Friday, August 24, 2007

Is the White House Iraq Group opening up franchises?

By J. Thomas Duffy

I'm a little surprised that didn't come out with a theme song for it:

We're a Fear Mongering Flag
We're a Terror-Raising Flag
And whenever Bush speaks may it wave

We're the emblem near
Bush's Imperial sphere
The Home of Spin and the Smear

Ev'ry heart beats fast
With each Iraq policy recast
Where there's always a boast or brag.

But should old threats never be forgot,
Keep your eye on the Fear Mongering Flag.

Of course, we speak of the new Ari Fleischer flag-waving venture, Freedom Watch.

Now, last we saw Fleischer, the former Bush Grindhouse flak, he was cutting his sweetheart immunity deal in order to testify in the Scooter Libby Trial.

Can't have federal charges hanging over you when you're launching a new jingoistic propaganda group, can we?

The first sentence on their website shows, immediately, the folly of their work:

Welcome to Freedom’s Watch, an organization dedicated to fighting to protect the ideals and issues that keep America strong and prosperous.

How's that for some Newspeak?

With the financial drain Bush's invasion and occupation of Iraq has placed on the country, and the grinding down of our military forces, those "ideals and issues' are out-the-window.

But it gets better:

  • Our mission is to ensure a strong national defense and a powerful fight against terror, especially in Iraq. On the domestic front, our mission is to give hope, lift people up, and achieve prosperity through free enterprise.
  • Those who want to quit while victory is possible have dominated the public debate about terror and Iraq since the 2004 election.
  • Our group will give a voice to those who believe that victory is America's only choice. For those who believe in peace through strength, the cavalry is coming.
  • Our goal, as we await General Petraeus' report, is to make sure our elected leaders do not abandon our nation's mission in Iraq and that they do not cave in to the demands of those who want to cut and run.
Surely, this must have Little Billy Kristolnacht welling up.

And you just gotta love that "the cavalry is coming" line...

And to give you some real flavor of this, Fleischer appeared on Hardball yesterday, and here, after watching one of Freedom's Watch's ads -- a wounded soldier on crutches, saying we "can't surrender", followed by a shot of the World Trade Center, on September 11th, 2001, as the second jet is about to crash into the tower -- is the exchange between Fleischer and host Mike Barnacle:

BARNICLE: God bless him and God bless his service. We need more noble Americans like that. But I‘d like to ask you, how many Iraqis do you figure were on that plane that you showed the shot of flying into the World Trade Center?

FLEISCHER: Mike, it is not about the 2002 decision to go into Iraq. It‘s about terrorism that exists in Iraq today. It‘s about al Qaeda shooting at our troops today and whether or not Congress is going to abandon this mission and leave Iraq to these terrorists. The 2002 debate is an old, stale debate about why we went into Iraq with Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction.

BARNICLE: But Ari...

FLEISCHER: You can relive that all you want. Our troops aren‘t reliving that. They‘re living the fight today.

BARNICLE: Ari, the ad is so powerful—the visual aspect of the ad is so powerful, with that wonderful, noble young man and the sight of that plane flying into the World Trade Center, filled with Saudi terrorists, not Iraqis, could lead several Americans, I would expect, to think that, Oh, Iraq was in on 9/11. Don‘t you think so?

FLEISCHER: Mike, you‘re stuck in the 2001-2002 timetable and debate. It is so far beyond that debate. That‘s like saying we have never should have gone into Germany because, after all, it was just the Japanese who attacked at Pearl Harbor. The threat in Iraq today is a threat that comes from al Qaeda. It comes from separatists. It comes from Sunni and Shia. And the problem is, if we cut now and we surrender now, that area will explode, and of course we‘ll be in greater risk, at greater danger from terrorists who gather there. Of course we will, not only in Afghanistan, but there, as well.

Notice, while Fleischer chides Barnicle about "being stuck in the 2001-2002 timetable and debate", he's using phrases, such as "We cut now" and "we surrender now", and, of course, squeezing in, continuing the Bush Grindhouse branding of "Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction".

Must have been like riding a bicycle for him.

It's a $15-Million ad buy, so while not omnipresent, it is significant.

Throughout the interview, Ari was in form, staying on message, hitting those "stay the course" talking points.

However, true to form of the Bush Grindhouse, using the soldiers as props, Ari came through in flying colors.

Right after the above-referenced Freedom's Watch ad finished, Barnicle nailed him:

BARNICLE: What is that soldier's name, Ari?
FLEISCHER: Mike, I don‘t have his name in front of me. There are four people, soldiers and their parents who have lost children in battle, as well, who...

Andy Card's head must be exploding... Launching this in August?

Cue up Que Sera Sera...

Bonus Ari Freedom's Watch Links

Watch The Hardball Interview with Mike Barnicle and Ari Fleischer

Joan Walsh: Ari Fleischer, reporting for duty!

Think Progress: Original Iraq War Propagandist Ari Fleischer Returns To Flack For Bush’s Escalation

Tom Matzzie: An open thank you letter to Ari Fleischer

Lies... Propaganda... Like riding a bicycle...

(Cross-posted at The Garlic.)

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