One day after radio host Rush Limbaugh revived discredited attacks on Senator John Kerry's actions during and after the Vietnam War, blamed Kerry's "anti-war activism" for the "hatred that exists for America today," and again downplayed the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse as "hazing" and "an out-of-control fraternity prank," President George W. Bush was a guest on The Rush Limbaugh Show. During the interview, Bush -- who described Limbaugh as "a good friend" -- flip-flopped yet again on the question of whether the war on terror is winnable and whether the United States has accomplished its mission in Iraq.
The day after he said, "I don't think you can win" the war on terror, the president told Limbaugh: "I probably needed to be a little more articulate. ... [T]his is not the kind of war where you sit down and sign a peace treaty. It's a totally different kind of war, but we will win it."
Regarding Iraq, Bush said: "When the Iraqis are capable of defending themselves, and as the political process emerges, we will then be in a position to say that the mission has been completed, which is a democratic Iraq, an ally in the war on terror, and a source of stability in a part of the world that needs stability and freedom." On May 1, 2003, Bush declared an end to major combat in Iraq. He made the announcement while he was aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln -- standing in front of a sign that read "Mission Accomplished."
In May, Media Matters for America exposed Limbaugh's comments downplaying, dismissing, and even endorsing the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse. MMFA then created an online petition calling for Limbaugh's removal from taxpayer-funded American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS), which nearly 40,000 people have signed. On June 14, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution calling for fairness and balance on AFRTS. Limbaugh is presently the sole politically partisan host featured on the service's talk channel.