Monday, February 20, 2006

Let The Swiftboating Begin - And Have A Vomit Bag Handy

The good citizens of Minnesota are now being pelted with television commercials telling them that the war in Iraq is linked to 9/11 and that things in Iraq simply couldn't be rosier. Minnesota Democratic Party chairman Brian Melendez disagrees and has called the ads, run by, as misleading propaganda and outright lies.

The ad states that the media only reports negative stories, a comment that is patently untrue. As reported on WCCO’s ‘Reality Check,’ 4 out of 10 news stories are positive and the majority of Sunday political news show commentators are conservative.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune's Nick Coleman dug into the issue and looked at the funding for these ads. What he found is that money raised by the Progress For America Voter Fund for the 2004 Bush campaign has now been redirected to what is likely to become a national campaign using Minnesota as the testing ground. The plot thickens a little more when a backtrack leads to Ben Ginsberg who had been associated with the Progress For America Voter Fund. He had to quit the Bush 2004 campaign after it was revealed he was involved with Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group that attacked John Kerry during the 2004 Presidential campaign. Also from Coleman's column:

"This is a political organization that is using troops for a political agenda," says Paul Rieckhoff, founder and executive director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). "These ads are trying to prop up the president's flagging agenda. That seems like a cheap trick. It's the same kind of thing he does when he keeps goes around giving speeches in front of the troops."
The truth is, these ads are quite disgusting. They reach out to the emotions of the viewer in an attempt to mislead with distortion and lies.

To Rieckhoff, a combat platoon leader in Iraq, these ads do not speak the soldiers' truth.

"The troops do not overwhelmingly support the president in Iraq," says Rieckhoff, who notes that polls show the troops' approval sinking to the low 50 percent range. "And the CIA said there is no link between 9/11 and Iraq. They still say that.

"So this ad is simply not true."
While the group fronting these ads suggests all the people appearing are all from the midwest, in fact, over half actually reside in Oregon.

Using troops as a front to promote the war in Iraq is distasteful enough, but the second commercial cynically uses the mothers of troops killed in Iraq, and as Coleman points out in a second column, one of them, supposedly the mother of Chief Warrant Officer Erik Kesterson, isn't really the mother of a fallen soldier at all. In fact, the soldier's real mother is totally opposed to the war in Iraq.

M.J. Kesterson is married to Erik's father, who also appears in the ad, and she's Erik's stepmother. His mother is Dolores Kesterson, and the distinction is important because Dolores Kesterson is opposed to a war in which she believes her son died to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction that did not exist and to avenge 9/11, which was not connected to Iraq.
These ads are not about supporting the troops. They are about propping up an administration that sees a majority of Americans are against the war. It is about diverting attention from the truth about Iraq and putting a nasty spin on in time for the 2006 mid-term elections. They are about exploiting young people fighting a war without end, exploiting the dead and exploiting the grief of families, all for a political purpose. These ads dishonor the very people they pretend to support.

You can view the advertisements here, but be warned, you may want to have a gag bag handy.

The 2006 Swiftboating begins.

No comments: