Remove Rush Limbaugh from American Forces Radio

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    Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
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    Media Matters for America
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We request that Secretary Rumsfeld remove talk radio host Rush Limbaugh from the American Forces Radio and Television Service (formerly known as Armed Forces Radio). Mr. Limbaugh, whose program is broadcast for one hour per day to U.S. troops overseas, has spent the past four weeks condoning and trivializing the abuse, torture, rape and possible murder of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. guards at the Abu Ghraib prisongross misconduct that you have described as fundamentally un-American.

In recent weeks, Rush Limbaugh has: Compared the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. guards at Abu Ghraib to a fraternity initiation; called the abuse brilliant and effective; said the guards were just having a good time and blow[ing] some steam off; likened the abuse to a Britney Spears or Madonna concert [or] the MTV music awards; compared pictures of the abuse to good old American pornography; and said the reaction to the stupid torture is an example of the feminization of this country.

Limbaughs radio program is broadcast to American troops via the American Services Network, a taxpayer-funded radio and television broadcasting agency that reaches nearly 1 million US troops in more than 175 countries, including Iraq.

Both Secretary Rumsfeld and President Bush have rightly denounced the acts that took place at Abu Ghraib but American service men and women abroad are getting the wrong message when the Department of Defense simultaneously broadcasts Limbaughs condoning of what Secretary Rumsfeld has called fundamentally un-American acts. Limbaughs comments directly contradict orders issued by the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq -- which, according to the Washington Post, bar military interrogators from using the most coercive techniques available to them in the past -- thus undermining the militarys chain of command. The comments may also inflame anti-American sentiment abroad, putting our service men and women at risk.

In addition, as Media Matters for America detailed in a May 2 report, Meet the New Rush, Same as the Old Rush, Mr. Limbaugh has recently made several racially-charged and sexist remarks on his broadcast. For example, Mr. Limbaugh said on April 26 that women who protest sexual harassment actually wish to be sexually harassed. And on March 26, Mr. Limbaugh said, A Chavez is a Chavez. These people have always been a problem. Given the extraordinary importance of troop morale and unity during this time of conflict, we ask Secretary Rumsfeld to review whether it is appropriate for the U.S. government to broadcast such messages, which may sow seeds of discord in the ranks.

We, the undersigned, ask Secretary Rumsfeld to order the American Services Network to cease broadcasting Rush Limbaughs radio program immediately, before he further undermines the militarys command structure and endangers our troops.