GUEST HOST: I’ve been on the edge of my seat — and I know you have, too, yesterday all day when we were talking about other topics — wondering what was going on with Rush, who as we all know was on his way to visit the troops in Afghanistan. Well, he is there now, and is on the phone with us. Rush, welcome to your program.
RUSH: Roger, how are you? How are things back in the USA?
GUEST HOST: Well, things are great here. We’re all anxious to know how they’re going there.
RUSH: Well, Mary Matalin and I flew to Dubai on Saturday morning, and we watched 16 episodes of the first season of the TV show “24” on the plane, and the time just flew. We didn’t sleep on the flight over. We had a stop in Shannon Ireland for fuel, so it was I don’t know, 14-, 15-hour trip, and we spent most of Sunday just recuperating a little bit on Monday, came into Afghanistan early on Tuesday morning, actually today. We’re nine-and-a-half hours ahead of you, so it’s almost a quarter of one, or a quarter of… I don’t even know what time it is. I’m looking at the clock. It’s a quarter to ten almost here, p.m. Anyway we just got into Afghanistan today about I guess it was 4:30 this afternoon, flew in on a UN humanitarian flight from Dubai, a little DC-9, and they took us first to the embassy compound, met all of the staff people there, and I just this minute, walked in about a half hour ago, just concluded three different meetings with the troops over here, in three different settings, joint command force. It’s Army, Air Force, the Marines, everybody, the Navy, they’re all… Well, the Navy, I saw some people but had dinner with them tonight, and I just so enjoyed being able to speak to them and convey to them in person the kind of things that most of us in this audience feel about these people. They’re just doing the Lord’s work over here, and, Roger, I have to tell you this place is a hell hole. This country is as backwards as any one else I have ever been or ever seen, and the people that are over here and committed to straightening this place out are having amazing success.
I met a bunch of native Afghani people today who their big fear is that the US will leave. They’re so excited about the changes in the elections that took place that they’re really jazzed. But in terms of the culture and just the infrastructure, I’ve never seen a place like this. I guess bombed-out Dresden in World War II might look somewhat like it. But it’s still a military war zone. We have a security bubble everywhere we go. Military, armed snipers and sharp shooters are with us in our little convoy. There’s not much insurgent activity. The main military action over here remains warlords, the old mujahideen who fought the Russians. We had a huge military briefing tonight which they gave us the overview of what’s happening in the country and what their projection is, and it’s all pretty interesting, and some of it’s pretty optimistic but I think a lot of it is attainable. One of the reasons I was interested to come to Afghanistan is that there’s no news coming out of here, like there is out of Iraq, and I figured, “Well, given the US media, that has to be the fact that the news here is good,” and it is. But I’ll tell you, I am more impressed and more in awe of the armed forces in this country, the uniformed personnel than ever. I mean, they volunteer and they get sent to a place like this, and they’re all smiling, and they’re all happy! They are ecstatic to see people from back home, and they love hearing stories about support for their operations and their mission, because they’re all committed to it. I saw men, women; black, white, you name it. All ethnic groups represented in the military here.
Interestingly, John McCain and Hillary Clinton were here earlier today, and I guess they flew up from Baghdad, so there’s been a lot of attention focused on the troops just today alone, and we’re going to spend a lot of time with them from now until Saturday. We’re going to be flying all over the country seeing various outposts and what they’re doing, but I tell you it just makes you proud. It just really makes you proud. They’re far ahead of schedule here in terms of ramping up the Afghan police force and their own version of their army. They’re training army personnel here much rapidly, almost twice as fast as was projected. So it really is a positive sign here, a positive experience, and the development? The Army is doing things here that, you know, some of the old guys are not really trained for but they’re adapting to it in helping the people here move forward with their freedom and whatever kind of government they set up. So I mean, it was a jam-packed first day and I’m trying to cram as much of it I can here into this brief little report here. The timing worked out perfectly because I just walked into my quarters here and was able to find a free land line to give you a call. So I just want everybody to know I’m okay. I understood that there was some panic yesterday when I didn’t call in. That’s because I wasn’t even in Afghanistan yesterday. We were still in Dubai putzin’ around and there’s no reason to tell anybody about that. But this is in Afghanistan. This is one of the greatest things I’ve decided to do. I’m glad I did it. Everybody can be as proud as they can of the American military here in this operation. It’s just astounding to see.
GUEST HOST: Rush Limbaugh in Afghanistan. Rush, I gotta tell you, I was going to tell you that it was important to convey, as you did, our just gratitude beyond the describing of it for the sacrifice made by our young men and women who are over there doing that. Can you describe the kind of quarters you have? I mean, given that it is a country with not a lot of infrastructure, what have they offered you?
