See threat Limbaugh poses

Published: March 12, 2012

Rush Limbaugh has continually crossed a clear line in railing over the airwaves with crude, sexist remarks about women.

American women and many Limbaugh show sponsors (reportedly 50) and affiliates believe the nation’s culture has progressed too far to permit Limbaugh’s remarks about Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown Law student, to stand or his voice to continue to be heard, let alone respected.

Michigan Democrat Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, believes American Forces Network needs to pull Limbaugh’s radio show but, understandably, he will not legislate the issue. Pentagon leaders must step up to the plate and make this decision for the following reasons:

The 21st century in America is not the America of the 1960s when I joined the Navy and the force was only 2 percent women, with major restrictions on women’s service. The roles and influence of military women mirror those across the nation today. Women now represent 17 percent of the force and opportunities for, as well as attitudes about, military women have dramatically changed, including combat roles.

Limbaugh has been able to get away with his misogynistic remarks for decades, but not now. Women have come too far to allow such slanderous remarks as he used against Fluke. His recent comments are the culmination of years of his negative rants about “those feminazis” and thorough disrespect of the female gender.

Americans are for the First Amendment and free speech, but Limbaugh’s remarks are exponentially more serious than just a pundit making a fool of himself. He influences many people who listen to his show, including young military men and women.

Five times a week AFN, funded by taxpayers, airs Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, a show popular among the troops; juxtapose this fact with another: For many years military-politico leaders have been deeply concerned about high rates of sexual assault on and rape of women in the services by their male counterparts.

A policy decision by the Department of Defense tacitly to endorse Rush’s form of talk by broadcasting his show on a closed network, paid for by taxpayers and with minimal competing viewpoints, demands immediate reconsideration. To permit someone on AFN who consistently calls women feminazis, who uses disparaging language that [some believe] encourages discrimination and violence against women is both wrong and unacceptable. It is unacceptable to the military, its standards and ethical values, and unacceptable to the nation and its vision for equality and opportunity for women. Needless to say, to correct this problem should inherently be a nonpartisan decision.

High statistics regarding sexual assault against our military women constitute sufficient cause alone for DOD to remove Rush Limbaugh’s show without delay. Any justification for the U.S. military not to take a strong stand opposing this type of broadcasting is purely political.

Cmdr. Beth F. Coye (retired)

Ashland, Ore.


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