Brand new from a brand new outfit called Freedom’s Watch comprised, per their press release, of Ari Fleischer, several former U.S. ambassadors, and some very, very, very big money. These clips are part of a $15 million ad buy meant to turn up the pressure on Democrats, who are scrambling to “re-frame” the progress in Anbar ahead of Petraeus’s report by conceding the fact of military gains and emphasizing that it doesn’t mean squat politically thanks to the overweening ineffectiveness of the Maliki government. Bush finally joined the chorus on the latter point yesterday, prompting a veiled threat from Maliki that if U.S. pols don’t get off his back, he’ll cuddle up even closer to Iran than he already has. Result: climbdown.
The ads are moving, although the tunnel-vision “encroaching darkness” effect used in several of them is a bizarre touch for a call to persevere. Turn down the volume and you’d swear you were looking at an anti-war spot. I’m not sure how effective the message will be, either: I think the ship has sailed for most of the public on the Al Qaeda/Al Qaeda in Iraq connection they (and the administration in scheduling Petraeus’s testimony for 9/11) are trying so hard to draw. Still very much worth running, though, if only for the outraged cries about emotional manipulation and cynical exploitation of war casualties to come from the Cindy Sheehan fan club on the left.