RUSH: Here’s Tom in Columbus, Indiana. Tom, welcome to the EIB Network, sir. Nice to have you on the EIB Network.
CALLER: Thank you, Rush. It’s good to talk to you.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: Rush, I was wondering if you could give us your feelings on changing the rules of engagement in conjunction with our increase in troops in Iraq, and I’d like to have your comments with the background of our concern about the media and the Islamic nations reacting to collateral damage that surely will accompany a change in the rules of engagement.
CALLER: Well, I don’t know that there will be any changes of rules in engagement.
CALLER: Do you think there should be?
RUSH: Well, I’ve thought that for a long time, but I don’t know whether there will be. This is not complicated for me. I don’t twist myself into pretzels over this. We are in a war, are we not?
CALLER: Yes, we are.
RUSH: The objective of the war, most times you fight one except when Democrats are involved, is to win it. Right?
RUSH: So I don’t care what the enemy’s reaction is, if they get shellacked, and collateral damage? Give me a break. Let’s talk about the collateral damage in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Let’s talk about the collateral damage in Dresden. Let’s talk about the collateral damage in Berlin. All four of those places were leveled, but we won the war; they were rebuilt, and guess what? We don’t have problems with either of them, except maybe the Germans now and then when it comes to diplomatic things, taking bribes from Saddam Hussein, that sort of thing, but they haven’t threatened us again.
CALLER: But in those cases we weren’t shy about what the media would say about our trying to win the war.
RUSH: Well, that’s true, but that was back in days before there was 24/7 media, but look it, it drove Lyndon Johnson out of office. Walter Cronkite drove Lyndon Johnson out of office with one newscast, Tom, back in the 70s’. When LBJ heard Cronkite say, we can’t win, this is a mistake, LBJ said, “Well, hell. I’ve just lost Cronkite. I’ve lost the country. That means I can’t get reelected. I’m outta here.” One of the things that’s going to have to take place, the media is what it is, it’s not going away. You have to factor — future presidents, generals, war planners, strategists, are going to have to plan — in addition to their actual war plan, to deal with media coverage of what they’re doing, and they’re going to have to assume a hostile media.
As I said last week, one of the things the American people, I think want to know is, are we killing the enemy? They don’t know anything about that. All we know is this daily death count, now over 3,000. We see a burning car or two every night on the news; we see smoke and blown up buildings and so forth, and it’s always portrayed as. “The US took another hit. The Iraqis took another hit.” We never hear about whether we’re killing the enemy. If the administration does release a body count, then the Drive-By Media says, “That’s unseemly! That is just unseemly! That war is not about body count!” They can, of course, issue body counts for US troops all over the place, day and night, 24/7. Look, it’s easy for those of you who are not in the oval orifice and not in the Pentagon to say, “Who cares what the media says?” We don’t have the accountability. I wish it were the case, but I wouldn’t hold out hope that that’s going to change much, other than if the White House were listening to the media, we wouldn’t even be talking about this surge, and the surge would be shut down.
The president is going to go ahead with it. I think that there’s potential for this. Something has obviously taken place that makes them realize we’re in a stalemate. We can’t continue to fight it this way. We are the United States of America! We don’t have to put up with this kind of thing if we don’t want to. We have the ability to project power like no other nation on earth ever has been able to project power, and we haven’t used a smidgen of it, and there are obvious reasons for it. But as far as rule changes, I think the biggest one, as I pointed out, is in this Washington Post story today, if it’s true, that the Iraqi prime minister is going to start getting tough on his own people, the militants, the Shi’ite militants that are causing all these problems. If that’s true, then that’s a major engagement change, rules-of-engagement change.