Surge Protectors: The Mixed Motives Behind the Freedom's Watch Ad Campaign

By Weiss, Philip | The American Conservative, October 8, 2007 | Go to article overview

Surge Protectors: The Mixed Motives Behind the Freedom's Watch Ad Campaign


Weiss, Philip, The American Conservative


LATE THIS SUMMER, just as American political armies were squaring off over the next, and likely last, act of President Bush's Iraq War policy, a new pro-war group called Freedom's Watch announced a $15-million ad buy over several months in key states. The first ads featured soldiers who had been maimed in Iraq but stood by the cause of a global war on terror. Political observers said they were targeted at the districts of Republican congressmen who were going wobbly on the war.

The rollout was not auspicious. Ari Fleischer, a board member of Freedom's Watch and the former White House spokesman, stumbled on MSNBC's "Hardball" when Mike Barnicle screened one of the ads and asked, "What's that soldier's name?" "I don't have that soldier's name in front of me," Fleischer said. (His name is John Kriesel, and he lost both legs in Fallujah last year). The fact that Fleischer and another member of the group's board had worked in the Bush White House seemed to support the view that that the group was an administration front. Says Moira Mack of Americans Against Escalation in Iraq (which has its own smaller ad campaign): "This is a desperate attempt to counter the strong and growing movement to end the war. We have the public backing of millions of members. They have money and ads, but they don't have public support."

The Jewish press offered a different take. "Pro-Surge Group Is Almost All Jewish," reported the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the lead wire service for Jewish news. Four out of five members of the Freedom's Watch board are Jews, and half of its donors are Jewish. The JTA quoted one of its directors, Matthew Brooks, saying this was strictly a "coincidence."

As a progressive Jew, I don't think it is that simple. Right-wing Jewish support has always been a crucial prop for the Iraq War. The neoconservatives, who pushed for the war for years and then got their way after 9/11, originated as a largely Jewish movement that formed in the 1970s in good part out of concern for Israel's security. Many of the neocons cited Saddam's attacks on Israel as a reason for the U.S. to invade Iraq, and similar pro-war arguments spread to liberal Jews. The New York Times's Thomas Friedman pointed at Saddam's payments to suicide bombers in Tel Aviv as justification for the invasion, and I remember being shocked when my own brother said he didn't know what to think about the Iraq War. He had demonstrated against the Vietnam War, but his Jewish newspaper said this one would be "good for Israel."

National polls show that Jews opposed the war by a higher percentage than other groups (about 60 percent against), but that opposition was soft. The National Jewish Democratic Council, the body that advocates for Jewish values in the Democratic Party, takes a strong stand in favor of abortion rights, but had no opinion on the Iraq War--its own membership was divided. The Union of Reform Judaism supported the war in 2002 as a "just cause." Three years later, it changed its mind and in doing so, issued a lament I share, that Jews were largely AWOL from the antiwar movement. The Reform rabbis then called for withdrawal, which prompted an attack by one liberal Jewish writer, who wrote, "A premature withdrawal from Iraq would be devastating to the cause of the Jewish state."

These days, few Jews are making such open statements about a Jewish interest in the Iraq War. The war is a debacle, and even the left-leaning Jewish Forward has expressed fear that a populist American movement against the war will blame Jews for it and turn on them. The Forward became apprehensive last year when two leading political scientists at the University of Chicago and Harvard published a lengthy paper in the London Review of Books that argued that without Israel's friends pushing for the war, it probably wouldn't have happened. Authors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt have since expanded their argument, publishing a heavily-footnoted book called The Israel Lobby and U. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Surge Protectors: The Mixed Motives Behind the Freedom's Watch Ad Campaign
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.