Unpatriot Act

The Republican National Committee has released its first television ad supporting President George W. Bush’s reelection. Not surprisingly, it goes after Democrats (referred to obliquely in the commercial as “some,” as in “some people”) for questioning Bush’s conduct of the war in Iraq. The background music is very serious. The president is seen delivering his State of the Union address, warning that “It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known.” (Bush flubbed the line in the actual speech, and the video has been digitally “enhanced” as a result.)

A line of text on the screen reads: “Strong and Principled Leadership.” Bush is then shown saying, “Our war against terror is a contest of will in which perseverance is power.” Then a line of text on the screen levels the incendiary charge: “Some are now attacking the president for attacking the terrorists.”

Say what? Except for principled pacifists and Noam Chomsky & Company, it is hard to think of many people, especially any Democrat, who has attacked the president for attacking the terrorists. Some—in fact, many—Democrats have criticized the president for going to war against Iraq precisely because they thought war with Iraq had nothing to do with fighting terrorism. So far, of course, and contrary to President Bush’s repeated assertions, not “one vial, one...

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