Coffins in ads spark debate

Congressional Republicans attacked Democrats on Thursday for an Internet video featuring flag-draped coffins of U.S. casualties in Iraq, saying it “crossed the line” by exploiting troops and politicizing the war.

Democrats questioned their outrage, noting Republicans have used images related to the September 11 attacks in their fund raising and White House political adviser Karl Rove has urged candidates to emphasize the Bush administration’s record on security and the war.

The political spat was sparked by a Democratic House campaign committee video claiming “Things Have Taken a Turn for the Worse” that features images of the coffins, a makeshift grave in Iraq and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Republican lawmakers condemned the video as “revolting” and “disgusting,” saying it insulted military families, politicized the war and should be removed from the Web site.

“For the Democrats, everything is about politics, so nothing they have done over the last three years to shamelessly politicize the war in Iraq has shocked me, but this crosses the line,” said Rep. Tom Reynolds of New York, chairman of the House Republican campaign committee.

Democrats said they would not take the video down. Republicans have used photos of Bush after the September 11 attacks as a fund raising tool and images from September 11 in Bush’s presidential campaign ads, they said.

“If it weren’t so tragic, it would almost be funny with Karl Rove going around the country talking about politicizing the Iraq war,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. “They do not have any standing to speak from any moral authority on the subject, in my view.”

© Reuters 2006