Letters To The Editor

March 09, 2004

Bush ads exploit national tragedy for political gain

The Sun's article "President, Kerry set sights on November" (March 4) mentioned that the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign was beginning a TV advertising blitz, but didn't discuss the content of the initial ads, which is quite disturbing.

President Bush's commercials include footage of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks - an image of an American flag planted in the World Trade Center wreckage, and another shot of firefighters removing the flag-draped remains of a victim from twisted debris.

This is the same Mr. Bush who said in January 2003, "I have no ambition whatsoever to use this [Sept. 11] as a political issue." Clearly, Mr. Bush is no longer standing on his principles, if he has any, because he is doing the opposite of what he promised. It's no wonder that many survivors of the Sept. 11 attacks' victims have found this misuse of the tragedy deeply offensive.

And the Mr. Bush who now is using Sept. 11 to tout his leadership abilities is the same Mr. Bush who had to be prodded into establishing a bipartisan commission to investigate the intelligence failures behind the attacks. The Bush White House has fought tooth and nail to keep the commission from completing its work.

Mr. Bush doesn't seem to want Americans to learn too much about his administration's performance on national security prior to and in the wake of the terrorist attacks. Instead, he wants to wrap himself in that tattered flag and evoke an emotional reaction that might win him votes.

Patrick J. Kiger

Takoma Park

Despite President Bush's promise not to use Sept. 11 as a political issue, he has turned our nation's most tragic day into a stepping stone to a second term. The use of even brief imagery from that tragic day for political gain is unconscionable ("Evoking national tragedy," March 5).

The pain felt by the family and friends of the nearly 3,000 who died that day is unimaginable to most of us.

Shame on President Bush and all those involved with this ad for exploiting that pain.

Daniel Goodman


Record justifies use of Sept. 11 images

Having been a professional firefighter for 26 years, I'm proud of my union, the International Association of Firefighters. However, I must disagree with its official opinion attacking the Bush campaign's use of images from the Sept. 11 attacks ("Evoking national tragedy," March 5).

Of course it's appropriate for President Bush to use them. He was the leader of our country when the attacks occurred, and he has swiftly and effectively dealt with the subsequent threats since. If anyone has a right to use the images, it's Mr. Bush.

The likely Democratic candidate for president is quick to point out that he was a "war hero," and his campaign has used images from the Vietnam War. He has that right, just as Mr. Bush has the right to use images from Sept. 11.

These complaints are nothing but petty political sniping.

John Cullom


Bush shouldn't stress his war on terrorism

I am surprised that President Bush wants to remind us of Sept. 11 in his re-election campaign ("Evoking national tragedy," March 5).

As I remember, the heroic leader of the day was New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who was front and center at Ground Zero as Mr. Bush scurried around the country incommunicado on Air Force One. Later, Mr. Bush used the terrorist attacks as an excuse for a previously planned invasion of Iraq, although there is no evidence Saddam Hussein had anything to do with the events of Sept. 11.

Hundreds of American (and uncounted thousands of Iraqi) deaths and billions of dollars later, we are mired in Iraq, while Mr. Bush continues to impede the investigations of the terrorist attacks.

The president should not be running on the images of Sept. 11, he should be running from them.

Greg Hinchliffe


Ads send refreshing, positive message

I think President Bush's ads are excellent and in great taste ("Evoking national tragedy," March 5). They are actually kind of refreshing and positive. I'm glad to see him take the high road and not start things off with ads bashing Sen. John Kerry, and I'd really like him to keep it that way.

Anyone who tries to say he is exploiting Sept. 11 is clearly threatened by Mr. Bush, perhaps because they know he was the right man to have in office to deal with the devastating national crisis.

Tricia Wilson


Trumpeting Sept. 11, hiding the war's toll

Why does President Bush find it necessary to remind us of Sept. 11 with images of dead bodies in his campaign ads ("Evoking national tragedy," March 5), when he won't show us the hundreds of coffins coming back from Iraq?

Charles Rammelkamp


Bear hunt would put the public at risk

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has said that he worries that a bear might attack a child one day. I am concerned about the likelihood that a child (or adult) will be shot during a bear-hunting season.

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