A coalition of over 120 member organizations dedicated to demanding accountability and honesty in government is preparing to launch a series of scathing ads aimed at what it describes as the Bush administration's "lies, corruption, fear, incompetence, indifference, and arrogance," Raw Story has learned.
Dog-Tags of shame:
The first ad to run is controversial two-page color layout, which says: "DON'T LOOK FOR THESE NAMES AMONG THE DEAD AND WOUNDED" and displays dog-tags with the names of the adult children of President George Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, and other pro-war administration officials. (View the ad).
According to the press release, provided to Raw Story, the ad "will appear on Wednesday, August 17 in the Crawford, Texas Lone Star Iconoclast to coincide with President Bush's extraordinary five-week ranch vacation and Cindy Sheehan's nearby protest of the war in Iraq. A copy of the paper will be delivered to the Bush ranch and dozens of copies will be given to the media and to the protesters at Camp Casey where Cindy is protesting."
Stop and Think
Cindy Sheehan, who is the inspiration for the first ad, is the mother of army mechanic Casey Sheehan, killed in Baghdad in April 2004. Angered over her son's death and consumed with grief, Sheehan has put her emotions to work protesting what she feels to be an unjust war and the needless deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis. Since August 6, she has been peacefully camping by the road to Crawford, TX, vowing to remain there until the President, whom she blames personally for her son's death, meets with her.
Kat L'Estrange, spokesperson for Velvet Revolution, who is both a veteran of the United States Air Force and the mother of two sons, speaks appreciatively of Cindy Sheehan's actions.
"The remarkable Cindy Sheehan has opened the dialogue for all of us who question the rationale for the Iraqi invasion. In support of Ms. Sheehan, Velvet Revolution plans to continue the debate by informing Americans about the false pretenses that led to the preemptive strike and occupation of Iraq. If the media won't sufficiently examine the record and policies of George W. Bush, then we, the people, will in order to restore honesty and accountability in our government. said L'Estrange"
A Parade of Lies and Corruption
Velvet Revolution intends to release additional ads at a rate of at least two per month. According to the group, the next seven will hit strongly on two parallel themes, the "lies and corruption surrounding the 2004 election" and the similar "lies and corruption surrounding the Iraq War and the fraudulent Iraqi reconstruction."
The focus on Iraq -- and especially on the pre-war build up, which has generated its own movement since the release of the Downing Street Memos -- is supported by many members of the Velvet Revolution coalition.
David Swanson, co-found of AfterDowningStreet.org, explains that the purpose of the ad is to make people stop and think:
"Everyone hears from Bush and his top officials that the war is noble and good and that its heroes are those who kill and die in it. Clearly something like this ad is required to make us stop and ask ourselves "Why, then, do the architects of this war not encourage any of their friends or family members to go kill and die?"" stated Swanson.
The ads, created by ad agency Avenging Angels, Inc., will be sponsored by grassroots donations and will appear on dozens of websites, as well as in newspapers, magazines, and various forms of public display.
Velvet Revolution was founded in January 2005 as an umbrella organization for groups working towards electoral reform. In March 2005, VR gained increased public attention when it raised questions of conservative partisanship surrounding an electoral reform commission co-chaired by former President Jimmy Carter and erstwhile Secretary of State James Baker. VR's questions and mass grassroots mobilization were effective in drawing the matter into public discourse. Raw Story reported on the Baker-Carter commission in April of this year.
Velvet Revolution has expanded its public role as more and varied groups band together to forge a single voice on many issues. More recently, VR has taken on a major role as an opponent of the administration's foreign policy, including what it believes to be a misguided "war on terrorism" and illegal invasion of Iraq.
Disclosure: Raw Story Media, Inc. is a non-financial affiliate and advisor of the media reform arm of Velvet Revolution. Raw Story.com, its writers and staff do not individually express support for any particular group and/or organization through their articles.
Editor's note: The original version of this article identified Kat L'Estrange as Executive Director of Velvet Revolution. This was how she was identified in the initial press release, but is not her position within the organization.
An earlier version of this story identified CREW as a member of the coalition involved in this campaign. Although they are a member, they did not have the opportunity review the ad release, and asked that their name be withdrawn.
An earlier version also stated that Cindy Sheehan's protest began on July 30. In fact, it was August 6. This was derived from a misinterpretation of the words, 'since Saturday.'