"Original Iraq War Propagandist Ari Fleischer Returns To Flack For Bush’s Escalation"
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.”
Likening himself to a battlefield general, Fleischer said, “For people who believe in peace through strength, the cavalry is coming.” Below are some examples of Fleischer’s well-established record of propagating false assertions and rosy predictions about Iraq:
“[T]here’s no question that if force is used, it will achieve the objective of preserving the peace far faster than the current path that we’re on.” [2/14/03]
“[G]iven the chance to throw off a brutal dictator like Saddam Hussein, people will rejoice.” [3/21/03]
“[W]hen you take a look at the level of violence inside of Iraq, it is impossible to argue anything other than violence has, indeed, come down as a result of America’s military operations.” [6/25/03]
“My point is, the likelihood is much more like Afghanistan, where the people who live right now under a brutal dictator will view America as liberators, not conquerors.” [10/11/02]
“There have been contacts between senior members of — senior Iraqi officials and members of the al Qaeda organization, going back for quite a long time. … Iraq provided some training to al Qaeda in chemical weapons development. There are contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda.” [1/27/03]
“There is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly. … And all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes.” [3/21/03]
“The fact of the matter is, one of the reasons the Iraqi people are supportive of the efforts we’ve had there is because of the effort that’s been done in the reconstruction phase.” [7/1/03]
“I think that if you look at the Iraqi people, the Iraqi people are overwhelmingly pleased with the fact the United States has helped them to get rid of the Saddam Hussein regime. That was clear from their dancing in the streets, from the way they tore down the statues. And I think that is the viewpoint of the overwhelming majority of the Iraqi people.” [7/1/03]
“[N]o, I don’t think there’s any chance of losing the peace, but it is going to be a battle to continue to win the peace.” [5/19/03]
Not content having misled the nation into war, Fleischer and his White House front group are now set to argue that the bloodiest summer of the war yet is a sign that “that the buildup of U.S. troops in Iraq is working.”
UPDATE: Joe Sudbay at Americablog notes that “Iraq has always been a political issue for the Bush team.”