Thursday, August 23, 2007

New war lobbies

Here's an interesting story about two lobbies who plan to duke it out over the Iraq war.

Freedom's Watch (unintentionally ironic name) plans to mount a $15 million advertising and grass roots campaign on behalf of Bush's policy (whatever it is next month apparently) in Iraq. The public face is expected to be former press secretary Ari Fleischer. The campaign is supposed to be aimed at "faltering" Republicans who are tempted to favor something than staying the course and following the Dear Leader. Donors include Mel Sembler (bankrolled the inaugural committe, disreputable drug war enthusiast), John TempletonJr., Sheldon Adelson (Las Vegas Sands, 3rd on Forbes list) and other GOP stalwarts.

Americans United for Change has Democrat ties, formed originally to oppose the Bush Social Security "privatization" campaign in 2005. Has a fundraising goal of $120 million this year, has spent up to $2 million on ad campaiogn, doesn't seem to have much cash in hand right now, funded and directed mostly by union leaders.

Every war since the beginning of the 20th century has featured an active propaganda campaign to keep Americans "united" behind the war whoopers of the day and question the patriotism (in blatant and subtle ways) of those who asked uncomfortable questions. I'm not sure what the precedents are, however, for such a richly funded ostensibly private campaign to rally support for such an unpopular war. I don't remember anything quite like it during Vietnam (though there was an L.A,-based Victory in Vietnam Assn. (VIVA) in the mid-1960s with which I had some dealings, funded by defense contractors). Mostly, however, it seems to me the proganda was mainly done directly by the government.

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