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Raging radio human relations guru Laura Schlessinger, in Salt Lake City on Friday to speak to Army families at Fort Douglas, said she was tired of hearing the complaints of lonely and overwhelmed military wives whose husbands are deployed.
"He could come back without arms, legs or eyeballs, and you're bitching?" Schlessinger asked before taking the stage at the base theater to host her daily program on ethics, morals and values. "You're not dodging bullets, so I don't want to hear any whining - that's my message to them."
Schlessinger boasted that she once talked a young woman out of marrying a soldier, noting that "warriors need warrior wives" and that she felt the girl was unprepared.
"It's very unwise to be married young when you're going to be alone - everybody has to grow up first to know who they are," said Schlessinger, whose own first marriage ended in divorce.
Schlessinger, whose soldier son Deryk is in the Army, railed against Congress, saying that her son's tour of duty overseas - she declined to say where he is stationed, noting that would put him at risk "like Prince Harry" - had been extended because of recent arguments over war funding. She said Americans who do not believe that the war in Iraq is directly related to a larger battle against terrorism "need eye drops." And she praised fathers who have the courage to leave their families to fight for the nation.
"When you're in the military, that comes first," Schlessinger said.
"You don't want to not have gone and find out your wife has to wear a burka."
The radio host known simply as Dr. Laura - Schlessinger's doctorate is in physiology but she is a former marriage, family and child counselor in California - declined to say how she felt about women who leave their families to serve at war.
"I'm going to leave that alone," she said.
Schlessinger did acknowledge having "a problem" with families in which both parents are service members, saying it was "unconscionable" to put children in a position where both parents might be deployed.
During the pre-show interview, Schlessinger advocated two years of obligatory military training for all Americans, suggesting that such a program could have limited the bloodshed at Virginia Tech last month when a gunman killed 32 people.
She said she was not advocating a draft, however, saying that only people who want to go to combat should actually go.
Schlessinger's publicist said the controversial talk show host's visit to Fort Douglas is one of several visits she has made to bases across the country, with more planned later this year.
The radio host said she hoped to help military families through their troubles during wartime.
"People listen to me," she said. "I'm trusted and respected."