The first in what’s bound to be an awfully tough series targeting red-state Democrats like Jon Tester and Joe Manchin. They’re the obvious place to start for the GOP in finding 67 votes in the Senate to block Obama’s Iran deal, but it tells you a lot about Democratic solidarity on this that even Manchin, the most “mavericky” member of the caucus, has said he’s leaning “strongly” towards voting with O.

Hawks have tried to persuade them. Now it’s time to shame them. Via Iowahawk, according to one estimate, the deaths of more than 500 U.S. troops in Iraq can be directly linked to Iran.

The group, Veterans Against the Deal, was founded last month as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, and it does not disclose its donors. Its national campaign starts today, including television ads in states whose members of Congress are undecided on the Iran deal. Lawmakers will vote on it in September…

[Executive Director Michael] Pregent said his campaign will point out that U.S. soldiers who were victims of Iranian bombs aren’t inclined to ally with Iranian hardliners. The group has recruited U.S. service members who were victims of the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, when 241 U.S. troops were killed by Iranian-backed Hezbollah forces. Their efforts will also feature parents and children of service members who were killed in the war in Iraq.

“Do they fall into the category of those aligned with the hardliners in Iran,” Pregent asked, “because they oppose this deal?”

They’re not attacking the specific terms of the nuclear deal, in other words, but the basic premise of releasing $100 billion in sanctions relief to a regime that, by Obama’s own admission, will inevitably spend some of that money to promote its lethally anti-American agenda abroad. That cuts right to the heart of O’s argument over the weekend that GOPers who oppose the Iran deal on principle, because they don’t want any bargains with a country that’s already targeted Americans, are making common cause with Iranian hardliners. So is Sgt. Bartlett, I guess. Good luck to Democrats with that talking point.

They’re going to come back with two arguments against this, I’d guess. One is that the reason they made the deal in the first place was to make sure that other U.S. servicemen don’t suffer the same fate he did. Without this deal, Obama assures us, we’ll be at war with Iran soon enough, with U.S. airmen asked to risk their lives to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and Americans at home and abroad targeted for reprisals by Iranian agents. That’d be a fine argument if the deal actually dismantled Iran’s bomb program instead of merely postponing Iran’s enrichment process for 10 years. As it is, we’ll be back in this same position 10 years from now, with the president forced to choose between war and acceptance of Iran as a nuclear state — except Iran will have more diplomatic leverage to continue its program by then, and maybe new ICBM technology to help deliver its weapons. How are there fewer Americans at risk in that scenario?

The other argument against the ad is one that Obama’s already made at a press conference on this subject last week: Namely, sanctions relief was always going to be a part of any diplomacy with Iran. It was their main demand. If you think it was worth sitting down with Iran at all, then by definition you’re open to giving Iran money knowing full well that some of that money might go towards terror. That would be an effective argument if the deal had done serious damage to Iran’s bomb program; a de facto bribe to Tehran to rid itself of nuclear weapons, essentially enabling smaller acts of terror in return for eliminating the risk of mega-terror, would be a difficult choice. But we don’t have to make that choice. The deal doesn’t ask Iran to rid itself of uranium enrichment permanently. It asks it to do so for the next decade. They can practice conventional terrorism and regional expansionism now and mega-terror in the second part of the next decade, once the agreement lapses. They get to have their cake and eat it too, if they’re patient. We get … nothing, really, except the peace of mind in knowing that our dear president won’t need to make a tough decision about whether to attack Iran’s enrichment facilities before he leaves office. Lucky us.