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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Freedom's Mouthpiece

Via Think Progress comes some detail on the GOP fear-based propaganda effort to support the occupation of Iraq.
Beginning today, Freedom’s Watch, a new right-wing front group for the White House, “will unveil a month-long, $15 million television, radio and grass-roots campaign” to pressure Congress to continue supporting President Bush’s disastrous Iraq strategy. The group, which is “funded by high-profile Republicans who were aides and supporters of President Bush,” is headed by a familiar face from the Bush war effort: former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer.

The privately-funded ad campaign will run in 20 states, featuring Iraq war vets and families of fallen soldiers arguing that the war should continue. The four ads produced so far by Fleischer’s Freedom’s Watch group contain little more than fear-mongering about an Iraq pullout. “They attacked us and they will again. They won’t stop in Iraq,” one ad says. “It will mean more attacks in America,” says another. Yet another ad warns, “We’ve already had one 9/11, we don’t need another.”
And who else is behind this effort? A veritable rogue's gallery of right-wing loyalists. From The Politico:
The board consists of (Bradley A.) Blakeman; Fleischer; Mel Sembler, a Florida Republican who was Bush’s ambassador to Italy; William P. Weidner, president and chief operating officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corp.; and Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

The donors include Sembler; Anthony Gioia, a Buffalo businessman who was Bush’s ambassador to Malta; Kevin Moley, who was Bush’s ambassador to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva; Howard Leach, a former Republican National Committee finance chairman who was Bush’s ambassador to France; Dr. John Templeton of Pennsylvania, chairman and president of the John Templeton Foundation; Ed Snider, chairman of Comcast-Spectacor, the huge Philadelphia sports and entertainment firm; Sheldon Adelson, chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. and ranked by Forbes magazine as the third wealthiest American; and Richard Fox, who is chairman of the Jewish Policy Center and was Pennsylvania State Chairman of the Reagan/Bush campaign in 1980.
Middle East specialists to a man, no doubt, although foreign service postings to Paris, Rome and Geneva by three of them probably qualify if they had some pita pockets. I'm not quite sure what Pennsylvania has to do with the Middle East, nor Comcast nor the Sands casino empire. But it's nice to know that enjoying television or gaming helps support Republican propaganda efforts.

So this is the context in which the alleged debate over the alleged Petraeus report will take place:

Allies of the White House fund scary music ads. Some Democrats get scared. The foreign policy establishment, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq and some sergeants with real courage paint a very different picture of what is really happening in Iraq. The worst bombing of the occupation takes place, and while violence in Iraq is down in some areas there is legitimate doubt about how meaningful those statistics really are, as the political situation is still incredibly unstable. The Iraqi prime minister tells us to step off, and has a nice cup of tea in Tehran.

Meanwhile, in wingnut noise-machine-land, the righties soil themselves over being "right."

Lord help us all, but most of all, help the soldiers and the Iraqi civilians. Having one's fate determined by a Swift Boat group is cruel indeed.

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