Ad Wars Heat Up Ahead of ‘Surge’ Report
Gen. David Petraeus is scheduled to begin testifying on Capitol Hill about the troop surge strategy on Sept. 11, exactly six years since the attacks in New York and Washington. Several anti- and pro-war- groups are spending money this month to mold public opinion ahead of Petraeus’ comments, and the broader debate on the future of the war.
The latest pro-war campaign rolls out today. Freedom’s Watch is a non-profit group “dedicated to educating individuals about and advancing public policies that protect America’s interests at home and abroad, foster economic prosperity, and strengthen families,” according to the group’s Web site. President Bush’s first White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer, is the group’s spokesman. He tells The Post that the group will spend $15 million on a month-long TV, radio, and grassroots campaign.
One anti-war group running ads, Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, states in a release:
“The White House-tied group Freedom’s Watch is targeting the same Republicans who are under extraordinary pressure from their constituents to abandon Bush’s failed war policy.”
Among the Republicans targeted are Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Sen. Norm Coleman.
The new Freedom’s Watch ads are testimonials from Iraq war veterans, victims’ family members, and the mother of a Marine killed in Iraq. They end by urging viewers to call the group’s toll-free number to be connected to their member of Congress.
“We’ve already had one 9/11, we don’t need another,” a tearful Vicki Strong says at the end of her ad (see below). Strong’s son Marine Sgt. Jesse Strong was killed in Iraq the week before Iraq’s elections in 2005. The ad with Iraq war veteran John Kriesel end with him saying, “It’s no time for politics.” But these ads are designed to do just that — influence how politicians react to the surge report, and how they decide the future of the war.
WASHINGTON POST: Iraq Is A Nice War, That Helps People
How do you conflate 9/11 with Iraq when historical fact — and even the president of the United States — says otherwise? You find an Iraq War widow who lost an uncle on 9/11. Problem solved.