Friday, March 05, 2004

WE CAN’T CHANGE LEADERS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WAR? CAN WE AFFORD NOT TO?
The American electorate is fortunate President Bush has run these re-election ads exploiting the few thousand men and women killed during the 11 September attacks.

These ads perfectly encapsulate the cheap fear-mongering that has marked the last two and a half years. Some of us have known for a long time that the people in charge of the country have no shame. Now, a lot of others are learning it as well.

I heard one of the ads. Bad things happened [insert images from ground zero], Americans responded, strong leadership. Politicians habitually use such non-sequiturs in self-promotion but most don’t exploit the worst terrorist act in American history in doing so. The political world is home to many unpleasant things but there are lines that we expect even politicians shouldn’t cross.

Essentially the ad’s message was, "Something terrible happened on my watch. Americans responded magnificently to the challenge. I had nothing to do with this but I'll try to take credit anyway."

The ads were condemned by many families of 9/11 victims. The International Association of Fire Fighters was equally scatching, “We're not going to stand for him to put his arm around one of our members on top of a pile of rubble at Ground Zero during a tragedy and then stand by and watch him cut money for first responders [emergency services],"

Supporters and apologists say that the reminding people terrorists attacks is a legitimate device. 9/11 was a "a defining moment” in the course of the administration’s policies, noted the president’s spokesman.

The Iraq invasion was the other hugely pivotal event in the course of the administration’s policies. Will the Bush team run ads showing images of coffins coming back from Iraq? Or of soldiers rehabilitating after losing a limb? Or how about Secretary Powell’s speech to the UN “proving” that Iraq not only had weapons of mass destruction but that these mythical WMDs were so potentially dangerous we had to invade?

I'm glad this tempest has erupted. Americans are finally be showing that such crass manipulation may no longer work.

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