Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Freedom's Watch is on a roll...out for war on Iran

On August 22nd, Freedom's Watch was launched. Its message: “Victory is America’s Only Choice.” Its first project was a $15 million advertising campaign designed to maintain Congressional support for President Bush’s troop increase in Iraq, which was the focus of my September 13th post.

Now that the surge is safe until next March when the next Congressional review is scheduled, it appears that Freedom's Watch is going to become the propaganda machine for an attack on Iran, yet another privatization of what used to be a governmental function (think Blackwater contractors in Iraq). Apparently the group hopes to raise as much as $200 million by November, 2008.

Freedom's Watch [FW] hasn’t yet rolled out its war-on-Iran-promo, but it’s been given its marching orders, according to Scott Horton (who blogs for Harper’s Magazine) posting on October 1st, “…[I]t seems they’ll be advocating the Next War" Horton quotes from The New York Times September 30th article, "‘Although the group declined to identify the experts [who were invited to a Freedom’s Watch private forum focusing on Iran as a threat], several were invited from the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington research group with close ties to the White House....

“‘If Hitler’s warnings were heeded when he wrote ‘Mein Kampf,’ he could have been stopped,’ said Bradley Blakeman, 49, the president of Freedom’s Watch and a former deputy assistant to Mr. Bush. ‘Ahmadinejad is giving all the same kind of warning signs to us, and the region — he wants the destruction of the United States and the destruction of Israel.’”

Jim Lobe, who blogs at LobeLog, posted Freedom's Watch Bears Watching on September 30th: “It seems that last week’s full-page ad by Freedom’s Watch (FW) denouncing Columbia University for hosting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the New York Times was the tip-off to what will clearly be a high-powered, high-priced, and well-orchestrated campaign to rally support behind an attack against Iran. That assessment is bolstered by Sunday’s lengthy article by the Times’ Don Van Natta, Jr., entitled ’Big Coffers and a Rising Voice Lift a New Conservative Group’, “ the same article Scott Horton referenced.

Lobe surmises that FW is going to be ascendant because…"[T]he administration and its dwindling clutch of hawks have lost virtually all of the credibility they enjoyed in the run-up to the Iraq invasion. The hawks within the administration have also lost the control they once exerted over the government’s own formidable propaganda machinery. That is precisely why they must now rely to a much-greater extent than in 2002-03 on a 'private-sector' group making their case and mobilizing behind it. Much like the White House Information Group (WHIG), whose purpose was to sell the Iraq invasion, FW may well become the hub of a new effort to create an ‘echo chamber’ with the usual suspects at AEI…the Weekly Standard, the National Review, Fox News, the [Wall Street] Journal’s editorial page, and sympathetic journalists and columnists for attacking Iran. As evidenced by last week’s vote on the Kyl-Lieberman amendment last week, it may be able to count on the timidity of Democrats, as well.” [emphases mine]

The Lobe post is well worth reading.

(logo from the FW website)

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