TCU Daily Skiff Wednesday, March 24, 2004
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The ads do not devalue 9/11

Ezra Hood

There’s a new mantra floating around the press that President Bush shouldn’t use images from the 9/11 attacks in his campaign — that somehow those events are too sacred or painful for use with politics, and the Bush campaign is playing dirty to use them.

Cheapshot campaign ads are nothing new in politics — the Democrats’ infamous TV ad a few years ago showing a pickup driving away with a chain dangling from its bumper might as well define the genre. The spoken message with the ad was something like, “Vote Democrat or more churches will burn and more black people will be senselessly murdered.” The unspoken message was even more sinister: Republicans are violent racists who lynch blacks and burn churches. These fantastically false spots marked a low point in recent American politics, and the cooked-up outrage over President Bush’s current ads try to link the two.

Do George W. Bush’s recent TV spots carry any of this slander and venom? Not at all. The president’s new ads serve as critical reminders to a forgetful public that he leads the nation in war. I thank my lucky stars that the war on terror is Bush’s focus as president, and insist that all of the war’s aspects are legitimate in a wide-reaching political contest like the presidential race.

The president’s detractors have spent volumes of ink and air separating the 9/11 attacks and the “President’s” war on terror. The attempt to disassociate these events from Bush’s transforming presidency baffles me. True, it is Bush’s response to the September 11 terrorism that has defined his presidency — but to separate the executive’s response from the stimulus that provoked it seems shifty to me. War with terrorists began unanswered with the first Trade Tower bombing and numerous others when Clinton was president. George W. Bush didn’t lead us into war, he awoke with us at last to the grisly reality that war was upon us whether or not we wanted it.

It looks to me like the only way to find dishonesty in the portrayal of 9/11 in Bush’s campaign ads is to separate the war on terror from the terrorism that started it. This self-imposed blindness is dangerous and has no place in American foreign policy. Reckless refusal to see our enemies for what they are is exactly the weakness that made us vulnerable three Septembers ago. The real dishonesty here is to put 9/11 out of bounds when it is the issue that needs most to be addressed!

Vigilance in the war and strength at home remain the primary issues at hand in the presidential election (by more than 80 percent, in a March Gallop poll). John Kerry and his fellow Democrats want desperately to find senseless war and destructive foreign policy in the Bush administration. They will bluster all year against Bush’s campaign ads, but their arguments betray their views as distorted, and no amount of dishonesty can cover that up.

The very best way we could dishonor the dead from September 11 would be to forget that their lives were snuffed out by enemies of our freedom; such sad forgetfulness would endanger our own freedom — and our lives.

Ezra Hood is a junior music composition major from Fort Worth.

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