RUSH: Well, the place I am is part of the US AID, Agency for International Development compound, which is down the street from not only the Karzai residence, but from the US embassy, and it is all Americanized. Generators run and it’s all — I don’t need any foreign power converters. I only have one English-language television station here, and that’s the BBC. It’s as boring as it can be. I’ve had enough of that and CNN International while I was over in Dubai, so (raspberry) to that. But I don’t need any television here. I’ve got Internet. I can’t get my personal e-mail to work on their LAN connection here, but we’ll get that worked out before I leave. It’s just — I’ll tell you, you know, you talked about the opportunity to convey to the troops. It is. I can talk about them on the radio program as you do and we salute them and so forth, but I just felt so small compared to these people standing before them, and they’re just as eager. They’re excited to see people from back home. And, by the way, folks, if you’re wondering I didn’t go politically correct on them. I told them exactly who’s saying what about them in an opposition fashion. I told them what I think is the sort of phony baloney, plastic banana, good-time rock ‘n’ roller of some members of American left saying they support the troops but they don’t support their mission — and I haven’t run into anybody who has snickered.
They’re eager for the truth here. They are. As you know we’ve had soldiers come back from both Afghanistan in Iraq and express frustration when they go home and watch the news and they see things that they don’t see when they’re actually deployed in these places, and these people have the same experience. Whenever they do see news out of Afghanistan — when the UN came out today or yesterday saying that Afghanistan is losing ground; it’s the fifth worst developed country in the world and unless there’s a massive infusion then Afghanistan will descend back to the ravages of the Taliban. The Taliban is done. The Taliban is defeated. It has maybe 3,000 members. It’s a phony report designed because the UN is trying to get their hands in the back pockets of the American taxpayer again by talking about Afghanistan not having enough development aid. I mean, this place is so far and away better than what it was a year ago or two. Even so, though, it’s a culture most Americans wouldn’t realize. But the people here…
It’s tough for me to speak for a whole lot of Afghanis. I’ve only met a very few here in this first day, and I’m well aware that they could have found Afghan people for me that say things I want to hear, so I’ll learn more about this as the days unfold but they’re all excited about their future here and the opportunity they have to finally live lives of freedom however they decide to set up their government. Big problem here is opium production like cocaine is in Colombia. They’re trying to do their best to eradicate that and that’s where president Karzai is actually trying to shame these old mujahideen warlords who are growing the opium into changing their ways, but it’s highly profitable. So it’s like anything in the illegal drug trade. There are a tremendous amount of challenges here, but the optimism from the commanding officers of the military and the grunts and the soldiers is breathtaking. It would inspire me and inspire you if you had a chance to come over and see it. Look, I know you gotta take a commercial break, because I put together the programming format. But if you’d like I’d hang on if you have any other questions, I’d be glad to try to answer.
GUEST HOST: Rush, I do, and if you would that, would be great. I know we’re on a satellite phone so I appreciate the fragility of some of that, and I appreciate your giving us this report. It’s exactly what we needed this morning to know what was going on there firsthand with a couple more questions let me take that break, and we will be right back.
GUEST HOST: We are on the phone with the Doctor of Democracy himself, America’s anchorman in Afghanistan, live with us. Rush, getting back to your schedule. If you could give us some idea about it: A meeting with Karzai, the government, the ordinary Afghanis, again, meeting with troops. How much of the country are you going to be able to see?
RUSH: Well, all of it. I mean, it’s an incredible itinerary. This reminds me of the trip I took to Israel in 1993. I had four days there, and I saw more in four days than I would have learned about in two years of college. It’s the same here. I’ve barely scratched the surface of what happened today, and we just got into the country five hours ago. I just now got to where it is I’m staying. From the moment we got off of the airplane it was over to the US Agency for International Development to meet with them because they’re working with the military, sort of a unique alliance. It’s all part of the president’s agenda to make sure that after routing the Taliban, that the country of Afghanistan does not descend back into what it was, and so his recipe of human freedom is the foundation for this, and the military is working with the USAID people to actually develop this country, to develop the infrastructure. They’re building roads over here to improve commerce — and, you know, ideas travel on roads, too. The Taliban hated road construction because ideas move on roads. So we stopped there. That was about an hour. From there, went over for a scheduled meeting with the president, Hamid Karzai, and by the time we got there — and the schedule was up in the air. He had requested we move it to Friday, which was fine with me because I’d rather talk to him after having seen a lot of the country than not having seen it all.
