Perhaps the most memorable moment of last week’s CNN/YouTube debate for Republican presidential candidates came midway through the event, when Brig. Gen. Keith Kerr quizzed the GOP field on whether they would allow Americans who happen to be gay to serve in the U.S. military.
In conservative circles, Kerr's record of service apparently doesn’t qualify him for respect. The Republican audience on hand for the debate booed the retired brigadier general, and this week, right-wing lunatic/radio host Michael Savage attacked Kerr personally, calling him a "gay, phony general." Download | play audio courtesy of Media Matters (thanks to Logan for assistance)
And while the smear is pathetic, and likely to draw plenty of well-deserved condemnations, let’s not lose sight of what else Savage said. Adding to his assault on Kerr, Savage said:
“I don’t care about this old queen, frankly. He disgusts me to make — my flesh crawls from the old queen. That was a general? Now you wonder why we’re still in Iraq five years later. General — with General Keith Kerr, you know why we’re still in Iraq five years later.”
What do you suppose Savage meant when he said we now know “why we’re still in Iraq five years later”?
The implication wasn't subtle -- Savage doesn’t respect the troops serving in Iraq, and blames them for the duration of the war. It’s not because of Bush, Rumsfeld, the Iraqis, Iran, or al Qaeda — for Savage, it’s because of those who wear the uniform.
Now, I’m not necessarily looking for a congressional condemnation here — those are apparently reserved for MoveOn — but I think it’s worth remembering that when it comes to prominent political figures who disparage Americans who serve in Iraq, it’s the right, not the left, throwing the rhetorical bombs.