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We have all heard the complete tape of Rush Limbaugh calling soldiers who served in Iraq, been shot at and some wounded and others killed, "phony soldiers."
Being the soldier advocate that I am, I cannot believe Rush actually meant what he said. No one can be that callous, can they?
So I looked into the issue deeply.
Rush may have been using the term "phony" to refer to the root "phon":
The phon is a unit of perceived loudness level LN for pure tones. The purpose of the phon scale is to compensate for the effect of frequency on the perceived loudness of tones.
Maybe the soldiers were too loud - or the sound of war is loud. As the old saying goes, the Army does two things - break things and make big noises. Rush could have been making a general statement in reference to shock and awe, or maybe noise pollution?
The other use of the root is for telephone:
The telephone is a telecommunications device which is used to transmit and receive sound (most commonly speech). Most telephones operate through transmission of electric signals over a complex telephone network which allows almost any phone user to communicate with almost anyone.
It could be the soldiers don't have enough phone time to talk to loved ones back home? Inter-family communications during war is a lifeline to some. There have been truckloads of books excerpting letters from American soldiers at war to their spouses for example. Maybe Rush is really advocating better phone service for the soldiers?
The last possibility deals with Apple Computer. If you Google "phone," the first item returned is Apple's iPhone page. It is a fact that Rush is a lifelong Apple Computer fan and maybe he is venting his frustration that soldiers deployed do not have access to the iPhone, so he might be using a turn on words and calling cheap Chinese knock-offs a "phon-E." have we been doing all this handing-wringing over a mis-typed transcript?
But there is a problem with my theory - Rush Limbaugh is deaf.