From there went back to the embassy, met the ambassador, got a briefing from him. Everybody wants to tell me what they’re doing, what their area is responsible for and how well they’re doing and what their challenges are. And then from there it was back over here to what they call the Kabul Compound, which is part of the embassy, but it’s separated. It’s not part of the actual campus, but it’s still all American here, and it is shared with the military, and then had three different meetings, including a dinner, with a hundred different military people each time, spoke for 40 minutes to each group, took questions, and then after that had an hour and a half briefing from the chain of command here and the chief of staff, about twelve of us around a big conference table, and they took me from one corner of the country to the next as to what they’ve done since they’ve been here, what their challenges are, and what their expectations for achieving these challenges are — and they’re very optimistic. All of the troops I met here… I don’t know how to say this, and I told them all, I said, “I really feel small in your presence. I feel in awe of what you’re doing. You represent such a small percentage of the US population and what we’re doing…” and yet they all posed for pictures, singular pictures, single file, hundred people, multiple cameras, and they were all telling me what an honor it was to meet me. It embarrassed me, and I made sure to turn it around on them and asked them about them, and, you know, they’re just like anybody else. They’re doing a job. Nobody really knows much about what they’re doing because there’s not a whole lot of press here and they’re very proud of what they’re doing and whenever they learn that there are people who are telling their story, respecting what they do, they feel proud. They feel happy. So it was an ebullient bunch of men and women in three different cases. I had dinner with one of them, one group, and that was probably the last three hours of the day. That probably was from I guess 6:30 to 9:30 and I hustled back here to be able to call the program and lead off here with you, because it’s near the end of the day, and every day we’ll be up at five a.m. and we’ll finish every night at ten for the next three days.
GUEST HOST: Wow, that’s quite a schedule.
RUSH: We’re going to be flying up to Kandahar. We’re going to be flying over to Harat. We’re going to be taking C-130s to various places. They’re just going to show us a lot, as much weather permitting of the country as possible, and there are military installations in all these places that I’m looking forward to. I brought some EIB stuff. I brought some coffee mugs and some heated coffee mugs, some T-shirts, brought some cigars for the troops. It’s going to be a fun three days, and if things go on schedule I’ll be back at home in Florida four o’clock Sunday morning.
GUEST HOST: Rush Limbaugh, in Afghanistan —
RUSH: I’ll be leaving here, leaving Dubai, at four o’clock in the afternoon on Saturday.
GUEST HOST: Now, Rush, in those question-and-answer sessions with the troops that were describing there, what kind of questions are you getting from them?
RUSH: It’s amazing. They’re asking, “Are you gonna run for office? What do you think…?” I only had a couple policy questions about things going on in Afghanistan. One of them was, “Do you think that the US system should be what they should adopt or do you think we should allow them to adopt their own system?” and I said, “A great question, and you know, I actually wouldn’t impose anything on them. Just give them their freedom. I trust freedom. I trust free people. Let free people make up their own minds about things and you can trust the results,” and I said, “There are a lot of people in America who don’t trust free people to do the right thing. I won’t mention a political party; you all know it, and I won’t mention the ideology; you all know it. But I have no desire to tell the Afghans they have to do it this way; they have to do it it that way. Give them their freedom and let th, a former Vietnam vet, thanked me for standing up for Vietnam vets and he said he wished they had people like me during the Vietnam War, and I said, “That’s very nice and I appreciate that, but, look, it’s a far thing, talking about what you do and doing what you do.” Like I said these questions, some have really made me small.
There were questions about me, and I, you know, honored their request to answer them but I’m really more interested in themselves and them — and they had some fun with Senator McCain questions. “Do you think you could beat Senator McCain if you ran for president?” and I said, “Easily.” “What about Mrs. Clinton?” She’s here, too. I think she and McCain were here together after they went to Baghdad. But it was just… You know, they’re just fun people. They’re excited young people. They’re just like anybody being successful. They’re happy about what they do. They’re proud to be doing what they’re doing, and it was just great to see. It’s great to see them young and motivated. They’re special people and it was a great honor to be able to talk to them today. I’m looking forward to the rest of the week, Rog. I’m going to let you go. I know we’re getting close to this bottom of the hour break, and I don’t trust my clock to be synched up with yours but I appreciate your letting me call you on the fly here without knowing I was going to call and kick off the show. I hope it didn’t mess up too many of your plans but I appreciate the break
GUEST HOST: Absolutely. My only plan was to find out you were okay and you were there in Afghanistan, and I sure appreciate the report. I know everybody listening was quite concerned yesterday when we didn’t hear from you so now we have, and we know it’s going to be fun to follow this whole trip throughout the week.
RUSH: Well, it was just a communications error. I forgot to say to the staff I went going to get in here till Tuesday and I was did say it was going to be 50-50 depending on SAT phones and this kind of thing. I didn’t know they would have a land line for me. I ought to be able to get to you every day from now through Friday with an update of what’s going on the way they’ve got it set up here, so —
GUEST HOST: Great.
RUSH: I’m looking forward to it.
GUEST HOST: Rush, get a good night’s sleep, we appreciate you being with us and thanks for the report. Rush Limbaugh in Afghanistan. Wow. The Doctor of Democracy taking it right to our troops. All that stuff about the troops sounds great, particularly from San Diego where we are — you know, a lot of our troops come from, the Marines come particularly out of San Diego. We’re painfully aware of the sacrifice they make and the families make and to hear the morale that high, to hear that kind of questioning going on, that’s a terrific thing I know for us here as well as throughout the nation. Rush Limbaugh in Afghanistan.