In case you haven't heard the latest political pontificating by the top talk radio host, Rush Limbaugh, and the top Senate Democrat, Harry Reid (D-Nev.), here's a quick recap.

Limbaugh blasted American troops who have spoken out against the war in Iraq. He claims they are "phony soldiers." 41 Democratic senators, including Ron Wyden (whose chief of staff is stumping for Hillary), signed Reid's two-page letter to the president of Clear Channel Communications calling Limbaugh's remarks, "beyond the pale" and "unpatriotic."

Conservative ideals

I am a conservative. Limbaugh is a bombastic ideologue. While I can agree, to a degree, with his positions on some domestic issues, he is dead wrong on the most significant political issue of our lifetime &

America's involvement in the Middle East.

Limbaugh's assertion &

that the brave volunteers in the U.S. military are not true soldiers if they disagree with a deceptive administration that has callously sacrificed the lives of thousands of American troops and stands willing to continue to do so &

is not only an equally callous empty-headed rant of a wrong-headed talking head, it is foundationally unpatriotic.

1st Amendment rights

If freedom of speech ought to be applicable to any citizen in this country, it is most certainly the right of those who leave their loved ones behind to risk their lives conducting missions ordered by America's leaders. The U.S. military is under the command of the Pentagon and president &

neither of which is prone to providing truth when lies that support the mission will suffice.

As a vocal veteran, having served under three presidents, I'm convinced there's not a dime's worth of difference between the deception offered by the Bush or Clinton families &

which will have remained at the pinnacle of leadership for 28 consecutive years at the end of the current Bush administration. When ushered into office, the next Clinton will continue the uninterrupted rule that maintains a military presence in Iraq.

America's patriots

Patriotism, according to the 41 Democrats, apparently means being willing to die for this country, right or wrong &

which is the position of the soldiers who disagree with the rationale behind the decisions that placed their lives at risk.

If Limbaugh's remarks regarding the troops are to be perceived as "unpatriotic," then apparently the soldiers expressing their disapproval of Bush's war in Iraq are indeed patriots.

So, if they are patriots, what does that make the 41 sniveling cowards writing a letter in their support who refuse to do the courageous work of removing them from Iraq and Afghanistan? How can Senators stand in support of those who disagree with the president's persistence in continuing the killing in the Middle East, yet also still support the president's position?

Lambasting Limbaugh

Are these lackluster leaders merely making the statement that the troops are all patriots, regardless of how they feel about the decisions made by the leadership? I'm sure the troops appreciate that sentiment from Congress &

the only power in the world that can call an end to the war tomorrow. Perhaps receiving a Christmas card from Congress will suffice?

These clueless clowns chose the safest battleground to wage war. Meanwhile, they have failed on a number of occasions to defend the troops from a president who has stated unequivocally that our military will remain in Iraq as long as he remains president. That statement is a direct shot at Congress, which would rather battle the boisterous buffoon ensconced behind a golden microphone, than save the troops from the manipulative machinations of a maniacal president.

Rush attack

Bush cannot wage war and maintain it without the consent of Congress. On the other hand, Congress has the option and power to call an end to any war and de-fund it. Instead, they are protecting the reputation of some soldiers. That should help them sleep at night.

The U.S. military is comprised of the most dedicated patriots whose lives ought never be squandered recklessly upon the premise of political posturing. Yet, every senator signing the letter of support of lambasting Limbaugh has failed to risk their political necks to salvage the lives of those who serve in Iraq at the pleasure of the president.

Center stage

Each new day brings new-found fear to those patriots. Each day that passes leaves their lives irreparably altered. And no amount of political grandstanding can convince the majority of patriots that leaving Iraq endangers America. That lie has been perpetuated in various forms of propaganda since 1990.

Today, to add insult to injury, the right-leaning mouth of so-called conservatism calls some of our troops unpatriotic while the leftist loudmouths lob yet another harmless verbal water balloon designed to soak their target with disdain.

This is a tiresome sideshow. Can someone please show these clowns an exit? God knows they can't find one for our troops.

is the Content Editor of the Ashland Daily Tidings. He is a conservative columnist and author. Mike can be reached at .