The assertion -- reminiscent of MoveOn's attack on Petraeus, which generated enormous controversy when Republicans attacked the group -- has the potential to be equally explosive, since some troops who are currently fighting in Iraq, and a handful who have died there, have questioned the war in the media.
Now Dems are stepping forward to blast his remark. First up: the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Here's the statement just released by DCCC chief Chris Van Hollen:
“Rush Limbaugh’s personal attack on our men and women in uniform is reprehensible. It minimizes the sacrifice our troops in Iraq and their families are making and has no place in the public discourse. Rush Limbaugh owes our military and their families an apology for his hurtful comments that minimize their service to our country.”
We have a feeling that more will be coming on this. We have lots more on Rush's radio appearance right here.
Late Update: Here's John Kerry's statement:
"This disgusting attack from Rush Limbaugh, cheerleader for the Chicken Hawk wing of the far right, is an insult to American troops. In a single moment on his show, Limbaugh managed to question the patriotism of men and women in uniform who have put their lives on the line and many who died for his right to sit safely in his air conditioned studio peddling hate. On August 19th, The New York Times published an op-ed by seven members of the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division critical of George Bush's Iraq policy. Two of those soldiers were killed earlier this month in Baghdad. Does Mr. Limbaugh dare assert that these heroes were 'phony soldiers'? Mr. Limbaugh owes an apology to everyone who has ever worn the uniform of our country, and an apology to the families of every soldier buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He is an embarrassment to his Party, and I expect the Republicans who flock to his microphone will now condemn this indefensible statement."
Note the reference to the dead soldiers who authored that Times Op ed against the war, as well as the demand that GOPers condemn Rush for his remark.
Later Update: Looks like the Dems are determined to make a major issue of this. Rep. Frank Pallone was just on the House floor blasting Rush. He asked whether all the GOPers who condemned MoveOn will hold Rush to the same standard, concluding: "Don't hold your breath."
Even Later Update: Here's Dem Rep Patrick Murphy, an Iraq war vet himself, in a statement sent to us moments ago:
“Someone should tell chicken-hawk Rush Limbaugh that the only phonies are those who choose not to serve and then criticize those who do. I served proudly, so did two of my fellow paratroopers in the 82nd Airborne who spoke out and died just weeks ago. Generations of American veterans have worn the uniform with pride and we know it is no contradiction to serve your country and still disagree with the Bush-civilian leadership that mismanaged this war.”