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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Swiftboating Iraq

Critics of the Midwest Heroes ads have referred to them as "the Swiftboating of Iraq". Finally and unwittingly, they have stumbled into the truth for truth and clarity is what the Swift Boat ads were all about.

In 2004, Senator John Kerry ran for President touting his Vietnam experience as his single biggest qualification for the job. Did you know that John Kerry served in Vietnam?

Kerry bragged about his heroics and his purple hearts while serving in a swift boat. But 200 other swift boat veterans who served with Kerry (not all in his boat, but in other boats in his company) had a different view of Kerry's service. They told of the real story about the Kerry's heroics and about two of his non-combat related purple hearts – the two purple hearts that proved to be Kerry's early ticket home.

Mostly, the swift boat veterans were offended by Kerry's post-war activities where he publicly and fraudulently testified that his fellow vets committed heinous crimes.

The Swift Boat ads were important because Kerry made Vietnam an issue in the campaign. Unfortunately, vets who served with Kerry and disputed his version of events, were unable to get an audience with the Main Stream Media. The only avenue available to them was through television ads.

Similarly, the Midwest Heroes ads consist of U.S. troops and families who have been unable to get their story told by the MSM. They have been forced to buy air time to get the facts out.

In today's Star and Tribune, John Zimmerman attempts to pick apart the ads. His piece is curious in its attempt to praise the media for their coverage, but Zimmerman fails to offer evidence – because he can't. Zimmerman claims:

"A quick search of mainstream media results in repeated, open mentioning of Al-Qaida [sic] in Iraq."

Well, here is a quick search. Searching the web sites of several news organizations for the words "Al Qaeda Iraq" finds the following:

CNN = 4 hits
NBC = 1 hits
CBS = 1 hits
ABC = 0 hits
FOX = 2 hits
Pioneer Press = 0 hits
Star Tribune = 0 hits
TOTAL = 8 hits

Searching for "insurgent Iraq" finds:

CNN = 1426 hits
NBC = 1173 hits
CBS = 1 hits
ABC = 34 hits
FOX = 3 hits
Pioneer Press = 999 hits
Star Tribune = 197 hits
TOTAL = 3833 hits
(The search algorithms of CBS and FOX are most curious since both searches found so few results.)

Zimmerman's quick search challenge proves that the media overwhelmingly chose the word “insurgents” rather than identifying the terrorists as “Al Qaeda”. Zimmerman was wrong 3833 to 8.

Later in his piece, Zimmerman charges that America and Afghanistan are the only battlefields for the War on Terror – not Iraq. What Zimmerman misses is that Al Qaeda needs a home. They thrived under the Taliban in Afghanistan until we defeated them – killing many while driving others out. Now that Saddam is out of power, Al Qaeda sees Iraq as a free country – free for the taking.

Al Qaeda's interest in Iraq is two-fold. First, a free democracy rejects the barbarous threats of terrorism. Moreover, freedom is catching. If a free democracy succeeds in Iraq, it will likely spread to neighboring nations.

Second, Iraq is an attractive place for AL Qaeda to base their operations. The Iraqi people have been ruled by a terroristic dictator for 30 years. Al Qaeda must feel that Iraqis can be easily terrorized into submission. Further, Iraq is in the center of terrorist friendly nations. Al Qaeda need not travel far to find friends.

The point is clear. If we surrender Iraq to Al Qaeda, Iraq will become the next Afghanistan from which major international terrorist acts are hatched. Now is the prime time to defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq and to liberate the Iraqi people. To wait will not only risk hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives, but also risk the need to fight a stronger Al Qaeda in the years to come.

To their credit, the Star and Tribune countered Zimmerman piece with one written by Bob Stephenson, a vet who served in Iraq and appeared in the Midwest Heroes ads. Stephenson's view is enlightening and worth the read.

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