Kyrsten Sinema is currently a Democratic member of the U.S. House but she is running for the Senate seat being vacated by Jeff Flake. Before her career in politics really kicked off, she was an anti-war protester who co-founded a group called Local to Global Justice. Today, CNN published a story about the group which highlighted three of the flyers it used to promote its events:
The flyers, which are available through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, promoted a February 2003 rally organized by Local to Global Justice, an anti-war group Sinema co-founded. Sinema was referred to as a leading organizer and sponsor of the anti-Iraq War rally in contemporaneous news reports and websites for the organizations involved. She is also repeatedly listed as the point of contact for the event.
One flyer for the February 2003 event read: “You can help us push back U.S. terror in Iraq and the Middle East.” Above the text there was a cartoon depicting a group of protestors striving to halt the progress of three skeletons, one dressed as a soldier, another dressed in a top hat holding a dollar bill and another dressed in a suit. The flyer listed the website for Sinema’s group and an email of a local anarchist group that also participated.
Here’s the first flyer:
CNN uncovered two other flyers used to promote the group:
A spokesman for Sinema told CNN, “Kyrsten comes from a military family and is very proud of her record supporting Arizona’s servicemembers, veterans, and their families.” The spokesman also said Sinema didn’t create the flyers or approve the design. That may be true but she was one of the organizers of this group and her email is right there on the third flyer as a point of contact, so it’s a little hard to argue she disapproved.
Sinema herself was clearly on board with the message in the third flyer as well. CNN reports she told a local news station a year later, “So this is not about the United States doing the right and moral thing by a toppling an evil dictator. This is more about the United States having access to the oil and the power and control and world stature that it’s seeking.”
Sinema’s Republican opponent in the race is Marth McSally who flew combat missions during the gulf war. Last month McSally released an ad attacking Sinema’s history of anti-war protests and contrasting it with her own service:
The photo is real but earlier this week, Politifact rated the ad “Mostly False” because it couldn’t find any evidence Sinema had denigrated the service of US troops. Here’s PF’s conclusion:
McSally retired from the Air Force in 2010 after 26 years of military service. After 9/11, Sinema led protests against the war in Iraq. At a 2003 rally called “No War! A Celebration of Life and Creativity,” Sinema wore a pink tutu. Media reports of the rallies in 2002 and 2003 quote Sinema as opposing the war and the Bush administration’s policy, but we found no evidence of her disparaging troops.
McSally’s statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate it Mostly False.
I’d expect nothing more from Politifact, but the site may want to reopen its fact-check in light of CNN’s findings. The flyer depicting a U.S. soldier as a skeleton with a machine gun seems to go beyond simply opposing the war to characterizing the troops themselves as villains and monsters. The poster itself describes the war as “U.S. terror.” So what does that make U.S. soldiers? If Politifact weren’t so knee-jerk left wing, it might be able to work that out, but don’t hold your breath waiting for a correction.