Two days ago, President Bush’s
re-election campaign unveiled its newest set of advertisements.
Featuring scenes from Sept. 11, 2001, these advertisements call
into sharp recollection the tragic and horrifying events of that
morning by showing the ruined skyscrapers as backdrops to
Bush’s campaign message and allowing voters to witness the
flag-draped stretchers as silent testaments to the efficacy of the
President’s campaign against terrorism.

Laura Wong

These advertisements represent the worst form of political poor
taste. Attempting to politically profit from the murder of
thousands cannot be condoned, and using their grave and the hidden
images of their own bodies shows a shocking insensitivity to the
victims and heroes of that morning. One of Bush’s senior
advisors, Karen Hughes, asserts that the advertisements are
entirely appropriate, stating, “ … it’s
important that we look at how the two candidates would approach
that war against terror.” She could not be more correct;
terrorists have made their hatred and willingness known, and
America does deserve to know how its president will reply. However,
Hughes’s comments have nothing to do with the matter at hand.
Just as with Lyndon Johnson’s nuclear holocaust ads of 1964,
Bush should recognize when the laws of taste and simple respect
demand restraint.

Unless Bush is attempting to take some form of blame for these
attacks, he should refrain from using a video montage of the
attacks themselves, as opposed to his response, to support his
candidacy. The American people hold candidates accountable for
their actions, so a candidate has every right to use his
achievements in his political advertisements. It is Bush’s
prerogative to trumpet his reply to Sept. 11. He would be entirely
justified to show us images of his campaigns in Afghanistan or Iraq
if he wanted battle scenes on terrorism. These are the actions that
Bush and his team have taken, and they may amply claim
responsibility for them.

While trying to reap political benefits from the attacks, Bush
and his team are using Sept. 11 to bolster their campaign, but the
administration is dodging attempts to uncover what led to the
intelligence failure before the attacks. The Sept. 11 commission on
Capitol Hill has been researching the events leading up to that
tragic day since its formation in 2002, without significant
cooperation from either the White House or Congressional Republican
leaders. The commission was created in 2002 to investigate possible
intelligence failures that could have allowed those hijackings,
although in its creation this commission was allowed only a limited
amount of time to actually complete its work. Ever since then, it
has met resistance from the Bush White House, which has refused to
release pertinent documents, citing security concerns as its
reasoning.

As an act of respect and gratitude to the victims and heroes of
Sept. 11, the Bush team should pull these advertisements off the
air immediately. America would be better served if Bush were
willing to spend more time helping a commission designed to keep
such a tragedy from recurring and less time attempting to reap
political profit from the tragic murders.

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