Selling the war all over again

By By Lauren Mueller and By Lauren Mueller

By Lauren Mueller

Living in Utah — the lock-down red state that it is — we’re often spared the mudslinging campaign ads that are the staple of any democratic American election. Taking words out of context, exploiting another’s voting record while ignoring your own and manipulating sound bytes until your opponent looks like a schizophrenic pedophile — what could be more fun?

A new advertisement launched as a part of a $15 million marketing campaign has taken this time-honored art form a step further. The commercials, currently airing throughout 60 congressional districts in 20 key states according to The Washington Post, make impressively overt and obscene connections between the Sept. 11 attacks and the need for war in Iraq.

What’s that you say? Every investigation into such claims has been proven false? Well, yeah, but spend 30 seconds with the wounded soldier and his family postulating otherwise and you might start to second-guess that fact.

Not surprisingly, the group sponsoring the ads, Freedom’s Watch, has deeply incestuous ties to the Bush administration. You might remember one of the founders, Ari Fleischer, as the quibbling, clammy-handed former press secretary for the White House.

Fleischer insists that the commercials do not insinuate an Iraqi involvement in the events of Sept. 11. However, it’s difficult to take his word for it when one shot features the phrase “They Attacked Us” against a backdrop of the Twin Towers engulfed in flames. Fleischer said that the ads legitimately remind Americans of how vulnerable we truly are as a nation and as people. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve spent the last few years coming to terms with the fact that I am truly not safe. Try as I might, I know I’ll never be able to escape the long arm of political posturing, and it’s a realization that haunts me nightly.

Four years into a largely unsuccessful military campaign in Iraq, the citizens of this country have been put through a battery of tests: tests of patience and of resources, both in terms of manpower and of finances. We have been asked to swallow inflated, unsubstantiated rumors as a basis for preemptive violence and then to grin and bear it when those rumors turned out to be just that. We’ve seen our privacy invaded in the name of national security and our inalienable rights suddenly alienated. Equivocation has replaced explanation in Washington, even as each passing day brings news of another fallen soldier or civilian casualty.

Just days after the sixth year commemoration of Sept. 11, we, as a nation, have one more example of how tirelessly a war-mongering administration will work to divide and vilify their constituents. Abusing the very real pain of a national tragedy is no rare occurrence in American politics, but how much longer will these violations be tolerated?

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