RUSH: We found the original Reuters story on this battlefield fatality statistic. It’s an all-time low. To set this up, if some of you are just joining us, as you know, ABC News World News Tonight co-anchor Bob Woodruff and his cameraman were seriously wounded in a — well, for all practical purposes — a car bomb, while they were filming a stand-up report to show the fitness of the Iraqi security forces. They were standing up out of a hatch in an Iraqi light armored personnel carrier. Their wounds are apparently very serious; they’re in stable condition — and we played sound bites of David Westin, the president of ABC News who was on Good Morning America today, who said for them this makes all of this real.
How long have we been in Iraq? We’ve been there since 2003. Three years. Well, it’s going to be three years in March, right, three years in March. But this makes it real’. This really lets them know that this is real now: one of their anchors has been wounded, their cameraman wounded. Of course, this the same media that has been eagerly running these count-ups of American troop deaths. They were all excited, could barely keep their pants zipped up when we got to one thousand, then 1500, then 2,000, and all of this was designed to create anti-war sentiment among the American people — and then two Decembers ago, about 13 months ago, Reuters and the Washington Post both ran essentially the same story, and the Reuters story is headlined of this: “US Medical Advances May Mask War’s Human Cost — The toll on US troops of war in Iraq and Afghanistan may be obscured by dramatic advances in battlefield medicine that allow more soldiers to survive combat injuries than ever before, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine.” Now, just take that paragraph and stop and digest this: “The toll on US troops of war may be obscured by dramatic advances in battlefield medicine that allow more of them to survive their injuries.”
The toll! Do you understand this? When we first encountered this story, we were beside ourselves. We could not understand this. Battlefield fatalities at an all-time low, and Reuters and Ceci Connolly at the Washington Post write stories on how problematic this is, and they call it a “cost,” and they refer to it as “the toll” on US troops. “This can no longer be described as a small or contained conflict, but a far larger proportion of soldiers are surviving their judges, author Atul Gawande, a Harvard professor and surgeon at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital said in the article. US combat deaths in Iraq topped 1,000 last week.” December 2004, remember. “Gawande suggested fundamental changes in treating wounded troops had altered the old calculus for measuring a war’s intensity. As a result it could be misleading to focus only on combat deaths to gauge the level of fighting.” See, what was happening here, a thousand deaths, the media was going to nuts: “A thousand deaths, okay! This is going to get the American people really on our side and against Bush and against the whole war,” but it didn’t. So they came out with this cockeyed report and said: “Well, the battlefield fatality rate is at an all-time low but that is because doctors are being moved to the front lines. That’s not the place for doctors, and those doctors at the front lines are saving the lives of soldiers who in the past would have been killed, and that’s not good,” and we’re sitting here scratching our heads. How can this possibly be? How can even this good news be looked at cynically? Well, we figured it out. Battlefield fatalities at an all-time low at a time when the media is trying to trumpet and hype them to gin up anti-war support, gave them a problem. So they had to say — and both articles do, Ceci Connolly’s and the Reuters story, both articles say — that it may not be good that the battlefield fatality rate is so low, because it means that people’s lives are being saved, and their lives are maybe not worth living. “Look at their devastating injuries! No eyes. No arms. No legs! Who would want to live that way, why, this is…? “Folks, we’re going to post both stories again at RushLimbaugh.com so you can read them for yourself, but amidst all that comes now this tragic injury to Bob Woodruff and ABC and his cameraman.
So we at Rush Limbaugh and RushLimbaugh.com have decided, ladies and gentlemen, that we are going to start our own tally. We’re going to have our own count-up. In fact, we’re doing two of these. We are doing a countdown. We’re working on putting it together now. Last week I told you that Al Gore told Larry David at Sundance that we only have ten years left to enjoy life on the planet, otherwise global warming is going to basically scorch the earth and end life as we know it. Ten years. So we are going to start, at RushLimbaugh.com, a countdown until it’s all over. Ten years until, it’s it and we’re doomed. Folks, we’ve got ten years. Al Gore said so. You have ten years to put your affairs in order, ten years to plan your estates, ten years to decide whether or not you want to bring a new child into the world who’s only going to live nine or eight years or four or five or six or seven. A lot of things you have to consider here, because we’ve only got ten years. And, of course, if you go to Davos and listen, ten years isn’t nearly enough time to fix the problem so we’re cooked in more ways than one! We’re going to have that countdown because when the world ends, I don’t want anybody saying they didn’t hear about it on this show or my website. Number two: We’ve decided today to do a count-up. Just as the media counted the battlefield fatalities of US soldiers, we are going to count journalist fatalities and wounded. Those who have been wounded and killed in the Iraq war. We’re going to count up, because at some point, ladies and gentlemen, we will have a tolerance level that will be reached. At some point, the networks will have to pull out of this quagmire. The losses will not be justifiable — and if it’s only now hitting David Westin that this is “real,” then we may have a little ways to go here, but we want to help by raising consciousness.
Now, many of you people say, ?Why do you want to help journalists this way, Rush? I listen to you, and you rip the media quite often.? No, no, no, folks. I support the journalists; I just don’t support their stories — and that’s always been the case with me. I’ve always supported journalists. They have a constitutional acknowledgement of their importance. It’s just the stories I don’t support. But I support journalists. I’ve never said, “We need to get rid of journalists.” Unlike journalists who have said it might be wise if we got rid of the military, I’ve never said that about them, but I don’t support their stories. So don’t anybody get confused. I also got a note, an e-mail from a person wondering. (Interruption) Yeah, how about a slogan for Bob Woodruff: “No blood for Disney.” You know, that might be going a bit far. No blood for ink. No blood for airtime. But I got an e-mail, somebody wondering, and this is a good question: Who is paying Bob Woodruff and the cameraman’s medical expenses? Is for example ABC reimbursing the military for this in order to maintain their objectivity? You know how the journalists will not — when they fly on Air Force One, they reimburse. When they stay at a hotel the White House sets up and the president travels, they reimburse. They’re not going to have their objectivity compromised here by appearing to be on the take. I’m sure ABC has a great health plan but is it in force — and, by the way, I even thought about calling in OSHA because obviously the battlefield is not a safe place for journalists, and the military is not doing all it can do to ensure occupational safety for journalists, and this incident — which David Westin now realizes makes all this real — is a great illustration of just how dangerous it can be on the battlefield for journalists, and is the Army doing everything they can do? Send OSHA in there to investigate them just like you send them in to investigate Wal-Mart.
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