A lot of people would like to see the tables turned on George Bush and his backers right now -- instead of attacks on John Kerry's military service in Vietnam, they'd like to see Bush's military record attacked. I understand that feeling, but the thinking behind it is, I feel, too linear. Instead of an attack on Bush for what did in the Vietnam era, I'd like to see attacks on what he's touting as his strength -- his leadership in war.
Here's an attack ad I want to see:
When they were deciding whether to send American troops to Iraq, George W. Bush and his advisers sought information from this man -- Ahmad Chalabi, a convicted embezzler and accused forger. Others said no, but Chalabi insisted that Iraq had large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction -- and the Bush administration believed him.
To date, none of those weapons stockpiles have been found in Iraq, and nearly a thousand U.S. troops have been killed. Ahmad Chalabi has now been charged with passing U.S. intelligence secrets to Iran, and also with counterfeiting. And when the radical Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr vowed to fight Americans to the last drop of blood, Ahmad Chalabi swore allegiance to him.
George W. Bush: Can we run the risk of trusting his judgment for four more years?
A few suggested visuals: Bush with Chalabi in Iraq, Chalabi in Laura's box at the '04 State of the Union, and photos of Chalabi with Rumsfeld, Powell, and Bremer here.
Remember that most Americans don't know any of this.
And please -- don't be a pathetic, simpering Democrat and say, "But Chalabi was also working with the government during the Clinton years! And Kerry believed there were WMDs!" Republicans never let that sort of thing stop them -- when Bob Dole accuses Kerry of getting Purple Hearts for minor wounds, he doesn't worry for a minute about the fact that he also, by his own admission, got a Purple Heart for a minor wound; Larry Thurlow doesn't worry that when he accuses Kerry of lying about his Bronze Star he's also alleging that he himself received a medal under false pretenses.
Furthermore, Bush's responsibility for getting the facts straight was different from Clinton's or Kerry's -- he was deciding whether to send troops to war. The reality of the past half-century is that the power to wage war has been ceded to the White House. Clinton didn't choose to use that power to send American to die based on deceitful intelligence -- Bush did. Kerry and other Democrats in Congress voted to authorize the President to use force -- but the President actually did it, based largely on utter nonsense from the likes of Chalabi. (Remember, presidents have access to far more intelligence than antyone in Congress, even Intelligence Committee members.)
I think an ad like this could strike a nerve with swing voters -- many of whom are swing voters because they've soured on the war (Pennsylvania swing voters, as quoted today in The New York Times: "The No. 1 issue for me is that we're spending too much of our tax dollars supporting what's going on in Iraq,"; "Bush went in without a plan"; "If it wasn't for the war, I would definitely vote for Bush.")
And after that, how about a Bush-Bandar ad?
(Some sources for the ad copy above: The New Yorker, Newsweek, the L.A. Times, Knight-Ridder.)