reuters has the story, and a couple of other places have snarky little stories about this, and it has been posted on Matt Drudge’s website and at NewsMax.com, so I thought it would be sort of silly for me to ignore it here on the radio and act like it’s not happening. I’m getting e-mails, “Is this really true?” and this is a great question, folks! You see a Reuters story and you don’t trust it. We’re making great progress out there. I want to applaud all of you who have written me and said, “Hey, Rush, I see this story on Reuters about you and Afghanistan. Is this true?” Great, great question — and since so many people are sending me these requests wanting to know if the news stories are accurate, I thought that I would confirm them. There are elements of the story that are BS, as is the case in every story. Just so you know, I am paying for the trip. I’m paying my way over there and back. I’m reimbursing when possible. This is a thing I have requested and for security reasons I’m going with the US Aid people, but I wasn’t, you know, sitting around minding my own business waiting for the weekend to go play golf and got a phone call from somebody that said, “Hey, we’d like you to go to Afghanistan.” It’s the exact opposite of that and it’s something that I have been trying to do for, as I say, a year and a half or two years. And so it’s finally come to pass, and it’s going to be next week. Who are the guest hosts next week? We’ve got Hedgecock in here on Monday and Tuesday. Tom Sullivan — he’ll be in L.A., right, that day? — from Sacramento. He’ll be in L.A. He’ll be on Wednesday. Who is…? Oh, yeah. Oh, that’s right! Mike Rosen from KOA in Denver. Yeah, he’ll be here Thursday and Friday. He’s on our 50,000-watt blowtorch affiliate out in the Rocky Mountains, in Denver. So that’s just to confirm what many of you were asking me about in the media today about the trip.
So it’s going to be cool. It’s going to be an adventure. It’s going to be eye opening, I am certain, and I’ll tell you, one of the reasons — some people say, “Well, wouldn’t you rather it be Iraq?” Actually, no preference here. Afghanistan actually, as I thought about it: Do you know there’s no news coming out of there? We’re not being told of anything. Everything is Iraq — and I think one of the reasons that we’re not being told anything coming out of Afghanistan is because the news is mostly good. I think the very fact that there’s not a whole lot of reporting out of there means the news is good. So I want to go over there and see if that’s true and confirm it. You know, the Afghan elections came off and they happened just as well and as efficiently as the Iraqi elections and nobody talked about it after it happened much. Not at all. There was no big run-up to it. There was no coverage it. There was no coverage after the fact. Then the Iraqi elections came and that occupied the whole foreign news cycle last fall in the campaign up till January 30th — and yet Afghanistan is where we first went. Afghanistan, we routed the Taliban out of there, and more and more Taliban people are turning themselves in, saying they’re tired of the life and they want to join the good guys. I have seen sporadic reports of that sort of thing, so I just want to go see this for myself and that’s what I’m going to do and I wanted to pass it on to you — and in case any of you are wondering, no, I am not taking my golf clubs.