- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A conservative group recently started an advertising campaign in Minnesota showing veterans and families of slain troops expressing their support for the Iraq war, only to have the head of the state Democratic Party condemn the ads as “un-American, untruthful and a lie.” He furthermore demands that Minnesota television stations pull the ads “and send a message that we will not tolerate this kind of ‘swiftboating’ anymore.” At least one station so far has complied with the request, which is reason enough for outrage.

But there’s been precious little of that. Aside from a handful of bloggers covering the issue and an appearance of one of the veterans on Fox News’ “Hannity and Colmes,” the media has ignored the issue completely, essentially proving one of the ad campaign’s main points. The current media meme, at least as it concerns the homefront, is that most returning veterans have turned against the war and those still in field are demoralized and jaded. Meanwhile, parents of slain troops like Cindy Sheehan continue to rack up air time and column inches. The ad campaign seeks to correct this blatant misrepresentation.

Which is exactly why Democrats are trying to stop it with accusations that the ads are somehow “untruthful.” The claim is absurd on its face, but their list of so-called lies is so slim that a brief analysis is warranted. The veterans in the first ad say that “our enemy in Iraq is al Qaeda — the same terrorists who killed three thousand Americans on 9/11.” To liberal ears, this is apparently the equivalent of claiming Iraq was behind September 11. But that’s not what the veterans said. In any case, last we checked Abu Musab Zarqawi, who has publicly sworn loyalty to Osama bin Laden, is the leader of “Al Qaeda in Iraq.”

Democrats have also taken issue with the ad’s statement that U.S. troops “overwhelmingly” support the mission — a fact clearly upheld by record-setting retention rates in the military branches. The retention rate in the Army, for instance, is the highest it’s been in five years, especially in combat units currently serving in Iraq. And that about covers the “lies.”

The more disturbing issue here is that Democrats are trying to silence a contrary point of view, and are doing so by calling soldiers and military families “un-American.” Whenever Republicans attempt to counter antiwar sentiment, be it from the Cindy Sheehans or Paul Hacketts, Democrats shed crocodile tears over the “crushing of dissent.” But this is what crushing dissenters actually looks like — a smear campaign designed explicitly to keep the public from hearing the other side.

Fortunately, readers can see the ads for themselves at www.midwestheroes.com and decide what’s so “un-American” about soldiers and families supporting the war.

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