I saw former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer on Hardball yesterday, fronting for the new $15,000,000 pro-war ad campaign sponsored by the White House, er, I mean some group called Freedom's Watch. The group is targeting Republicans (and a few Democrats) who are wavering in their support for Bush's never-ending war in Iraq, and it doesn't hesitate to twist the truth to whip them back in line.
Guest host Mike Barnicle started the interview by showing one of the ads, which features an amputee veteran who says he re-enlisted after 9/11 because "they attacked us, and they will again; they won't stop in Iraq", with the obligatory shot of the burning twin towers in the background -- just in case anyone missed the verbal attempt to blame Iraq for 9/11. He tells us we're making good progress on the ground and that this is no time for politics. Yeah, right. Because there's nothing political whatsoever about these ads.
Barnicle challenged Fleischer, asking him how many of the 9/11 hijackers were from Iraq (the answer is none, in case you didn't already know). Fleischer came back with some crap about how this isn't about the 2002 debate anymore but about dealing with terrorists in Iraq now. See, pointing out the ads' false connection between Iraq and 9/11 means Barnicle is stuck in the stale 2001-2002 debate over Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction. I guess Ari's hoping we've forgotten how he assured us back in 2003 that the administration had "evidence and information" of Saddam's WMDs.
“There is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly.”
When Barnicle asked him about the decimation of our military and whether an ongoing war would necessitate a draft, Fleischer tried to equate the mess in Iraq with World War II. Barnicle countered by pointing out that Franklin Roosevelt had asked the country to sacrifice during WWII, while Bush had only asked us to shop. Ari said we all sacrifice each time a soldier dies, which is true in a metaphysical sense, but it certainly doesn't address the cut-taxes-for-the-wealthy, borrow-and-spend policies that are turning our country into a wholly-owned subsidiary of China.
Asked for a definition of "winning", Fleischer said we will have won when the military tells us it's time to come home. Does it have to be unanimous? Because the neocons will always be able to find one "commander on the ground" who will toe the party line.
Freedom's Watch certainly picked a great spinner, er, spokesman in Ari Fleischer. He's just the person I would trust to tell the truth about the situation in Iraq. (That's sarcasm, btw.)
Here's an interesting side note: The Freedom's Watch ads include a toll-free number and encourage constituents to contact their representatives in Congress. When blogger Taylor Marsh called, she discovered that there's a screening process in place and only those who support the Iraq war are actually connected. What a surprise.